Monday, January 31, 2011

2 Weeks Down 2 Weeks to Go

I'm in the half-way point of my wait to go back to Kazakhstan, in fact I will be back in Uralsk in 2 weeks today. I am so excited with the idea of being back with Denis. On the weekend I bought and set up his toddler bed. Everytime I look at it I just can't help smiling. My little boy is going to sleep there very soon.
It is very strange to be home. Everything is exactly the same, but at the same time nothing is the same. I arrived home on a Sunday afternoon and actually returned to work on the Monday morning. I was jet lagged and stunned but boy was it ever so nice to be earning money again.
It has also been wonderful to have my sister home again. I so missed her while I was away. I have never been away from my sister for such a long period of time. It was really hard. Kathryn is the only one that I couldn't speak to while I was away. And I wasn't able to get much information on how she was doing as I seemed to only get agency/relief staff at the house when I called. I don't know if she understands that her nephew will be here in 3 weeks. I show her pictures of Denis and tell her all about him. She can say something that sounds like Denis, it is really similiar of 'dance' what she calls Lawrence Welk. My brother really hopes that Denis doesn't come to love Lawrence Welk like his aunt.
Now back to more child proofing the house. Where did all that stuff come from?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Started Home

I've begun my journey home.

I would have said that I'm part way home, but in fact I'm further away from home today then I was yesterday. I'm in Almaty. I flew here last night, and very early tomorrow I will fly home. I was very sad to say goodbye to Denis, Yulia, Nastya and Andre. I know I will be back in one month to be reunited with my little man, and we will never have to say paka again. I'll teach him to say goodbye instead :-)

Almaty is so much bigger than Uralsk. I'm in the big city now. I've been on highways and been in a grocery store 4 times the size of any of the grocery stores that I shopped at in Uralsk.

I'm staying with Louisa and her family in an apartment in Almaty. It is wonderful to be with her again. We've chatted on-line most days since she came back, but it is so much easier when you don't have to type.

In 13 hours we will be packing up and moving off to the airport to fly home. I know I'll have to pay for a second bag. What a shock! I was allowed to bring 2 free bags here, but I only get one free bag going home. I'll know better next journey. Frankly my bags are packed with a ton less than I brought, and I know I won't be bring anywhere near as much next time, I barely used the stuff I did bring.

Paka paka and see you from the other side of the world.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Denis is Officially My Son

Well, it is official. I have seen the final adoption decree, Denis is 100 % my son.

I am absolutely delighted and absolutely desolate at the same time. He is my son, but tomorrow I leave. I think he sort of understands that something is changing as he cried so hard today when I had to leave. We actually arrived in time to join his group going outside. As we walked around the Baby House building we saw my driver pull into the grounds of the Baby House, poor Denis began to cry, he must have thought that II would be leaving right away. Instead, Andre offered to give the children in Denis' group a ride around the baby house in the car. What a treat! The children and Andre had a great time. But all to soon I had to leave. I had to bring Denis inside and he cried the whole way. I quickly got him out of his clothes, gave him to the caregiver inside, and ran away, I was afraid I too would start to cry as hard as Denis. I was bad and just stuffed his clothes into his cubby, I wasn't neat at all.

After the baby house, Nastya and Yulia came to my apartment to help me fill in the last of the documents I need to do for Denis. Tomorrow I go and sign at the Register's office for his birth certificate and then back to the notary to sign some very final papers. I have one final visit with Denis and I head to Almaty. I will be leaving Denis with the photo album and a stuffed teddy bear, so I'm hoping the leave taking will not be so hard. It will also be hard saying goodbye to the team that has supported me here, Yulia, Nastya and Andre. I hope I can make it on to the plane without tears.

I'm very lucky tonight, my apartment has heat and hot water. I shall enjoy both.

Paka paka

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Goodbye to the Fir Tree

Yesterday when we arrived at the baby house, it was to meet Denis' favourite caregiver rushing around as the children were going to see a special fairy tale. The children were all dressed in their finest clothes and were all beautifully groomed. We went into the music room and I was given permission to stay and watch. The children sat on benches and the nurses did the fairy tale.

