Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year

It has been a busy last few days, absolutely frantic here in Uralsk as everyone dash about for last minute presents and all the food for celebrating the New Year. New Year's is the big day, a combination of what we celebrate on Christmas and New Year. Religious Christmas will be celebrated on January 7th.

My visits are still 20 minutes long. It is just begun and it is time to say goodbye. The Baby house has been all decorated for the holidays and on Thursday the children were making playdough Christmas trees with the nanny/nurse (I'm still not sure what the care giver's title actually is). Yesterday when I arrived Denis was getting a massage. To assist in muscle development the children get regular massages. Ever so good.

Yesterday (the 31st) was my last visit for about 3 days. I brought some new blocks for all the children and treats. I brought juice, cookies, yogurts, bananas and mandarin oranges. For the caregivers I brought a box of chocolate. I took Denis downstairs to the music room where they had the fir tree as they call it all decorated. Yulia and I took pictures of Denis all dressed in his rabbit costume from the concert. Then we went upstairs and I got photos of Denis with his favourite Nanny and his group mates. It was nice.

We've been waiting here, my team as I call them (coordinator, translator and driver) for Jody to arrive from Canada. We'd hoped that she would arrive on Thursday, but the flight was fully booked. As we waiting Andre, my driver took the rest of us, Nastya, Yulia and I out for some dinner. We went back to that nice pancake cafe. This time we started with Pelmeni which are little meat dumplings in broth with sour cream and fresh dill and spring onion. It was delicious. Then I had a pancake with sugar milk or sweetened condense milk. The bowl of pelmeni wasn't that big and the pancakes were those thin crepe kind, but I was so stuffed after eating them.

Yesterday, we went to the baby house at 10. Then at 2 the team picked me up again and we went to the airport to meet Jody. Then Jody had to do some formal stuff and then we went to her apartment which is just across the street from my apartment. We got here settled into her apartment, then she had to pack up her stuff for the night as we were going to the Chagala hotel. That's where I am now. I saw the New Year in with Kendra, her daughter, her Mom, her brother and sister-in-law and Jody. We had a lovely meal that Kendra's brother made and we sat in their apartment unit at the hotel laughing and watching the fireworks. There was nearly 3 hours of fireworks all around the town. It was very beautiful and the windows are so good here that you barely heard anything. That was important as I went to bed before the fireworks ended. The bed here is wonderful, I had a great sleep. I'll stay here again when I return to collect Denis.

Happy New Year and Paka paka

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

More Photos

  1. This is what I look like to my son. I've had to REALLY wear the mask for the past 3 weeks because of the quarantine, he doesn't seem to mind and will put the mask back on me if we knock it off with our play.
  2. My son with his rabbit hat for the New Year Concert. Unfortunately I wasn't able to see the concert today I'm sorry to say.
The children must have had a very exciting day. The baby house had been decorated with Christmas decorations for the New Year. I think there must have been some good treats to eat too, as Denis wasn't too interested in having his snack. I think the children will find it hard to sleep tongiht as they were really wired when I was there today.

Again it was a 20 minute visit. First he wanted to show me the decorations, and he pointed to each of the items on the decorations such as the tree, the ornaments and the animals decorating the tree. As we stood by his cubby so I could take out his dirty clothes, put in the diapers and check his clean clothes, I showed Denis the new shorts I bought for him that he can wear tomorrow. He was very pleased and even showed Yulia.

Then we went into the isolation room where he dug into my knapsack. I'd bought Denis a new pair of running shoes yesterday, the previous pair I'd bought a few weeks ago were size 27. They were like Ronald McDonald shoes they were so big on Denis. The new shoes are size 25 and they are still on the generous size, but not totally oversized. Denis loved opening the plastic bag and the shoe box to find the shoes. We put them on right away. Then he began to take everything out of the bag and play with it for a few minutes and on to the next item. There was  toy from the baby house in the bag, I think it's been there since the day the immigration doctor checked him out back on November 26th. As soon as Denis saw the toy he took it out of the isolation room and put it into the play room. I'm amazed at how observant Denis is.

