Saturday, June 27, 2009

Puzzles and Play-Doh, and Pools..Oh My!

We are into day 3 of hosting, and it has been an amazing and interesting ride so far!  There is so much I want to blog about, and I almost don't know where to start.  I imagine this post will be a bit all over the place, but bear with me if you can!

The best word I can use to describe Sintija is...sweet.  She is shy and quiet some of the time, but when she lets her guard down (around the boys and Marshall especially) she has such a sweet, gentle spirit.  Mark and I are in a sort of unique position with Sintija having come from a foster family situation (let me specify - a good foster family situation), because so many of the nuances of family living are already familiar to her.  She understands taking turns and including everyone and the "chain of command" of a family, whereas many of the children coming from an orphanage may not understand family dynamics as well as she does.  

The boys are quite smitten with her, as is Marshall.  He is always trying to get in some dog smooches, and although she has a dog in Latvia, apparently they don't do allow much dog kissing there!  She loves to pet him and love on him, but when he works his way close enough to lick her face she stops him right there.  The boys think Sintija is just plain cool.  I mean, she didn't bat an eye about donning a paintball mask and shooting Nerf darts at objects, so she has earned their favor very quickly!  Jude is all about communicating with her, and if people didn't know our situation they might think he is in training to be a mime.  Calvin (in typical Calvin fashion) enjoys making her laugh by being silly and showing off his physical prowess.  She does a good job stroking his little ego!  :) 

As for my favorite moment so far, it happened just a few hours ago, and the thought of it still makes me smile.  The boys introduced Sintija to the joy of Mario Kart on the Wii.  I was downstairs while they were playing and suddenly I hear this sweet Latvian voice saying, "No!  No!  Not good!  No!  Not good!"  followed by laughter.  Apparently her MarioKart skills weren't what she thought they should be.  So sweet to hear their three voices giggling together...

Any problems, you may wonder?  Not anything super big.  She is a very well adjusted, sweet (there is that word again, but it fits her!) girl.  She isn't terribly interested in trying a bunch of new foods, but I can respect that as I wouldn't be all gung ho to go to Latvia and try something I've never seen before there!  We went to the grocery store this morning, and together we figured out what foods she likes and got some of that.  Lots of fresh produce, which would please Dr. Holistic since it helps me with my eating too!  

She speaks the very basics of English - yes, no, OK, etc. - and we will start working on English with her more formally come Monday with flashcards, but we have managed to do well communicating.  (See mom and dad, that theatre major idea has really paid off!)  We also are using an online site called IMTranslator that will allow you to type in English and translate it into Latvian and vice versa which has been cool.  It is a much easier way to get to know her...when the translations are correct!  I wanted to ask her what animals they have at her home in Latvia, and instead it translated out, "What animal are you in Latvia?"  Um, not exactly...

So much more I would love to share, but I think I am still in the processing phase, and I'm going to mull things over for awhile first.  Suffice it to say, we are enjoying having her here, and she is adjusting as well as can be expected - actually, maybe better than can be expected.  

Here are a few pictures of our first few days!

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