First they told the story in Kazakh, then they repeated the story in Russian. It is the story of a little girl who goes into the woods to get a fir tree to decorate for the New Year. At the first tree she finds and decides to cut down she is stopped by the squirrel/chipmunk (or maybe a bird I couldn't quite see) that lives in the tree. At the second tree she is stopped by the fox who lives by the tree and at the third tree she is scared away by a bear. Upset that she can't find a tree she meets up with Father Frost who rewards her with a tree because she was kind and thoughtful to the animals of the woods when they asked her not to take their trees. Or I should say this is my understanding of the play without being given a translation.

After the 2 versions of the story, the caregivers gave each of the children an ornament to put on the little tree that they had used in the play. Then they all recited a poem and the lights on the tree came on. The children who had learned a poem or song during the Christmas/ New Year season were invited to stand up and recite the poem or sing the song, about 5 children spoke or sang. And finally all the children were given some treats to eat.

Before they left the music room, all the children recited a poem about the fir tree going away for another year and that it will return next year. There is a big decorated fir tree in the music room, on Friday the staff will be taking it down. They caregivers wanted to have a special ceremony to help the children understand. It was delightful.

The children, about 20 or so, probably 3 groups, were very well behaved. The oldest were under 4 and the youngest around a year and a half. I realize how far behind Denis is in his speech as 2 of his group mates were able to say a poem of 4 to 6 lines on their own, Denis uses a rare word spontaneously.  Then again, many of the children were silent for the entire time, not even mouthing the poems recited as a group, I think many have speech delays.  I can also see the problem in that the two groups 7 and 8 were together for the past 9 months or so and they would have had both Kazakh and Russian spoken to them all the time, it must have been confusing. Now I've added English to the mix. It is evident that Denis understands what is said to him as he does exactly as he is told.

After the play the children returned to their group area for afternoon meal. Today it was a roll filled with a cabbage, onion and carrot mixture and some biscuits and warm milk. As he was eating Yulia and I told Denis that I would be coming for 2 more visits and then I would be away for a many days. I used your phrases Amy about getting his bed ready and buying toys (his eyes lit up with that one). He also closed his eyes and pretended to sleep as Yulia was speaking to him, I know closing his eyes is one of Denis' coping mechanisms, I saw that a lot in the very early days of my visits. Then it was time to say goodbye for the day. I brought him back to his friends where they were eating in their little dinning room. His caregiver told him to blow kisses to his mama, which he very happily did.

So I have 2 more visits before I leave. Today I will go and buy a stuff toy for him for when I am gone. Thanks Diane for the encouragement.

I've pretty much packed everything and made the apartment as clean as I can. I did my final load of my laundry yesterday only to think I'd be returning home without all those clothes. The washing machines are front loaders here, but unlike at home, once you start them going they lock and cannot be opened until the wash finishes. I started the wash about and hour and 45 minutes before I needed to leave to go for lunch yesterday, the wash was suppose to take one hour and 20 minutes. At 11 (I needed to be out of the apartment at 11:25) the wash had 2minutes to go, great I thought, it will finish and I can hang the wash up to dry before I go. At 11:25 the wash was still going and still had 2 minutes to go, I was afraid if I left it, the machine would still be going when I came back from lunch, so I unplugged the machine. After lunch I plugged the machine back in and it said it had 3 minutes to go, 45 minutes later it was finally done. Whew, I was so happy to get my clothes back.  I will be doing some more laundry before I go, but only with towels and linen from the apartment.

Oh and there is no heat, or barely any heat and no hot water in my apartment today. They are replacing the chimney for the boiler, so of course the work is being done now in January when the night time low goes to -26 or so. The apartment isn't actually cold, more in line with the temperature we'd have our home, but after the heat of the past 9 weeks it feels chilly.

And my other complaint is I think I've lost my satellite tv again. I don't know if it is time for the monthly payment, which wouldn't make sense to pay as I'm leaving tomorrow. Can you see me, no heat, no tv and the internet wouldn't stay connected, I was not a happy camper. I ended up going to bed at 9, I was so tired I think I went out like a light. But as the saying goes, early to bed early to rise, I was up just before 6 am our time.

I have to go the notary today to do something and I need to do paperwork for Denis' entry visa to Canada and today the judge is suppose to sign the adoption into reality as the 15 day appeal period ended yesterday. Tomorrow I go sign for his birth certificate, which here in Uralsk has to be done by the parents in person. And then I will have done everything I need to do.

I will have a visit today and a visit tomorrow and then I will be going home for the month.