As usual the time was over way too soon. Today he decided to keep the blue car. He became very upset when I tried to put it away in the knapsack. He hasn't played with the car, well actually a tonka truck since 19th or 20th of November. I think he want to show it off in front of his group mates. The nurse said he could keep the toy and they'd put it into the cubby at bed time. He was very happy and blew me kisses when I went to leave. The nurse told Yulia that Denis will go to the window after I leave to watch the van drive away.

Tomorrow I visit again at 4 and then on Friday I visit at 10 because I will be going to the airport to meet Jody who is arriving from Ottawa. Jody and I will stay the evening at the local hotel where Kendra and her family are staying. We'll see in the New Year together. We all have much to celebrate. Hopefully Jody will meet a baby perfectly suited to her next week, what an exciting and anxious weekend she will have. And it will be a long weekend as I understand it considered to be a 4 day weekend. But don't panic the stores will be open all 4 days, including January 1st. I've just been warned to make sure I have as much cash as I think I might need for the weekend as the bank machines have been known to run out of cash on the New Year holiday. There's a chore for tomorrow.

Paka paka

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Let me Introduce my Son

At 3:15 this afternoon, a terribly long 4 hour wait after the hearing, the judge read her decision. She approved the application to adopt. I am now a Mommy.

Let me introduce you to Denis Owen Sergei. He is named for my paternal grandfather Denis and my maternal great uncle/godfather Owen.
  1. November 17th, the day my son and I met
  2. My favourite photo taken outside at Baby House 2 during our first week
  3. Denis doing what he loves to do most, reading a book
  4. My son and I happy to be together
After the court decision I was able to go to the baby house to see Sergei. He was more interested in learning that Mommy has nice legs as I was dressed in a skirt for court. And then he spent some time trying to convince me that I should take off my nice boots (wrapped in plastic bags to keep the baby house clean) and instead put on my slippers.

I am so filled with emotions. I keep tearing up. I will go past a mirror and look at myself and realize that the lady in the mirror is a Mommy. 5 years of waiting have been fulfilled.

We are still with Plan D. I will stay until the court finalizes the adoption and then I will go home for about 2 weeks, and then I will return to collect my little boy and go home forever. At this point I will return home on the 21st and come back here the first or second week of February.

Oh, so what do I do while waiting 4 hours to learn what the judge will say. I take my wonderful team to lunch and then I buy yarn. I couldn't be happier!

Paka paka from a very happy and tired new Mom!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Merry Christmas from Kazakhstan

Yesterday was a lovely day. It began very early for me as I got up at 6 am. I called my brother and we had a nice long chat. Then from 8 to 9:30 I watched Foyle's War. It may not have been the best decision on Christmas morning, but it has become a habit while I've been here in Kazakhstan. Unfortunately the episode was quite sad.

As I was dressing to go visit with MLM Diane called me on my cell phone. She had just finished putting the final touches together for her first Christmas with her 2 daughters. It was lovely to speak to her and such a gift to have that phone call, but I found myself getting very emotional and I had to quickly say goodbye before I completely fell apart. But I didn't have time to cry as I was off to see my little man.

I'd brought a red shirt which I'd never worn here in Kazakhstan, so that became my festive garment. For MLM I'd bought a red striped shirt. I'd put it into a beautiful little plastic bag and it was to be his present. I'd really struggled with the idea of presents because there a toy or book I would have to take home with me, and that seems to be the worse thing to do with a gift.

Off I went, tearing away to meet my driver and translator. I'd discovered on-line at 6 a e-Christmas card from my coordinator and I got into the car to receive a gift from Yulia. I now have a large Santa magnet on the fridge and a very cute Merry Christmas Snowman sitting on my television. My apartment finally seems festive. Luckily Yulia was very helpful on the drive to the baby house making me feel better and helping me to laugh, I was much calmer when we arrived.

