Wednesday and Thursday have gone by rather quickly and have been very busy for me and Rob as we are now the parents of two. We have quickly gotten into sort of a schedule here in Bulgaria, which works out rather nicely for everyone. Meals times are rather consistent as is nap time and bed time. Yuli is responding very well to the routine and seems more than willing to go with the flow if need be.
Yuli also continues to amaze us as each day he shows us that he is understanding more of what we are saying and as he shows us how much he truly can do. After finishing each meal, he wipes his mouth and hands me his spoon and bowl without me having to ask him. His big sister could learn a thing or two here. He is also able to put on his own clothes with little or no help from me or Rob (he actually prefers to do it himself) and will put his pajamas away in the drawer each morning without me asking. In orphanage terms, he has very good self-care skills. In mommy terms, he could be the perfect toddler :)
He is getting better with baths as of today and has stopped crying almost completely at bathtime. He really only fusses when Rob rinses the shampoo out of his hair. He does not like the water running over his head and onto his face or in his eyes, but what four year old does? He is also getting good at brushing his teeth with a little help from Daddy. Big sister also lends a hand as she brushes her teeth next to him as he stands in a chair at the sink. She wants to be a good example for her little brother. That's my girl!
Last night, Rob, Julia, Yuli and myself left the apartment to have dinner and explore the other end of Vitosha Boulevard. It's amazing how many different shops from clothing to shoes to jewelry are crammed on this long stretch of road. There are also tons of interesting restaurants, including sushi bars, cafes, and several pastry shops and gelato stands. Apparently, the whole family was in need of a sweet treat after dinner so we went to a pastry shop where I picked up some delicious looking fruit-filled cookies then Rob and Julia got gelato from a nearby stand. They made sure to get three spoons because we knew a certain little guy would want a taste. Julia got strawberry flavored,and Rob got some type of melon flavored gelato, which Yuli absolutely loved. He would have eaten all of Julia's gelato and Daddy's as well if I would have let him.
After our treat, we picked up some donuts at Dunkin Donuts for breakfast in the morning and then we decided to call it a night as the kids were getting tired. We also knew that today was going to be a big day as we had our interview scheduled at the U.S. Embassy.
Our driver came and picked us up for our Embassy interview around 1:15 today, and this time, Yuli was not afraid of the car. He tried to get into the car himself without my help. On the way to the interview, he sat in my lap smiling as Rob and I chatted with our friends who also had their Embassy interview scheduled today.
Security is very tight at the Embassy, and we were told to leave all of our cell phones and cameras in the car. Apparently, we were not supposed to bring any liquids in either. Our friends had a sippy cup full of water for their daughter in their backpack and were asked to remove the sippy cup and drink the water. Yuli had a small sippy cup in the backpack that Rob was carrying, but security did not stop Rob. We are not sure why the inconsistency with the security. We also had a bottle full of bubbles in the backpack, which we had forgotten about but somehow it too made it through security without a problem.
Once inside the Embassy, we sat in a large waiting area until our name was called. We had to present our passports and then answer a few questions. Actually, we only answered one question. "Are you about ready for this process to be over with?" Our answer, "Yes!" Rob signed another document and then as quickly as the interview started it was finished. Our driver took us back to our apartment and informed us that he would pick up Yuli's passport and visa tomorrow at the Embassy and then bring it to us late tomorrow afternoon.
We then put Yuli down for a nap and spent the next few hours relaxing ourselves on the computer and then watching a little Animal Planet on the TV. It's one of the few channels that we get in English. Yuli woke up about 6:00 p.m., and we decided to head out to dinner at a restaurant recommended by a friend. Unfortunately, we left the directions to the restaurant at home in the states and the Internet was not much help. Rob thought it was only a few blocks over (that's what our translator had said), but we never found it. Since we were starving, we headed back to Pizza Roma, which is only a block from the apartment.
At Pizza Roma, Julia had pizza again while Rob and I ventured out a little more on the food choices. Rob tried a ham, mushroom and cheese omelet that is baked in the oven, and I had a yummy salad and pork shaslik, which is pork and grilled vegetables on a large metal skewer with fresh lemons to squeeze on top for more flavor. It was delicious!
Now, we are back at the apartment. Yuli has had his bath and has gone to bed with his stuffed puppy that plays lullabies. The rest of us are relaxing in the family room. Tomorrow is our last day in Bulgaria so we are going to bed early tonight in order to get up early and enjoy the experience. We are hoping to get some souvenir shopping and some more sight seeing in tomorrow. And, we are also hoping that our little boy wakes up again with a smile on his face and a hug for mommy and daddy like when we put him to bed tonight.