Saturday, July 21, 2007

Day 9, Saturday

We were off to the beach early today. It was great having my brother here overnight and having breakfast with him, but he had to leave early too. The two hour drive to the shore was uneventful except for tears from Diana a couple of times. It's so hard for her when we don't understand.

She was exuberant in the water, rough and wild with the boogie board. The long drive was worth seeing the joy in her face. We joined a few other families and Vladimir and Larissa. Diana mostly played with the Russian children or talked with the Russian adults but at one point she ran to me, grabbed my hand and pulled me over to Vladimir. He supposedly doesn't speak English but he told me in pretty good English that Diana wants to know when she's leaving. I thought, we just got here! But she meant when does she go back to Russia? Diana was upset. I got Larissa and asked her to interpret. Diana said the visit had been too short. Larissa said she would explain later and not to think about it now.

We stayed on the beach most of the day, Diana mostly in the icy water and only out on the beach for short periods of time. Fred held her hand and took her into the deeper water and showed her how to jump the waves. She absolutely loved that and wanted Fred to do it over and over. He was a good sport and nearly froze to death but wanted to make her happy.

We went to the boardwalk for dinner. Another meal battle. No, Diana did not want anything. We chose a pizza place because everyone was hungry and it would be quick. The waitress even spoke Russian! She interpreted for us that Diana did not like the food and wanted nothing. Okay, well, the rest of us needed to eat. We ordered Diana "saus-eej" just in case she would eat. She saw someone else eating pizza and yelled, "Pizza!" Great! So Fred ordered a pizza too. She ate one bite only. But she did eat two hot dogs. Afterward we took the girls on the rides and everyone was happy. Diana did not even protest when we said only one more.

As we walked to the car Diana asked me if we were going to church tomorrow and if the day after that she would be going back to Russia. I told her yes. She was clearly unhappy. I was surprised she knew the sequence of events and even what day of the week it was. I guess Vladimir told her. Now are you wondering how I understood what Diana was asking me? I guess I'm learning Russian!

It is sad that Diana's trip here was mostly lived out in isolation due to the language barrier. She can't share her feelings or express her desires. She hears us chattering all day and can't join in. No wonder she enjoys being with the other Russian kids so much. How different her behavior might have been if we had been able to understand each other.

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