Sunday, August 14, 2011

Friday, July 15, 2011--Zoo

This day was a bit rough.

I called her Abby and she said "ne Abby: Stefka." So I teasingly called her Abby-Steffie and Steffie-Abby. She ate breakfast OK as I recall--not much but a little of about 4 things. She didn't really want to drink but she did it anyway. However, when we got back up in the room she started the rocking and singing about Vili, etc.

We decided to go to the zoo. I think it was about 11:00 when we finally left. The driver of our taxi was very nice and spoke very kindly to Abby. He showed her a picture of his son taken with the President of Bulgaria when he'd received a bronze medal for some European volleyball championship as well as a picture of a young lady on his cell phone--whom I assumed was his daughter. The driver's name was Stefan and he pointed out the similarity of that name to Stefka.

The ZooPark cost 2 leva apiece. Apparently the lady at the gate hadn't realized Abby was with us. So she chased us down holding the 10 leva we'd paid and saying something we couldn't understand. Kevin showed her our tickets. I guess she pointed at Abby. Anyway, we finally figured out she needed 2 more leva.

At first I wasn't too impressed with the zoo. It was blooming hot. We saw deer in very barren-looking enclosures as well as pigs, goats, etc. I originally thought it was just a tiny place that would take 30-40 minutes. But it got better. Yes, several of the enclosures were pretty barren though probably several of those creatures live in equally barren places in the wild. But we did get to see the tigers, jaguars, hippos, elephant and rhino up close. The monkeys were really cute as usual--I was eating crackers and they were begging for handouts in spite of the sign that specifically asked people not to feed them. One really nice indoor building had fish, hamsters, gerbils, snakes, insects along with the inside of some of the big cat cages.

I was also impressed with the bathrooms--clearly marked with WC. They were clean, cool and free. They were practically underground with stone/tile steps down. They even had a wheelchair lift and a handicapped bathroom. The ladies' room offered a choice of potties with seats or the infamous squatty potties. The steps proved a wonderfully cool place to eat our chips and crackers and jerky.

Today we were Kevin and Anna, not Dadko and Momko/Mommy and Abby was totally wanting NOTHING to do with me. She didn't want me to touch her or walk too close to her or really even smile at her. Yes, it hurt my feelings. Part of me just wanted to give that snotty attitude right back to her. She kept grabbing Kevin's hand and dragging him off somewhere else. But I think he was enjoying her warming up to him for once.

Abby was engaging conversation with many, many of the people we met. She's very personable and chatty. [I was thinking Gabby Abby might be an appropriate nickname. Smile.] It's just a shame we can't communicate well. She definitely has a lot to say and people seem to be able to understand her so I assume her language skills are good. She's very curious. She also seems to really like babies--and likes to touch them. Of course, she is not really connected with us--she just wanted to wander to other groups of people, jump right into conversation with them. Maybe she doesn't know that family members stay together nor the rules about not interrupting nor a great deal of stranger awareness.

Kevin's interpretation was that she well knows this is her last day in Bulgaria so she was taking full advantage of talking to everyone!

Through her we met a couple from Beirut, Lebanon there at the zoo. They wondered why she was with us when we are English speakers and she definitely is not. So we explained a little about adoption, our lawyer, the process, passport, visa, etc. The lady especially seemed a bit wary of whether she was legally with us. That's OK, kids need to be protected. The young lady with this couple said she was from Ethiopia.

Like I told Kevin, it's nice to meet normal people from Beirut. We get the idea that everyone from there is a terrorist or something--because that's what we see on TV. But most are just regular people who want to go to work, fix dinner, tend their children--just live their normal lives. Here in Europe (and so near Asia) the world is so close together--there are so many nations and cultures and languages within a few miles of each other. (Yes, I do know this is an obvious fact just from looking at a map but there's a whole new reality when you experience it.) It just occurred to me that perhaps the couple from Lebanon was just as suspicious of "Americans" as we tend to be of people from their country.

We did stop at a little snack stand for ice cream and to let Abby ride on the mechanical horse or donkey or whatever that moves back and forth when you put the correct coins in the slot. She thought that was pretty fun.

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