MLM was as always delighted to see me. We were able to go into the classroom today, and I began our visit by giving him his gift. He was very interested and enjoyed shaking the shirt out of the bag. His delight at seeing the shirt was very rewarding, and then he began to pull the shirt he was wearing off to put on his Christmas present. We even got a game of Coo-Coo as he changed. Then he had a little snack of apple juice, the apple he was eating when I arrived and the banana I'd brought. All to soon, and yes it was still just a 20 minute visit, it was time to say goodbye. He is beginning to equate Yulia coming to the door with me leaving so he tries to very gently close the door so Yulia can't tell us we have to say goodbye. I know he is a smart cookie. I then turned my crying little guy over to the nurses and we quickly left. I am proud that I didn't cry, but it was very hard.

Back at my apartment I quickly got myself organized for Christmas day with Kendra and her daughter Alexis. For Alexis I'd knit a little blanket for when she is in the stroller and I'd given her a little red truck that I'd brought from Canada (MLM has a blue one that he never chooses to play with), and for Kendra I'd bought a pound of American bacon (it was very dear, but well worth it, I hope it tastes as good as it looked).

I walked over to Kendra's apartment making a little detour on my way. On Friday Kendra and I explore another little mall and we'd found a real yarn store (and JB that is YARN not YAM store). This was a 6 foot square store filled to the ceiling on 3 sides with yarn. I decided to return to the store to purchase a crochet hook to make snowflakes as a New Year gifts for my team and black yarn to make a hat for myself. Okay, I'll be truthful, it was just nice to be in a yarn store. I may go back today.

After that I went to the little grocery seller across the road from Kendra's apartment where I bought a litre of Coke and a litre of Fanta. I also found a Toberone bar and some ice cream sundaes, we were in for a real Christmas feast. Kendra had a frozen pizza and she'd made a salad of yellow pepper, cucumber and tomato.

I arrived at Kendra's apartment at 12:30 and I stayed until 4:30, the day went so fast. Kendra had Christmas music on her IPod and we enjoyed our feast while Alexis napped and then we were entertained by Alexis opening her first Christmas presents. And then further entertained watching her play with the box her toy came in. A typical Christmas with a one and a half year old. All too soon it was time to get back to my apartment before it became too dark.

The walk to Kendra's had been very dicey as the temperature was just around freezing and it was raining meaning there was ice with water on it everywhere I went. The temperature had risen while I was at Kendra's and the walk home was fine for the most part.

I spent the evening crocheting snow flakes and watching DVD's on my laptop. And finally just before going to bed I put on my Josh Grogin album Noel. I brought it thinking I'd be going home on the 19th of December and that I might need something to help to get into the Christmas feeling. I finally felt like listening to it last night.

Today,  Boxing Day is mild again, the temperature is already over 2C and it is only 10:20 in the morning, but it is wet outside. I'm not sure what Kendra and I will get up to today. I don't go to the baby house until 4 on Monday and then on Tuesday I go to court to ask to be his forever Mommy. I'm so nervous I can barely eat.

I hope everyone at home had a wonderful Christmas, and that the feast you shared was as delicious and joyful as ours.

Merry Christmas from Kazakhstan!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Weepy Wednesday,Th'Okay Thursday

Yesterday was not a good day. In the morning we went to the baby house and Yulia, my translator went inside to speak to the director about my visits. He hum and ha'd a bit and then said I could come at 4 o'clock for 20 minutes. 20 minutes, I thought 30 was a short visit. So my driver drove me back to my apartment (the drive each way from the baby house is about 20 minutes).

So there I was, in my apartment before 11 o'clock with nothing to do. I knew that Kendra was out at the Ramstore in the morning, and by the time she got home it would be nap time. I would need to be ready to go back to the baby house at 3:40, so I knew we wouldn't be meeting up. It is amazing how much one begins to depend on the visits to the baby house and then for visits with another English speaking person.  I ended up watching a little television, knitting, reading, fretting about court, and worried a huge mountain of worries.

