A Tribute to our driver, Valentino

I’m dedicating this post to our crazy driver, Valentino because without his driving we wouldn’t be able to see our little buddy each day!  However every time I get in Valentino’s silver BMW, I get carsick.  I’m afraid one of these times I’m not going to be able to hold back!  Let me explain…

Scott always said that he wanted to go to King’s Island or Cedar Point with me before we became parents, and unfortunately it never worked out before we left the states.  But now I feel like we’ve fulfilled that activity together because the best way to explain Valentino’s driving is that it feels like a roller coaster ride, with the same amount of speed, quick turns, and G forces.  And his BMW can handle it!

In Kharkiv, there are trolley tracks in the middle of the road, and no marked lanes.  The rules of the road are that you can pass on the left side or drive on the trolley tracks as long as you get back on the right side before you hit another car  or trolley head on.  I try to not look out the front window for fear of what I might see coming at us!

When you pass on the left in rush hour like traffic, it means that you have to drive very fast to pass the cars and cut cars off in order to get back into traffic.  Everybody usually stops and lets him in because they think he is important because of his car, if they don’t get over, then he usually sounds his siren.  Yes- the BMW is equipped with a siren!

Valentino does not like to sit at red lights.  Therefore if he sees one about to change and cars slowing down, he will pass the cars who are stopped at the red light and drive around them and then proceed through the yellow light.  If he needs to turn left at a light that is changing, he will go ahead and create an additional left turning lane and gun it when he turns left so that he can get ahead of the other cars turning left.

The last point about Valentino’s driving just blows my mind and I’d rather not know the details.  In Ukraine, it is common that the police will pull you over and demand you to pay them money for them to let you go.  We’ve heard about it happening to other American families and it did in fact happen to the family we share Valentino with.  They were on their 90 mile afternoon drive to the orphanage of their older daughter and got pulled over.  They told us that when the cop came up to the window, Valentino flashed a “special card” and the officer immediately started apologizing and backing away from the car!?!  What in the world!?!

Here’s a few notes about our visit with Jackson today- he is doing lots of imitating!  On our first round of ring around the rosy, he decided that today was the day that he would start falling down with us!  We didn’t have to prompt him or anything.  Also, we sing Itsy Bitsy Spider with him and do the motions.  He usually just stares at us but today a few times he started to do the spider motion with his little fingers.  Scott usually chases Jackson around the room with his arms out and today Jackson turned the table and started chasing Scott with his arms out.  He repeated a lot of the sounds that we were making like “Up” and “Mama” and “Ruff ruff ruff”.  No pictures today because they basically look like all of the previous days. But if you missed the video from yesterday, be sure to check it out! We are anxiously awaiting court in a few days. Please pray it goes smoothly and that the questions we get asked our not too tough to handle.