I'm STILL at LaGuadia! Note to self: next trip, pack a sleeping bag!
Tuesday June 19th
Today the orphanage director said we could take Beck and Anara to a local Amusement Park! We were thrilled at the opportunity to take our children outside the confines of the orphanage, but we were nervous since this would be Beck's first car ride, and moreover the first time he had left the walls of the orphanage since he was 2 months old. His caretakers told us that while other children were interested in sitting inside a car when the had to chance, Beck would never go near it. We had purchased a toy truck for Beck and put it inside the car. When it was time to go to the park I scooped him up and went swiftly to the car. As I opened the door he began to cry in shear panic! I sat down in the back seat and Joe handed him his toy and tried to distract him. After only a minute he stopped crying and was looking around, but when the car started to move it terrified him. But as we continued down the road we talked to him gently and waved "pa ka" to everything we passed. He quickly settled down and watched the scenery pass in pure amazement. He pointed out things he had probably never seen; horses pulling carts, big trucks, busy streets, markets, he watched it all with great intensity.
The amusement park is located only mile or so from the orphanage. It is very old and most everything in the small park with in dire need for repair and a good coat of paint. I quickly decided he wouldn't be riding on any of the rides, just for safety sake, never mind that he just survived his first car ride and probably wasn't ready to ride some pre-cold war era rollarcoaster. We walked around the park and finally just decided to sit on the swings ride, but asked the lone attendant in the park to NOT turn it on. Beck enjoyed sitting on my lap while Daddy gave us a little push. By this time the sun was pretty intense and the temperature was reaching over 100 degrees so we went and got Beck his first Ice Cream. He immediately bit into it and was quite surprised by it's coldness! But soon figured it out and devoured the entire thing! After his cool treat he was content to just sit on my lap and observe this new world around him.
On our return to the orphanage I asked if we could stop to get him a new pair of shoes. The shoes he was wearing were at least 2 sizes too small so we found a little shop. I pantomimed to Beck to sit on a little stool while I hurried to find a pair of shoes that would fit him. I was so proud that he would sit quietly, a remarkable feat for any 2 year old, moreover a 2 year old in a toy store for the first time! Every time I came back with another pair of shoes try try, he'd lift his feet, you'd think he had gone shoe shopping before. We finally settled on a very cool pair of leather sandals, I asked the translator to ask him if he liked them and he said yes. I can imagine they must have felt so much better than the tiny shoes he had been wearing.
Each time we got in the car, he would cry, but each time for a shorter duration before he would look around, engulfed in all the new sights.
When we returned to the orphanage he greeted his caretakers with quite a story! He excitedly spoke to them. I wish I knew exactly what he was saying. He joined his group who were already sitting down for lunch. We didn't mention the ice cream. He turned and gave me a hug and sat at his little table with the others. We waved "pa ka" and left. Another great day!