I know that every family that has gone ahead of me here in Uralsk has been successful in their adoption, I keep worrying that I'm going to be the first refusal. Now I know that there is absolutely no reason for the judge to turn down my application, and so far everything had been going extremely well, but you do tend to worry. When I was cut down to 20 minutes for visiting I began to think that maybe they know the judge will say no and there are keeping my visits short so that MLM doesn't get to dependent on me. Hey, I know, it is paranoid, I told you I was fretting and it was not a good day.

I got the baby house and MLM was so happy to see me. All his little friends were happy to see me to, and usually I like to give them all a little attention (to the displeasure of a little man I know), but I didn't have time to waste. So I quickly moved the two of us off to the little isolation room. It was wonderful to be with him, he is such a sweet heart. Any way, the 20 minutes passed way to quickly and I had to hand him to his nurse. I had to hand him as he was crying so hard. It made me weepy too.

Then, by the time I got home I needed to talk to someone and Skype was down. I tell you it wasn't a good day.Oh did I mention that it had snowed during the night, but then was raining so everywhere there was a slushy mess, not a nice day weather wise either.

 But by bed time I was feeling much better first I got through on Skype to talk to my brother for a whole 5 minutes (better than the day before when we had to chat using Facebook) and then Diane called me long disatance using my cell phone, I couldn't think who would be calling me at that time. Actually Diane had to call a couple of times as the phone kept disconnecting. And we talked and talked and I was reassured that everyone going to court has the same fears and that come next Tuesday everything will be just fine. And finally I had a chat with L using Facebook. As I say, I went to bed feeling much better.

Today was a much better day. Not so much weather wise as it is just around above freezing and drizzle/snow mixture. The roads and sidewalks are really wet and there are huge puddles around. Kendra and I walked over to Univegmag and checked out the second floor. Kendra's little girl was in a wonderful mood and enjoyed walking around a little bit. Later we went into Tropicana for a pizza and sparkling water (total for both of us 825 tenge or about 5.75 in Canadian money). Then it was walk back to Kendra's apartment and walk back to my apartment and then wait to go to the baby house.

On the drive to the baby house I told Yulia that I'd gone to Univegmag and she said, "I know'. She told me that she was on the phone with a friend of her's who works in the book shop at the Oral Mall, I'd met her the first time I went into the Oral mall, and her friend saw me today as I walked passed her. They say that 300 000 people live here in Uralsk, but it is a small town. At the baby house, the children were having their afternoon snack of cookies, blinis and milk. At first the nurse wanted me to wait until MLM was finished before we had our visit, but Yulia told her I was only allowed to visit for 20 minutes. I don't think she was going to have much of a choice as he'd seen me. He came running down the hall to be with me. The nurses and all the staff were actually wearing their masks over their faces today, not just under their chin, so I guess the quarantine is very serious and I'm not feeling so paranoid about the 20 minutes.

The nurse came down to speak to Yulia. She told Yulia that MLM is very close to me and loves me very much and that she is happy he has such a loving mother. Then she answered some questions that L had about her son. Finally she asked if I would be able/willing to buy a costume for MLM to wear in the New Year concert. Yulia asked if we could attend, the nurse said absolutely, and then learned that it is on the 28th at 10 am, exactly when I will be in court.After praying for court to be on the 28th, now I'm wishing it could be on another time so I could see MLM in his first concert. I might ask one of the nurses if they can take some pictures with my camera.

We were once again in the isolation room, and I got to watch my little man eating his snack. The nurse came to give him his milk and told Yulia that he is a very obident boy, and he is very smart, he knows exactly which of the clothes are his. The other day all the children were taking off their clothes to go to bed and had thrown them on the playroom floor. He saw the nurse begin to pick up the clothes, He went to the pile and found all his clothing and put it into his cubbie.

We had just a short time to look at the picture book that he likes so much and it was time to go. We could hear his friends coming down the hall. MLM jumped up, went to the door and very gently closed the door, as I moved towards him as I realized it was time to go, he held up his hands to say stop and a huge grin spread across his face. He thought of a way to keep me and keep me away from the others. I was heart broken that I had to tell him it was time for me to leave. MLM realized that I was leaving and he began to howl, the nurse asked us to leave quickly. I do hope he settles easily. I'd hate to think that he cries a long time.

