We wanted to head back downtown today but didn't want to go in the heat of the day so we got up at 7:15. I could tell Abby wasn't too thrilled about the way I did her hair.
This motel has a very nice breakfast buffet included in the price of the room. I think Abby enjoyed being able to select her own food. She likes the 'hot dog' things--calls them 'salam' but she also had apricots, honey dew, watermelon, cucumbers and tomatoes. She liked the fruit juice. She wanted to put sugar in her milk and was disappointed we said 'no.'
This time we took a taxi downtown. We walked into one beautiful Orthodox church where they were actually holding a service. People continued walking in throughout the meeting. A man in robes was standing in front kind of singing something; then a group of singers standing at the front right seats would do their chant--kind of back and forth. This robed man was walking in and out of the big background setup through a door that isn't usually open. At one point he came out holding a box; at another time he was carrying a cross. Once another man in dark robes came out briefly through a doorway to the left.
Abby and Kevin went up and sat on the very front row between two ladies with scarves on their heads that seemed to be earnestly participating. I sat on the back row with two other people who seemed more like me--quiet observers. I was wearing pants and had no head-covering though I saw other ladies dressed similarly. All during the service, people would wander in, go light candles, walk up to various "stands." I don't really know how to describe them. I wonder if they were set up in honor of various saints? I really have no clue. One man up front was very, very vigorously going across the platform kissing something--a case--on each side. He had jeans on so I don't think he was a priest or monk or whatever and when he left, he was just carrying a shopping bag.
When the service was over we left and were a little turned around. Then we spied the Sofia monument and the mosque--those landmarks helped us get our bearings. We found the very old rotunda church and just happened to walk in on their service, too. Again a man in robes was chanting something and a group of singers--this time about 3 people--chanting back. This place did not have the big, fancy iconostasis. Finally, I was able to purchase the English description of this building and its fascinating history.
When we left, we passed the ruins out back and there were about 10 or more of the guards in uniform similar to the ones that stand by the front of the President's Building--just sitting around, smoking, chatting. I wanted to take a picture of them but wasn't sure it was OK--and was a bit respectful of all their rifles.
We bought some souvenirs inside the Sheraton--jewelry, rose soap, rose perfume, a little Bulgarian lady with rose perfume inside. Bulgaria has a Valley of Roses. The petals are harvested and then they make this wonderful, wonderful fragrance.
We finally found a playground area. Abby climbed right up the ladder to the slide and landed on her bum on the ground. At that moment the swings were busy but she got a turn a little later. She was squealing and laughing when Kevin was pushing her. I wonder if she's gone that high before.
There were several vendors set up and we made the rounds--got some T-shirts, binoculars, jewelry made from yarn, etc.
We stopped at an outdoor restaurant called "Victoria." There are LOTS of these outside shaded seating but some seem to serve only drinks and snacks rather than actual meals. I thought Abby needed to use the toiletna so took her over toward the stalls. I thought the man tending them said they cost 1 leva apiece so I ran back to Kevin for 2 leva. It turned out I had actually paid for 4 (1 leva for the both of us) and Abby didn't even use the toilet--just washed her hands!! (She did need the potty later when we were again patronizing the vendors. Smile.) It was so hot, Hot, HOT out. Thankfully, there was a slight breeze at times. Also there was a mist of water that sprayed every now and then from the edges of the tent-like covering we were sitting under. I ordered pizza--the "small waist" size and got 8 pieces!!!!
We got another taxi back to the Budapest. Today Abby has asked and asked and asked and asked and asked for ice cream. When we order actual food (well, in fact, we let HER order) she just eats the tiniest bit. It's frustrating. At dinner we specified only 1/2 portion. She ordered a salad and the half was BIG but still. All she wanted was ice cream. True, sweets are good for bonding, I've heard. It's hard to find a happy medium because neither Kevin nor I put up with our kids wasting food. After dinner, we did walk down to the little store and got cups of ice cream. This time she ate ALL of hers (through an interpreter she had told us much earlier in the day that she would very much like to finish the ice cream she had last night--we'd had to tell her we had thrown it away because we have no way to keep it cold.)
Tonight at bedtime there was lots of crying. We were able to make out that Abby wants Pavlikeni; she does not want America. Finally I called Toni and she was able to talk to Abby and calm her down. Toni let Abby know that the judge has determined adoption is better for her--it is truly in her best interest. And in time she will grow to love us. In time she will know that Toni's words are true.