Paka paka

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Thanks for all the Great Suggestions

Thank you for all the wonderful suggestions on how to help Denis deal with my absence. I actually have a baby's photo album that I brought with me. It was an idea I got from Diane, she'd made one for Ciera. I brought the album with photos of my brother and sister, and some of my friends and their children. Now the album has pictures of Denis and I. During every visit we look at the pictures. I'll be leaving the album with him when I leave.

Also my translator is going to be going to the baby house with Jody every day, so she will from time to time go into Denis' room to see him. We hope he doesn't think that I am there when he sees her.

Denis' favourite caregiver will be working tomorrow. I will be giving her all the diapers I need to leave while I am gone, and Yulia and I have spoken to her about when I am away. She asked for a photo and I showed her the album, she thought the album was a great idea.

Oh and Susan, thank you for the idea about notes from the caregivers. I bought a little notebook and I will leave it there with them this week, Yulia will pick it up next week and translate the notes. The caregiver was very happy with the idea.

Today Denis was so cute he had me laughing my head off. When we go into the isolation room, our bonding space, he firsts wants to look out the window. Today when I lifted him up, he leaned on the sill and then asked to be let down. I put him on the ground and he went into my knapsack to get the snack ziplock bag. I helped him open the bag and he pulled the face cloth I bring. Then he asked me to lift him back up to the window where he promptly began to wipe the window sill and scrub at a mark on the wood. I'm sorry JB, but your nephew is into clean, you'll have to change your ways.

Later we had our first temper tantrum. Denis found a pen in my knapsack and I let him use it in a notebook, but then he decided that he wanted to write on the furniture and on the floor. On his second attempt I took the pen away. Oh the crying and the throwing himself on the floor. Unfortunately it was at the end of our ever so lengthy 20 minutes visit, but he did let me comfort him and he was smiling when he said goodbye.

3 more visits and then I'm head for home. I'm in the process of trying to change my tickets right now. It will only be the third time I've changed these tickets. They do say the third time is the charm, right?!

Paka paka

Monday, January 10, 2011

Baby It's Cold Outside

The temperature as I write this is -23 C, that's without any kind of wind chill factor, just the bare temperature. Yesterday at the same time (just after 7 a.m) the temperature was around the same, however for both days the forecast has the night time low around -16C. You have no doubt that it really is that cold when you are out walking, every painful breath lets you know that, yes it is cold. And yet we see people walking everywhere. This is a city of people who walk.

Yesterday we were back to normal, in other words, a twenty minute visit. I was actually there about 30 minutes earlier than normal and discovered that the children were just getting dressed again after their afternoon nap. After nap they get a snack of hot milk and some kind of bread or cookies. One day it was blinis or crepes lightly buttered and yesterday it was a nice soft roll and some cookies.I happen to know that the roll was nice and soft as Denis insists on feeding me during our visits. I've bought many packages of cookies for the children thanks to a lovely librarian I know who gave me money to buy treats for the children. B. that money has gone really far as cookies are not that expensive.

I found the journey to the baby house to be difficult as I'm in my final count down. I only have 4 more visits and then I will be going home for a month. I'm actually fine when I'm with Denis, but on the way I'm starting to feel emotional and have to keep from crying. As Denis played yesterday I was telling him that in a few days I will be leaving for a month and then I will return to bring him home forever. He was sitting in front of me playing and after each phrase he'd look back at me and smile. When I said that he'd be coming home to live with me forever he turned and kissed me. I have no idea how much English he understands, and I know that he can't understand what is going to happen to him, but oh what a joyful feeling that he is happy with the idea. Hey, I am allowed to fool myself that he understands.

Today Denis' favourite caregiver was working, so he was not upset to leave me. She has taught him to blow kisses, so when he leaves me he goes to her and she tells him to blow me a kiss. She'll be working on Wednesday so I'll be bringing a month's worth of diapers on Wednesday to leave with her. I'm also sorting out his clothes to leave while I'm away.

Well it's back to packing and sorting out my apartment. I can't keep track of the day of the week and I'm getting anxious that I've forgotten something or that I'll be late. After 8 weeks here I'm thinking I have so many things to do, who knew I'd run out of time. LOL

Paka paka

Sunday, January 9, 2011

What do you do with an hour????