On the way home Andre (the driver) took Yulia and I to Univegmag so that I could find the costume for the play. I was suppose to find the parsley (yes as in that green thing they put on your plate in restaurants, or a rabbit) We couldn't find a small parsley so we settled on a little white rabbit. All the children dress up for New Year's according to a traditional folk tale. I'll try to find the story to share. And I will take a picture of the costume.

Skype seems to finally be back so I can give friends and family a call. I can't believe that tomorrow is Christmas Eve. I've decided not to bring a present for MLM as I would have to take the present away again as the children really don't have their own belongings, and that doesn't seem right with a present. I'd already decided that JB, Kathryn and I will celebrate together when I finally get home with MLM, so I guess in that sense it isn't Christmas to me here yet. I will be going to the baby house from 10 to maybe 10:30 on Christmas morning, and then I will go to Kendra's apartment for lunch. I've knit a little stroller blanket for Kendra's daughter and I will look tomorrow for a little something for Kendra. Here in Kazakhstan, Father Frost bring toys to the children on New Year's Eve, so I think I will go out and buy each of the 5 children (including MLM) a teddy bear and get them wrapped for the New Year. That way I will be able to leave it for him. I don't know if they will be able to keep the toys separate, but each child will have the opportunity to unwrap a gift, and I will be able to share this with MLM.

Anyway Paka paka for now.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Sherlock and Watson

My coordinator was back today, just one day out of the hospital. She is feeling better but very weak. She doesn't have time to be sick as she has so much to do. I'm in court next week and there is another lady arriving next week. Nastya needs a holiday, too bad she was sick in hospital for this past 4 day holiday.

I got a little longer at the baby house this morning as my driver and coordinator were off being Sherlock and Watson. They were off to find MLM's birth mother as she must appear in court to confirm her intention of releasing MLM. Here in Kaz the actual letter she writes states that she is refusing him. Her original letter was written just over a month ago, so she must appear in court. After my visit they said that they'd found the right address but that the girl wasn't there, they'll have to go back this evening.

I mentioned to Yulia that it was very quiet in my son's area lately, and that I haven't seen some of the bigger children. She asked and learned that 3 of the children have left to join their parents so there are only 5 children left. The remaining girl's parent are suppose to be coming for her soon too. When one of my friends was collecting their child last week they were told that there are only 80 children in the entire baby house at the moment. Yulia was also telling me that her husband's cousin just adopted his second child from the baby house. I had heard that domestic adoptions are very much increased.

MLM was very happy to see me and we had a lot of fun looking out the window, drinking juice and water and just playing. He seemed a bit tired though. He kept asking to be put into one of the cribs that are kept in the isolation room. As soon as I would put him down in the cot he would lie down and pretend to sleep. I'm sure if I left him he would have fallen asleep. I wouldn't let him though as it would totally screw up his afternoon nap, and then I'd get in trouble and so far I've never been told off. I'm trying to keep that record. So I'd make MLM get up and then he'd move around the crib as if he were a baby. He is a delight to watch.

MLM loves to play being a baby. He likes me to cradle and sing to him. I am very happy to oblige him in playing that game. He is such a cute little guy. Oh, did I mention he's had another hair cut. I wasn't certain as it hadn't grown all that much since the last time, but sure enough I saw one of the other boys and confirmed it for me.

Yulia was sitting in by the cubbies waiting for me when the doctor came into the group area. The doctor was very upset to see Yulia because supposedly all visits had been canceled because of the count. I'm not sure what count that would be. I was wondering if it was an end of year thing or something new with the new director. The doctor said we were suppose to check in with the secretary. Well, I haven't done that since the 3rd of December. On the 3rd we were told that I wasn't to use the front door anymore, I was to use the door that lead to MLM's group. So my poor coordinator has to call the doctor and find out what is going on and if I can visit tomorrow. We were hoping that I'd be allowed to have longer visits this week not thinking that my visit would be canceled completely.

