Thursday, February 17, 2011

Spring time in Almaty

I don't know if it is the weather is typical of February in Almaty, but today is a beautiful day again. It is 9 C this afternoon. Just beautiful.

This morning after breakfast, Denis and I walked up to the Tsum store. Okay, I walked, he rode in the stroller which he absolutely loves, I'm not so happy with it as it veers to the left, but for 15 dollars and folds small enough to come in my suitcase, I'm happy enough with it.

We checked out the pedestrian mall and the third floor of Tsum and bought stuff and I need to get more cash, darn the stuff just disappears - the money that is.

Around 11:30 we started back to the hotel, and you what I discovered? There are two Ramstores right near each other, and one is not near my hotel. LOL. There is a subway (true sense of the word, not the Toronto meaning) under the major insection, while I was underground I thought I'd gone under the east west street instead I'd gone under the north south street and started walking east instead of continuing south. Luckily I had my map and after crossing the same street 5 times I found my way back to the hotel. But along the way I found that other Ramstore, who knew, certainly not I.

Denis is having his nap, and after nap we will go out for a walk again. Thanks for all the suggestions of places to go. Must admit I'm lacking the energy and frankly the guts to try anything far or complex. Truly walking to the Tsum store was fun and challenging on its own, and Denis is just loving everything.

Okay, you know how 2 year olds just HAVE to have certain things, well Denis just has to have the luggage label. It is a Canadian flag luggage label. It was the first thing he saw when he arrived in the hotel room on Monday back in Uralsk. I took it off the suitcase as he was dragging the case around by the label whimpering, and now the luggage label goes everywhere. And of course it is too big to keep around his wrist, but Lord help me if I attempt to shorten the loop, that is NOT what he wants. So, of course the luggage label is prone to falling off while we are walking. Now I do have a second label (which he has asked for a couple of times, but it is on the suitcase - for now). By the other Ramstore as we crossed the wrong street for the 3 time on our way the correct way I realized we didn't have the label, so back across the wrong street for the 4th time and back through the Ramstore and we found the label, and then back outside to cross the street for a 5th time. Yup, I'm a mom!

The pictures are of Denis showing off his luggage label. As I teased while in Uralsk, Denis is a little bit of baggage I picked up this trip. LOL And the last is just Denis hamming it up for the camera, I have to use the camera with the front screen so he can see himself when I'm taking pictures, and he loves to make faces during pictures, just like his Uncle John!

Bye for now,

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Goodbye Uralsk Hello Almaty

  1. The Uralsk airport
  2. Denis and I on the plane
  3. Uh, is this a sign of the future, replace the toy cell phone with the real one and change the water bottle for a coffee - business man in the making?!
  4. Ah, to sleep - wished I could afford Business class the whole way home.
Denis is a flying pro. I didn't need to give him any kind of medication, he didn't flinch at take off or at landing. He totally enjoyed the flight and the only fuss he made was when I made him take a nap, this flying stuff was so much fun. The best part was the putting on and off of the seat belt, luckily he hasn't mastered undoing the seat belt - that was my job, but he would put it together repeatedly.

We arrived just a little late of our planned arrival time to a 35 degree C temperature difference. It was -31 C in Uralsk in the morning, and 4 C in Almaty. WOW. I hope the weather holds for the next two days so Denis and I can explore the city.

I was met by a very nice driver that Nastya arranged for me. He drove us to the hotel, I'm staying at the Astra which is a lovely hotel near the train station and more importantly the Ramstore - oh the goods of shopping it was huge and I didn't need much, but it was so nice to see so much STUFF.

After dropping off our luggage at the hotel the driver drove us to the Hyatt Regency hotel as the Lufthansa has an office there. The hotel was lovely and Denis saw a water fountain - so many new things to see and explore it is so wonderful. At the Lufthansa office the lady booked Denis a return ticket as the one way was 3 times as expensive. She was so nice and kind to Denis, she said she couldn't understand someone not wanting such a sweet little boy. I have to agree, but I'm glad as that allowed me to become his mother.