The International Doctor was here to see Jody's baby today and it was decided that we would be at the baby house at the same time so I got to spend the entire time with Denis which was over an hour. After about 25 minutes he'd been through everything in the knapsack, drunk as much of the juice as he wanted (and spilled as twice as much on my jeans) Denis looked at me with his hands in the air as if to say 'Now what do we do?" I was hysterical. Denis has become so accustomed to our short little visits that he was bored by the 25 minute mark. The funny thing is Yulia was shortly at the door to say she was bored and wondered what we were doing as she had nothing to do. It was too funny.

Actually I sat there in the isolation room with Denis as he took everything out of the knapsack and I thought those 2 long flights home next month should be a LOT of fun. Actually I hope Denis will be so interested in everything that the journey will be fun. I do have to get a lot of electronic toys for him because he likes things that do something.

One thing he played with today was my camera. I gave in and let him play with it when he came over and took the wrist strap and put it around his tiny little arm like a pro and then looked at me as if to say, "Well look I'm responsible and ready to use the camera". I'd showed him how to use the strap about a month ago when I let him look at the photos on the camera, it's touch screen and likes making the pictures move. Today he LOVED taking pictures. They were almost all of his left fingers as he holds the camera with a finger or two over the lens. I'd already decided to let him have my old camera, good call.

Oh, at one point during the visit the door flies open and there in the doorway is the doctor and one of the nurses. She looks in and then walks away. I felt quite smug as I had my mask over my face when she looked in, and I was so happy that I didn't have Denis on the window ledge or upside down, he was just in my arms. Whew, that was close. I actually wear my mask most of my visit and as I've said before Denis will put it back on if it slips off. Won't he be in for a surprise when I take him home and he learns that I don't wear them.

This afternoon Jody had Kendra, her family and I over for lunch. It was a lovely afternoon. We had a great time telling stories and watching Kendra's daughter's antics. Jody and I walked to the Chagala after lunch so that Jody could use the internet, she still doesn't have it in her apartment. I'd brought my knitting, so we had a nice hour in the lobby of the Chagala. And then we froze on the walk back to our apartments. As we were only walking a couple of blocks we both figured we wouldn't need long johns, WOW we were wrong. That was a cold walk home. Tomorrow promises to be around the same temperature. The upside of the temperature is the beautiful sunshine. It has been rare to see the sunshine in the past month.

Oh, I had an interesting morning before going to the baby house. When I got up there was normal electricity, however after a few minutes the power dropped dramatically and 20 minutes later their was no electricity at all. Jody mentioned the lack of street and traffic lights on her walk to my apartment this morning, so the power outage was more than the just my building. The power was back by the time we returned from our morning outing. I have to say that going through your morning routine by candle and flash light is really interesting.

Well,I'm back to a 20 minute visit tomorrow, Wednesday will mark the end of the appeal period and Thursday the judge can sign the adoption decree into fact. Tomorrow also marks the beginning of my 9th week here, I think I'm ready to go home, especially after learning the finally paperwork seems to be taking 5 to 6 more weeks. That would just be too long away from home. I'm ever so sorry to leave Denis, but living here with a 2 year old would be near impossible, especially as the temperature is dropping  and I'm sure there will be more snow. I can't imagine trapsing all over town to get water and groceries with a two year old, and there isn't much to do here with a child. We actually don't see to many children out and and about, I don't know where they are hiding but they aren't often out in public.

Paka paka

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Another Day Another 20 Minutes

I was wondering the other day how much time I've actually spent with Denis, and then I decided I probably didn't want to be any more sad than I am. I'm getting organized to leave and I'm amazed at how sad I am at the thought of leaving this city that I've come to consider home. I was teasing Yulia today that I now know exactly where to go for most of the things that I need or want. As I've said before I'll be sad to say goodbye to my friends. During the drive to the baby house Yulia told Andre that I will be leaving soon and he said that I can't go I'm almost a citizen I should get my passport and not worry about Denis'. LOL