I've sent the change of travel request to my agency's travel agent. On Mondays and Wednesdays there is a flight leaving at 9:50 am arriving in Almaty at 1:45 pm, then on Thursday, Friday and Saturday the flight is from 10:30 pm arriving the next morning at 2:25. I barely saw anything of Almaty the last time, so I've asked my agent to book me on the Monday. Then I've asked her to book me on the flights home to Canada on the Friday. I don't really plan to spend a week in Almaty. Once I've reached Almaty, I can then go to Luftansa and find out about changing my tickets. It is just way too easy to have flights from Uralsk delayed, canceled or rerouted, I want to be prepared.

Today Kendra and I just went for a walk. I think the really expensive pizza and mineral water of yesterday was just too much for us. Actually, we walked in the blowing snow to the Univegmag or Tropicana mall yesterday, and after doing a bit of shopping stopped at the Tropicana restaurant for a snack. We had a Margarita pizza and 2 500ml bottles of mineral water and the total came to less than $7 for the two of us. For the most part it is difficult to spend a lot at most restaurants for a meal. Today was a lovely day with bright sunshine and much warmer than yesterday so we just walked a very long block. Kendra's daughter enjoyed it to the very end. Then I walked home stopping at the Locomka store to buy a bread knife, a sieve and some more of those lovely baked goods. The ladies at the store are beginning to know me and I can actually get them to crack their expressionless faces into smiles. I think they find my antics trying to show them what I want very funny.

Well, who knows what tomorrow will bring, until then Paka pak

Monday, December 20, 2010

A Light Dusting of Snow

We had a very light dusting of snow this morning, but it is colder. Right now it is -9C and the wind is between 20 to 30 km/hr. On my way to and from the baby house this morning we saw about 3 fender benders and one 3 car accident. Yup, people around the world drive the same in bad weather, poorly and too close to the car in front.

MLM was playing with one of his groupmates this morning when I arrived. They were sitting in a wooden bus and sticking their heads in and out of the windows saying 'coo-coo'. It was cute to see. I called his name and he was so happy to see me he came tumbling out of the bus. His nanny made him put the toy he'd been playing with away before he came to me.

We were in the isolation room today for our visit as the classroom was being used for the other students lessons. I showed MLM the falling snow, like any child he was fascinated. I look forward to having him home and taking him outside to play in the snow.

After the look out the window it was time for his snack and juice. He won't use the sippy cup any more, he insists on using the cup. I guess you can't really battle with what he does everyday. What is funny is I bring a facecloth to help keep him clean. When he insists on drinking right from the cup, I tuck the facecloth under his chin. Today he tucked the facecloth under his chin and then tried to take the lid off the sippy cup.

During our visit his favourite nanny came in to the room to give MLM a cookie. I can tell she really loves and cares for MLM. She saw the picture book that MLM just loves to look at. She really liked the book. She then bent down to MLM and tried to get him to say some of the words in Russian. He would only say the word for baby which is lala. Then she would say a word and he would point to the picture. I motioned to her that he knows words but won't say them, she nodded yes. And then she rubbed his head and gave him kiss, and then asked him for a kiss. I've liked her from the first day. I know from one of the other nannies that MLM is one of their favourites because he is such a good little boy.

All to soon it was time to leave. As soon as he sees me starting to pack up he begins to cry and hold on to me as hard as he can. I carry him back to the playroom and say paka. All the other children say paka to me, and then I duck out as fast as possible. I can usually hear him crying as I walk around the outside of the building to the car. It just breaks my heart.

This afternoon I'll walk over to Kendra's apartment and we will walk to the malls near her place. It is always nice to have something to do.

Yesterday my translator and I were exchanging posts on Facebook. It was fun. I know she enjoyed using her English skills.

Paka paka

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Missing Delayed Flights

You know life is strange. I got up this morning and was watching CNN news where they were discussing the snow in Europe and the closed airports and/or delayed flights. I was suppose to be flying home today, that was the original plan (I said I was going with Plan B, but I think I might already be on Plan D there have been so many changes to my plans already).

