Saturday morning we got up early and got ready to leave the flat. It snowed a few inches the night before but you wouldn't have known it. By 6:00am there were people out pushing snow off the parking lots. The temps were down into the single digits (F) with the wind chill pushing it I'm sure below 0. Somehow the windchill is much more pronounced there. I've felt below 0 windchills here in the states; it was much more harsh there.
We left the flat and went to the Sheremetyevo airport north of Moscow City. Check in for international flights out of Moscow is horrible. Passport check, baggage check where you actually let them go through ALL baggage, check in, security check and then yet another security check when you get to the gate. We ate lunch with the Thompsons and got to the gate about 20 minutes before they boarded the flight.
The flight from Moscow was about 11 hours to Atlanta. The inflight entertainment system failed for about 1/3 of the seats about 20 minutes into the flight and our seats were affected. No audio, control over your reading light or flight attendant call button.
After having passed through passport control, baggage claim and customs in Atlanta, we boarded our flight for Tri-Cites. Mary's family met us at the airport and we got home at about 8:30 pm, having been up for about 25 hours. Katie was happy to see us and we spent some time with her. After I got her down last night, I got my shower. Mary and I crawled into bed at 11:00 and I truely don't remember anything after turning off the light. I believe I was asleep within 10 seconds.
In the coming days I'm going to reflect on trip 1 and post some pointers for families who will one day take this trip. I know that if we had to do trip 1 over again, there are several things that we would do differently. I'll collect my thoughts and post them when I can.
For now, we wait. We're here in the States and Daniel is about 5,173.66 miles away (you've got to love Google Earth, I zoomed in to his orphanage will no problems). All that stands between us and him now are some legal matters that have to be dealt with in Russia, our appearance before a judge in a Moscow court room and then the mandatory 10 day waiting period after the judge hands down the ruling. Daniel's birthday is 3/30; he'll turn 1 year old. We're hoping and praying that we'll have him home in time to celebrate his first birthday, here in the States.