So, now we are in our luxury hotel suite (and only 22 000 tenge a night - or for those not into the exchange around $150 a night) As I'm leaving at 1 a m on Saturday morning I will only have to pay 1/2 a nights room rental - not bad eh?

Tomorrow Denis and I will go exploring. He loves the stroller and happily goes into it when we put on our coats. I am so looking forward to a world without stairs to carry the stroller up and down. I have a map of Almaty from the lobby of the hotel so I'm ready.

Bye for now,

Monday, February 14, 2011

I have my son

This will be a short post as I'm totally exhausted.

I left Toronto on Saturday evening on the 6:40 flight to Frankfurt. 8 hours later I was in Frankfurt. 4 hours after that I was on the 6 hour flight from Frankfurt to Almaty. 10 1/2 hours later, way up from the 6 hours stop over I was suppose to have, I was on my 3 1/2 hour way to Uralsk. Needless to say we were wiped when we arrived.

We arrived at just after 12:30 in the afternoon, by the time we collected the luggage and got on our way to Uralsk it was after 1:30. Jody's mom was my traveling companion. It was lovely have someone along on the enormous journey.

I had from 1:30 to just around 3 to shower and organize the gifts for everyone. At 3 Yulia and Andre took me out to purchase Denis' airline ticket to Almaty for Wednesday. And then the event that I think I've waited for my entire life, we returned to the baby house to get Denis.

There have been many changes during the month I was away, including another child leaving and many children coming into the room. Denis came flying to me as soon as he saw me. I gave the gifts to the caregivers and the doctor, to the director and to the caregiver for the children. I got Denis dressed into his Valentine's special red clothes. I signed the register in the director's office and then we were away.

There were tears though. Tears from me as I walked him down the stairs for the final time, and watched him give the caregiver so many kisses at her request. I'm glad it was my favourite caregiver working today. Then tears from Denis as we stood in the director's office and later in the car as we prepared to drive away. His life has changed forever! I think he cried because he was scared.

Yulia and Andre took me to a local grocery store where I bought some things to get me through the next few days. Then back to the hotel. While I'd been away the staff had set up a crib for Denis. A few minutes later there was a knock on the door, it was the young man I'd asked to set up the bed, he was returning my laundry. I'd put the pants and shirt I'd worn through the journey into a laundry bag and meant to drop it off at the desk tomorrow on my way into breakfast. I certainly didn't expect them back this evening.

 I don't think Dniis will use the cot, he's on the bed right now, but at least it stressed for him that he was to sleep here. Barb, thanks for the soft picture book, I gave that to him to take to bed. He has a bit of a cold and it was a stressful evening, so it didn't take him long to fall asleep, and I don' t think it will take me long to get to sleep tonight either. I've put the pillows and the mattress from the cot on the floor under his side of the bed, just in case.

Tomorrow is the first day of the rest of our lives. I couldn't be happier.

And I hope this post makes sense as I'm exhausted.
Good night!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

What a Wicked Weekend

Here I am, just 5 days from returning to Kazakhstan to collect Denis, and I have a wicked case of stomach flu. I'm happy, for want for a better word, that if I had to be sick it was this weekend and not next, next weekend would have been disastrous. But I have so much to do before I leave and getting sick wasn't in the plans.

I will have to take some days off this week to recover from this flu as I need to be tiptop before leaving on Saturday. Wished I had the energy to do what needs to be done. I think I'll be working on stuff between naps.

I think I let myself get run down by trying to do to much since coming home. I wanted to cram everything into my short 4 weeks home. It isn't in my personality to take things easy, but for the next 5 days it will be my new creed, need to let stuff go and focus on the important things.

First on the agenda is finishing the sweater I've knitted for Denis. I knitted to get through the waiting, so a knitted sweater that fits for my son is of a top priority. The other two sweaters I knit for my imaginary child are too small. I can't express how much fun and satisfying it has been knitting for my real son. I think I had a smile on my face through each and every stitch.