I checked the flight that I was originally booked on. It is still delayed leaving Almaty. It is about 11 hours delayed now and they are saying it might leave at 6 tonight. But then the transfer point would be Frankfurt which is virtually shut down with snow, and totally packed with stranded passengers. Who knew I'd be delighted to have had to change my travel plans.

My visit with MLM this morning was a delight. He was very happy to see me. He actually had a tear on his cheek when he came out of his play room, but I don't know why. We continued with our new toy, the water bottle. He was very thirsty and guzzled down the juice I brought for him (or just to be truthful, it is really about 25% juice and rest water - I follow Jamie Oliver very closely). Then I pulled out the water bottle. I'd removed about 1/2 the water from the bottle, then I pour a bit into his sippy cup. That became the game for the morning: open the bottle (he can open the screw top, but struggles with closing it), pour a little bit into the sippy cup (with the lid off, because he just hates the slow flow of the water, he's thirsty you know) and then drink the water, repeat. And when I say repeat, I mean about 15 times.

We also checked out the world outside the window. That was the first thing he wanted to do when we went into the classroom. There wasn't anything really happening out there. Though he did see some birds and he thought it would be fun to pretend that he was afraid of the birds and I had to save him (SuperMom). Towards the end of our 30 minutes he wanted to look out the window again. This time my driver had returned and was parked outside. MLM waved at the car and my driver waved back, MLM was so delighted, he's whole body shook with his delight.

Unfortunately it was then time to say goodbye. I thought we'd passed the stage of hanging on and crying, but then his buddy left to join his forever family and I was missing for 2 days, so we are back to his hands wrapped around my neck and very tearful goodbyes. I really look forward to the day that I never have to say goodbye again.

I'm learning my speech for court. I'm getting nervous about it and it is giving me the weirdest dreams. The mind is a strange thing.

I'm feeling absolutely exhausted this afternoon, so I told Kendra that I wouldn't be coming over. I instead walked over to the Atrium to see the upstairs. I've been to the Atrium about 6 times but this is the first time I've gone upstairs. I wanted to look at the strollers that they have on sale just in case I need to get one for MLM in 2 weeks. They had one I liked, I'll have to see what the price is like. MLM and I could easily walk over there to purchase it if I have his company.

I stopped at my favourite little store to buy milk, bananas and water. I wanted some mantee (steamed beef dumplings), but they didn't have any, so instead I bought some pastries and buns. The one I had when I returned to my apartment was a lovely flaky apple pastry, it was delicious, I'll be going for that one again. It is such a surprise when you cut open things as I can't read the sign. I call it adventures in shopping and eating LOL

Hope everyone has a wonderful Sunday
Paka paka

Oh, I found my camera cord this morning, so I should be able to post some pictures again in the near future. Just not today. I'm too tired :-)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

An A-typical Day

It was back to the baby house this morning. I was so glad to see MLM, two days seemed like such a long time. He was very happy to see me. Yulia and I think there is a new little one in the room who wasn't there before. Maybe he has come to fill the space left by L and A's son. We'll have to look in the cubby tomorrow.

When I arrived MLM didn't have a diaper on. I left 15 diapers on Wednesday, but I guess they'd gone through them all already. He was very helpful while I put the diaper on. Then he wanted to look out the window. We were in the little classroom today. The window looks out to a small street. We could see my driver's van. MLM started playing peek-a-boo which is called coo-coo here. He would put his hands on the window so he couldn't see the van, and then move his hands and say coo-coo. Another new word for MLM. Too bad my driver couldn't see him. We told Andre when we got back into the van.

MLM was VERY thirsty again today. He nearly drowned himself trying to drink all his juice. He couldn't get it fast enough with the lid on, so we took off the lid. They don't drink from sippy cups here, they go from bottles to regular cups. I had also brought a bottle of drinking water for him. Well, who needs to bring a toy when you have a bottle of water. I had to teach him how to open the bottle (I was wondering if this was a good thing to be teaching him, but oh well) Then I struggled to teach him how to drink from the bottle. He kept trying to put the entire opening of the bottle into his mouth. We fought a little battle over the bottle. Finally I showed him how to sip. 1 model and he was in the know. He of course struggled with the amount of water he got into his mouth, but by the end of the 30 minutes he could sip a bit without soaking himself or choking.

