So what happened during our “lost days”, while we were offline?  Actually, it all happened over Christmas so no one really noticed we were shut down.

On the day we arrived in Lugansk, after meeting Matan and completing his medical exam, we needed a place to stay.  Now this is one of the major cash cows for the facilitator, who usually gets a cut.  In most cases they present you with an apartment, a daily price, and you can either take it, or go to a hotel.  The hotel option is terrible for two reasons.  First, you can’t cook and with Karen, it is even more important that we have a kitchen.  Second, when you go to a hotel, you must first show ID. Only after you show your passport, are you given the price.  Basically, if you are foreign, a hotel starts at 100 EUR + per night.  When you consider that we will be here for a minimum of 25 days, you begin to see that the initial agency fee is only one part of  the overall expense. 

Our goal then, is to find a reasonably priced apartment with a gas range and washing machine that is reasonably clean and an easy walk to shopping, especially a supermarket.  We can survive in a Studio, but are better off with a 1 bdrm.

At the end of our meeting between  our driver, Sasha (who speaks no English), and our agency director, the director told us that Sasha had a fantastic place for us to stay “only” 80 USD a night in a 3 level mansion with a full time cook who would prepare all meals for us and do our laundry.  Sounds great, right?  Keep in mind that when we adopted Karen, we had a Studio apartment that cost us only 25 USD a night, but had no washing machine, and it was filthy.  Not someplace I would be willing to stay with Karen, although it met our needs at the time.

We explained to our agency director that while it sounded wonderful, DH really doesn’t like the local cuisine, and we would prefer a simple place where we can cook our own food.  Our director told us not to worry, that Sasha would look after us, and then he left.  Sasha motioned us to the car, and took us to the mansion.

Too be continued…..