My visit was suppose to be 20 minutes but I think it was actually 30 minutes. It is such precious time. He is such a loving boy. He really enjoys giving and receiving love and attention. I so can't wait to have him forever. Towards the end of our visit he decided to check out my purse and found my sunglasses case, he decided that would be a great thing to keep and he put up quite a fuss when I said he had to return it. I quickly redirected his attention by having him turn off the light. Then we went and took a picture with today's caregivers. I think there are 4 teams of 2 who work with the children. I have photos of 3 of the 8 caregivers, and I have photos of all the children still in his group. I need to learn all their names so I can tell Denis when he is older.
These aren't new photos, just the three I had printed today,
  1. We are family - taken just after leaving court after learning the judge said yes
  2. Playing outside on a beautiful day at Baby House 1
  3. My favourite picture of Denis and I taken our first week together at Baby House 2

I brought a baby photo album for Denis. When I arrived there were photos of my brother, my sister, Dastan, Alex and Loretta. I wanted to show how Dastan and Alex have grown and I wanted to show Denis the people he will come to know when he comes home. Today after our visit Yulia helped me to get some photos of Denis and I to put into the photo album. I was looking at the picture of Denis and I from court day, the day we became family and I realized that we really do look alike. I especially like how our smile is so similar. I'm so glad that I trusted the journey that God took me on to find my son, this certainly has been a journey of blessings and Denis is the greatest blessing of all.

While we waited for the photos to be printed, Yulia and I went to the big church so I could purchase an icon. I want an icon of the Virgin Mother and infant Jesus. Yulia thinks the exact same way I do, as she suggested the same icon when I told her I wanted a religious icon. As Yulia said I was here for Christmas and I became a mother here. Today I saw the icon I liked, but unfortunately there wasn't a lady working in the store on that side, supposedly someone will be there tomorrow. However, Yulia told me about a prayer card you can purchase with your name on it. I purchased one with Denis' birth name. It has a prayer and it states his name day celebration. He actually gets two, lucky boy.

Tomorrow I go to the baby house at the same time as Jody. The International doctor is coming to see her baby. I hope the doctor takes a long time and I can spend all that time with Denis. We go for 9 a.m., it will be dark when we leave the apartments.

Paka paka

Thursday, January 6, 2011

It's getting random

Well life here isn't getting random, but the things I thought about writing for my blog are sort of random ergo the title of the entry.

It snowed today, not a lot but just enough to make everything look pretty.

When I logged into google to write this entry the temp. sky condition, and wind speed were identical in Toronto and in Uralsk. We are 10 hours different and the humidity was different otherwise...

I was asked by an assistant magazine editor to use a photo of the shawl above in their upcoming issue of the magazine that I got the instructions to knit the shawl. I have to get a picture of someone wearing the shawl. Umm, I gave it to Louisa and she is 3 and 1/2 hour flight away, hopefully I'll see her next weekend, I hope the magazine can wait.

I bought red grapes yesterday at the mall. They were quite sweet so I washed and cut in half a few to bring to Denis. I really doubt he's tried grapes before. I put them into a container with sliced banana. I had to slice the banana as he would stuff way too much into his mouth at time from a full banana. Anyway he tried a grape half and decided it wasn't for him, but wasn't too keen on eating the banana as it made his fingers dirty (very neat and tidy my son) so I feed him the banana (oh, and don't forget you can play with stuff if your mother is putting the food into your mouth for you, did I mention he is smart too????) After a while he looked at the grape again, then tried to feed it to me through the mask. It was a great game. Eventually he pulled the mask away and fed me the grapes. He was intrigued that I liked them, then he must of figured if momma likes them they must be good. He put one in his mouth and the face, you'd think he was sucking a lemon, but he ate all the remaining grapes.

Today he was just finishing snack when I arrived. It was his favourite caregiver working. He came running to see me and gives me tons of kisses. The caregiver always has him give her a kiss when he comes with me, she is the one who taught Denis to blow kisses. He wasn't too interested in eating or drinking, but he decided we should share his drink of juice. Then he began a game of pretending to be asleep and wanting me to comfort him, telling eh? I so look forward to when I will be doing that for real.

Today Jody and I walked to the WWII monument and then to the Pushkin Hotel for lunch. We had steak and fries with a can of pop for $14 each, not bad in one of the better hotels in town. It was nice to walk in the snow, it wasn't too cold but it was overcast.

