Thursday, November 18, 2010

What to pack?

We are just a few short weeks away from meeting our little boy for the first time ever. Of course, it is a moment that I have dreamed about for many months, but now, Rob and I must actually make some sort of preparation for our voyage across the ocean.

Our airline tickets have been purchased, VESTA is supposedly making our hotel arrangements, so now Rob and I begin the packing list and begin collecting all of the things that we will need for when we go to Bulgaria. Some great friends of ours who have been home two months from Bulgaria with their little girl have been so kind to let us pick their brains about the trip and ask a million questions. They have even given us some leva (Bulgarian currency) for our first night in Sophia, since we are arriving in Bulgaria on a Sunday afternoon and may not be able to exchange any of our money until Monday morning. They are also letting us borrow a travel guide, a phrase book and a converter/adapter for our trip. We can't thank them enough for their generosity and their friendship.

Another parent who has been to northern Bulgaria in the last year to get her daughter has also been giving me tips and ideas on things to bring with us when we go to the orphanage to visit our son such as bubbles, finger paints and balloons. She also suggested a package of baby wipes for keeping his little hands and face clean. These were all great suggestions that I had not thought about before her emails. I especially love the finger paints idea. What a great way to get some hand prints for his life book.

A very important item that I would like to get finished this weekend is the photo album that we are taking to our son. There will be pictures of me and Rob (aka Mommy and Daddy), his new big sister Julia, his grandparents, our house and his room in this album. Each of these photos will be labeled with our names in Bulgarian so that his caretaker can read the names to him after we have gone home. And, no I don't know how to write using the Cyrillic alphabet that is used in Bulgaria, but a parent of a little girl who takes karate with Julia does. He was born in Bulgaria...fifty miles from where our son is currently. Small world isn't it? Back to the photo album...while we are in country, Rob and I are planning on taking some more pictures of our son and of the three of us together. We will than have them developed while we are in country and add them to the photo album for our son.

I really wish that I could post his sweet picture on my blog today so that you can see his adorable face and big brown eyes. But, until we have passed court in Bulgaria and a new birth certificate has been issued with me and Rob listed as his parents that is not possible. However, someday in the not so distant future, when he is legally ours, I promise that this blog will be covered with photos of our handsome little guy!

1 comment:

  1. Oh, this is exciting! Vesta is our in-country agency too. I recommend exchanging some US dollars for Euros before you leave the US so that when you land in whichever European airport, you have some money to buy a meal, water, etc. and don’t have to worry about exchanging it there. Money exchange places are open at all hours in Sofia, so you will be able to exchange. Don’t do it at the airport. We didn’t know and our driver chastised us a bit about poor exchange rates at the airport and we could have done it that night (and we landed at 10:00pm!) on the way to our apartment. If you can stay in an apartment in Sofia, I would recommend that. It is more comfortable than a hotel and gives you the option of a kitchen, which is nice.

    I know there are other souvenir places in Sofia, but an easy one is next to the President’s Office. If you are facing the guards at the front of the President’s Office, there are stairs that go down under the sidewalk (this is a “subway”…essentially an underground walkway to get from one side of a busy street to another). In this underground area, there are many shops. In one of the shops, the vendor spoke English, which is always nice. Make sure you go to the one all the way at the end called the White Stork. It has everything you could want…pottery, linens, postcards, rose oils…everything Bulgarian! We shopped at the other shops too. Lovely gifts for everyone at home! I had packed tissue paper for gifts for the caregivers and had some left over. This came in handy when I was packing pottery and other things to bring home.

    Word of caution…pilfering of luggage happens. We decided to pack our extra laptop power supply in the checked luggage and it went missing. We also had a handmade soap that was intended as a gift that went missing too. If it can’t be replaced or is vital to the trip, pack it in your carry-on!

    Final piece of advice…our luggage didn’t leave the US when we did. This happens often. Pack an extra complete outfit and PJs in your carry-on just in case your luggage doesn’t arrive with you in Sofia. We also packed all the other necessities in our carry-on…toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, etc. I packed laundry soap too, which came in handy when I was washing clothes in the bathtub. The joys of international travel! :)

    I would be happy to answer any other questions about travel (we have made our first trip), but it sounds like you have a good resource already. adrienne.parks@bellsouth.net


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