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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

Petya Turns 16-!

It seems like just the other day we bought him the play cellphone in Russia, the one that shouted, “Ah’loh!  Kak dyehlah!?  Kak dyehlah!?” (How’s it going?) over and over again.  And here he was, a big boy, no longer grasping an etch-a-sketch and toy mouse, but his own iPhone and laptop, a young man with a big heart, a strong body, and a sharp mind.

And where did he want to spend his 16th birthday?

The Department of Motor Vehicles, please.

At 16, in our area, the kids can take the written driver’s test and be awarded the equivalent of a learner’s permit.  After another six months and so many hours of driving with an adult, they can take the road test.  Another six months after that, they are allowed to drive more at night.  It’s a scaled system that, for some reason, includes no driver’s ed requirement.

Wasn’t it just the other day when our rad dude arrived in jeans, jeans vest, and black shirt straight from the orphanage, only to be told that he needed a white shirt for his Russian passport photo?  He readily obliged, taking off his shirt and vest and revealing a white, short-sleeved t-shirt that read, “Jesus (heart) me” in English.  Where did he get that?   While only the scoop-neck of the t-shirt is on the passport, I remember so well what lurked beneath and wondering how the photographer with the box camera, hiding with the drape over his head, was going to crop the shot.

This was our little guy, almost eight, a Russian through and through who wore his slippers to breakfast in the hotel dining room.  I’ll never forget going to the market with him as he picked out the blue corduroy tah’patchkee with mushrooms embroidered on top, and a tiny cellophane packet of white raisins which he delightedly doled out to us, as well.

We had Petya weighed by an old grandmother with a scale in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the ree’nok (market).  It cost two rubles (7 cents) for him to step up on the prized, old bathroom scale, and he weighed in at 26 kilos, which of course included his shoes, winter clothing, and jacket.  He and I drank fig juice, and he ate pelemeni for his very first time.

The first night he stayed up all night playing with Papa, his very own Papa!, he was so excited.  The second night he slept on his sofa-bed in the hotel.  The third night he came to snuggle inbetween Benedetto and I, with me often awaking to feel his small hands cupping my face, as though not wanting me to be a figment of his imagination, and somehow disappear in the middle of the night.

And here we are over eight years later, still there for each other, still just as in love, if not more so.  We pray for you, we love you, and we know that you have a fabulous future ahead of you, Petya.  You’ll always be our Big Guy.  Happy Birthday!

 

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8 Comments : Leave a Reply

  1. avatar Shelley says:

    Congratulations and Happy Birthday to Petya! How did it go at the DMV? 🙂

  2. avatar AP says:

    Happy Birthday Petya!!! And congratulations on passing your test! I knew you would!!

  3. avatar Sybil says:

    What a wonderful year for Petya – 16 is a magic age. We add our congratulations to Petya on his driver’s license and for his birthday. Aren’t the memories of those first days together glorious!

  4. avatar Sybil says:

    Yes, you are right. She turned 20! She is in her 2nd year of college . Like you, we went over so many things from those first days like when she walked into the director of the orphanage ‘s office all by herself as we waited in there to meet her. Pure bravery with a huge smile on her face and hugged us with all she had in her. Also how little she was (size 3 toddler at age 5 1/2) and how she has grown to a healthy 5’3″ beautiful young woman.

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