After the baby house we went to the hospital to visit my coordinator. My poor coordinator has been in hospital since last Tuesday night. I think she might have flu or something, her head is spinning and she has a fever. She wanted to know what I was doing with regard to my airline tickets, I think she is very relieved that I plan to stay a while. And that I understand that MLM's passport will take time to be prepared. She also was arranging with me to pay for my apartment for another month and to pay the internet and satellite t.v.. She is working even though she is in hospital, poor woman. She did want me to know that everything is going well for court and that I should have no problems. I also learned today that my translator will probably be translating for me in court.

Oh, visiting in a hospital means standing in a tiny foyer with all these people and then the sick person comes out to the foyer to meet with you. We stood not far from the doors and spoke with my translator, driver and coordinator. There were about 8 women who were sick in the foyer and their friends and family.

Tomorrow the owner of the apartment will be coming to collect some clothes. It should be interesting, she'll come around 6. She will speak to my coordinator, who will call my translator, who will call me to confirm the time. Luckily I have seen her a couple of times, so I know what she looks like. But it does mean I'll have to give everything an extra little cleaning tonight.

I just checked my iGoogle page and it tells me the weather in both Toronto and here in Uralsk. It is -3 C in both places. That happened so many times while I was waiting to travel. Lately though it has been much colder at home. We've been lucky with most days above freezing and very little snow.

Tomorrow I get to go to the baby house again. Only for 30 minutes but it is much better than no minutes. Today when I was saying goodbye MLM held on so tight to my neck and cried and cried. He didn't want me to go. Little did he know that I didn't want to leave either. It will be difficult leaving him every day for the next month, and even harder to leave for the 2 or 3 weeks that it takes to make his passport.
Paka paka

Friday, December 17, 2010

Busy Social Life

Another day without a visit to MLM, but boy have I been busy. First this morning L and A and their boys dropped by my apartment to drop off a bag of items for me to bring to the baby house, they are off to Almaty tonight where they will stay until their little guy's passport and visa are done. I walked back with them and said goodbye for now on a street corner. It was lovely having them here, and we'll talk using Skype while they are in Almaty.

Then I walked over to Kendra's apartment. I go to her apartment to help bring down the stroller, as it would be impossible to carry a 17 month old and a stroller down the 4 flights of stairs. Now we understand why we don't see so many strollers. Mother's carry their children in their arms. So scary when you see how slippy the sidewalks tend to be.

We then walked back to PizzaHot where we enjoyed a large pizza and a litre of warm coke. The first was yummy the second not so much, but we still drank the whole thing. Kendra's daughter ate and ate and ate, she is such a cuty.

After lunch we walked back to the Univart Mall, or the Tropicana mall (as that is the name of the restaurant/cafe). We went so that Kendra could buy lights for her little Christmas tree. She is more adventurous than me, as I haven't bothered to decorate my apartment. As we were walking into the mall I saw one of the ladies who works at the baby house. Uralsk has a population of 300 000 yet I've know seen both this lady and the director when I've been out and about. Talk small world eh!

Afterwards we walked back to her apartment and then I walked back to my apartment. I'm getting so comfortable with the layout of the city that I can take different roads going and coming from my apartment.

I was in luck yesterday and got to enjoy a beautiful firework display at the end of the concert at the city hall to celebrate Independence Day. I watched out my kitchen window. I do have an apartment in a great location.

Tomorrow I go back to the baby house. Unfortunately it is only for the 30 minutes. I look at it as 30 more minutes to get to know and build a relationship with this special little person. I'm so lucky to be with him for however many minutes a day. I'm hoping on Monday I get a longer visit.

To all my teaching friends I wish you a wonderful final day before the holidays. Enjoy the next 2 weeks and forget about the planning, marking, tests, students and all the other joys of teaching.

Paka paka