All too soon it was time to leave again, I won't see him tomorrow as it is Christmas day. I will be going on Saturday and maybe Sunday too, we'll see.
Paka paka

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


Yesterday I was finally back to the baby house after the New Year holiday. Earlier in the day Jody and I had helped Kendra and her mom move their belongings back to their apartment after their stay at the hotel. We ate lunch at Kendra's apartment and enjoyed talking, as we tend to do a lot of that. By 3 I was back in the apartment and at 3:35 I was getting dressed for going to the baby house, but then I began to wonder if I really was going. I picked up my cell phone to call Yulia to ensure that I'd be going and my cell phone rang with Yulia calling to make sure I remembered that I was going. Too funny.

We arrived at the baby house to find the front doors locked. We walked around and went in using the court yard door. We never know what door will be open or locked. One night we went to leave and the front door was locked, we had to go out the kitchen door.

Upstairs we went and I get the play room door to see Denis sitting on the couch. He saw me and came running a smile breaking out on his face as he got closer to me. I bent down and he threw himself into my arms and gave me a great big hug. We were at the door of the play room for a few minutes talking to his friends and getting and giving hugs and kisses. Yes, kissing through a face mask is an experience not to be missed.

Eventually we went into the isolation room for our visit. Denis quickly got out his juice and banana. I've started cutting up the banana as Denis was stuffing too much of the banana into his mouth at a time. But excuse me, my son doesn't like to have dirty fingers, and I will give him the fact the banana was really slippery, so I ended up feeding him the banana. He'd discovered that my watch, which clips onto my purse, has a button which when pushed shines a red light. Well we had that red light everywhere. Then I gave him my flashlight. Ah the fun you can have at 2 with a flashlight.

At the end of the visit I pulled out his diapers and clothes for tomorrow and Denis knew that time was up. He tried to hide that he was holding the flashlight, I moved from the isolation room into the hall where the cubbies are and he looks at me while hiding the flash light and says "paka mama' and blows me a kiss. Total monkey eh? The nanny took the flashlight away from him and returned it to me, and Denis let us all know that he wasn't happy.

While Denis cried I took one of his group mates with me to my knapsack. It turns out the first pair of running shoes I bought for Denis the ones around 4 sizes too big, are the perfect size for Artomb. The nurse last week asked if it would be okay if I gave them to Artomb. So I gave him the shoes. He went to put them into Denis' cubby, but Yulia said no they are not Denis' they are yours. Oh what a marvelous grin broke out on his face. He was very happy to put them into his cubby. Denis knows what clothes are his, so I'm hoping he won't cause a problem when he sees the shoes.

Today is already beginning to brighten outside and it is only 9:30. Not sure what we will do today. We are still on the hunt for fruit and vegetables. I think I saw a delivery of potatoes at a store up the road yesterday when I was there buying my essential. I bought 5 bags of potato chips. Hey, nights are long here and I haven't been able to find chips at the stores closer to me. After the baby house Yulia took me to a store that sells notions as I need a button or two to finish the hat I knit for myself on the weekend, unfortunately they were doing inventory, maybe the store will be open today. I'm so getting comfortable here in Uralsk, I will be ever so sorry to leave.

I'm still not sure about my time line for returning home and for returning here. I think I'll be changing my airline tickets for going home for a 3rd time, by the time I get home I'll have paid almost twice the value of the ticket, ah such is life with International adoption. Time for breakfast and then phone calls to determine today's events. It's cold out there -8 C with a 26 km wind, I know it is much colder in the Eastern part of the country, but that is cold when you walk for 30 to 40 minutes. We'll have to start taking the bus.

Paka paka

Monday, January 3, 2011


I've always loved looking at the changes in the photos of the children from beginning of bonding 'till later, so that what I've posted today. The first picture is on the day I met Denis and the second was taken the day the judge said yes. Oh, the green mark on Denis' head is marker stamp of some kind, it lasted quite a few days.

I haven't seen Denis since the 31st because of the holidays. I'll be back to the baby house tomorrow, it will be great to be with him again. I've started thinking about leaving and returning home. I can't believe I've been here for 7 full weeks. I will be so sad to leave, and not just because I will be leaving Denis. I know the sooner I leave the sooner I'll be back to collect him, no the sadness comes in knowing I will be saying goodbye to the wonderful people I've come to know here. Yulia, Nastya and Andre will be hard to say goodbye to. When I return I'll probably only be in Uralsk for a couple of days. If everything goes right the entire trip will take no more than a week. I'm getting into the final stretch, I can't believe that it is coming to a conclusion, one I've dreamed of for years.

Paka paka