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Saturday, December 15, 2007
We're all settling into the new routine but boy did Andrei give Stef and I some cold! This is the worst one I've had in years and of course it's merely the first of a constant string that my son will bequeathing to us. He seems to be doing great in terms of being happy and active. The number of temper tantrums have gone way down. Thanks I'm sure to the fact that we ignore most of them. We're also getting better and identifying which tantrums are just plays for getting what he wants.

He's eating well, although he seems to not be eating as much as we'd like him to. We're just shooting for the recommended diet for his age which is only around 1,000 to 1,300 calories a day. But he barely hits that. He doesn't seem to like vegetables too much but is crazy about fruits and the strangest of all, doesn't really eat meat that much. Here he is enjoying a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a banana for lunch.

Since we got back early due to the 10 days waived, we had to reschedule his first pediatrician visit and due to the holidays they were only able to get him in as early as Monday. So we'll ask the Doc about his diet then, although we've heard that we shouldn't be too worried about getting a perfectly balanced diet in during the toddler years.

Don't argue with the Russians

So my story today comes from when we were in Novosibirsk and trying to change our flights to Moscow due to the waived waiting period. We were on Aeroflot and had enjoyed their flights even more than US carriers (better food, better service, etc.). Well that may be true of the actual flight, but the customer service at the local ticket office leaves a lot to be desired. First off, ALL Russian customer service leaves a lot to be desired! And this little exchange is similar to just about every dialogue between a customer and a company (or government) employee.

Well we're in this Aeroflot office and we're trying to change our tickets. The girl behind the counter tells our translator that she needs the final page of the ticket package. It's merely some page that shows the itinerary. Please note, we have our tickets but not this one page at the end. So we tell her that and then she says that we cannot change our tickets, that we must have that one page. We tell her we haven't got it the travel agent only sent us the tickets. She says she won't change them without the itinerary page. We say we don't have it. This goes on for a good 20 minutes.

Finally we just tell her forget it and book us new tickets and we'll just refund the tickets ourselves. Which of course we really couldn't do because they were not fully refundable tickets and getting a credit on Aeroflot isn't that valuable to us. But at this point I could really care less about the $600 or whatever those things cost us.

The point of this story is there is no point to arguing with a Russian government official or whoever is in charge for the Russian company you are dealing with. They just have no concept of dealing with a customer. So just don't bother.
posted by Steveg @ 1:08 PM  
  • At 7:38 PM, Blogger Abby said…

    Lurker coming out of the woodwork here..stumbled across your blog when looking for blogs on Ethiopian adoptions (where our baby will be coming from).

    Anyway, just wanted to reassure you about meal time - I'm the parent of an almost 2 year old and she will go several days with only eating 3-4 bites of one particular food (even though we offer her a full meal) then she'll make a complete 180, eat everything that's set in front of her and ask for more. I asked our dr. about it and she told us not to worry - as long as there wasn't significant weight loss, it was totally normal.

    Also, congratulations on the new addition to the family. He's a beautiful little boy.

  • At 7:51 PM, Blogger Chris said…

    We had similar experiences with customer service at most places we went too. When at restaurants, we'd ask if they spoke English, and they would laugh at us. Then they would get mad when we couldn't really communicate with them.

    I'm glad to hear Andrei's tantrums are lightening up. Alexa and Anneliese have their moments, but usually it is just crocodile tears.

  • At 6:59 PM, Blogger Jim said…

    I learned some very interesting things about Russian culture last fall. One of the big things is that if you don't have a relationship with someone, you're (usually) not trusted -- and you get treated that way. Sometimes you have to spend five or ten minutes building a (meager) relationship first and then ask for help.

    It is obviously no longer an issue for you guys, but for those coming after, I recommend reading a book called "From Nyet to Da: Understanding the Russians" by Yale Richmond. It may not help you get any better customer service, but perhaps it will provide some insight on why you sometimes run into walls like this.

  • At 10:15 AM, Blogger Misha said…

    zIt's only been a few days for Andrei who is becoming familiar with new foods. He's eating things he never had before and was used to eating other foods in Russia. I think it will take a short time before he realizes how much he loves all these different foods. Our pedi tells us there are 3 things you cannot make a toddler do: eat, drink and sleep. Your child will tell you when they want/need it. Infants/toddlers have a growing mechanism in their bodies and will continue to grow even if they are not consuming as much as we think they should :) Angelika's appetite fluctuates too. One day she hardly eats and the next day she makes up for it and eats everything in sight. She also likes variety at times mainly lunch/dinner. For breakfast, she doesn't mind having oatmeal every single morning and doesn't get tired of it (yet). You and Stef will eventually learn Andrei's preferences and eating patterns.

    - Nina

  • At 9:20 PM, Blogger Denise :o) said…

    I agree with you regarding Aeroflot. The flights were always great, but when we had to change our tickets... that was a whole different story. Talk about RUDE and they couldn't do it. I finally had to go back to the hotel, call the travel agency I used in the states and she managed to change our flights in 30 minutes. All was fine... that was after spending TWO HOURS at the Aeroflot office. Sigh...

  • At 6:39 PM, Blogger adoptedthree said…

    Welcome to parenthood!! At least he likes it for now. HUGE!!

    I have one bad eater and two excellent eaters the bad eater gives me the GRRRRRsSSSS...

    Love the picture
    Happy Holidays

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Our Story:

I'm Steve and this is my wife Stefanie. This is our story, mostly seen through my eyes, of the journey to create our family by adopting a child from Russia.

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