We arrived in Berlin to bitter cold, for Texans, anyway. It was -4 C. (Side note to Chris Colletti: That means it was below freezing.) Lena and Vitaly arrived from Russia 4 hours later. The mission was off and running.

AKA: Ugly Bag

If you have traveled anywhere internationally, you have seen these bags. Like cockroaches, they will survive the end of the world.

The big toys had been pre-ordered at Toys R Us, and were waiting for us. While Vitaly and I loaded them into the van and took them to the apartment, Donna, Stephanie, Richard, and Lena continued shopping for more. It couldn’t have been better timed. We arrived back at the downtown, multilevel shopping center, parked the van in the garage, went straight in, no idea where Toys was, related to the parking garage, and found Donna sitting right there. Stephanie was a few feet, well, meters over there, behind her, at the check-out.
I considered the results to be a matter of my perfect timing and expert pathfinding skills. Donna mentioned something about blind hogs and acorns.

Our apartment looked like a tiny Toys R Us, as we organized and packed the “ugly bags” for the train ride to Russia. Truth be told, we probably looked more like black marketeers, something we were once accused of in Russia. Do you know the story of the KGB coming to investigate us, and taking the team’s passports? Oh well, an old story published elsewhere.

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