This holiday season has been making me very sentimental about my Christmas and New Year last year in Kazakhstan. In many ways I feel like I didn't have much of a Christmas or New Year because I was so away from home, friends and family, and I didn't get to enjoy the lead up to the holidays. And of course, the celebrations there were different.
Here are some photos of my time in Kazakhstan from a sentimental me. I had a good time overall in Kazakhstan, but would have had a great time if I hadn't had the underlining feeling of fear that something would go wrong and Denis wouldn't be my son.
This is the view on a snowy morning from my apartment kitchen window.
And here is the same view in November, just after I arrived in Kaz.
And looking out the same window watching some work. Really, how many men does it take to dig a trench at minus 26 degree C.
Here is said kitchen window. It was the window from which I could see the town center and watch the fireworks on Independence Day and on the day of the tree lighting.
This is the kitchen in the apartment. It was a very quiet and clean apartment with a very bright kitchen.
I took this picture while standing on the balcony of the apartment. That's the main road of Uralsk and the nightclub CumCum pronounced SimSim was directly below me.
And the view the other direction, toward the Orthodox church.
And this was the living room. The couch was my bed while I was in Uralsk. The chair too would pull out to be a bed.
The stair case in my apartment building. I was on the sixth floor and I walked up and down the stairs unless I was with people or had my suitcase. I did not like the elevator.
This is the door of said scary elevator. It was small and you had to use a card to go up or down. It was good for my health going up and down with all the water jugs and shopping.
The door at the end of the hall was in the hall and my apartment door and another door were behind these doors. I got told off by my neighbour for not pulling these doors shut properly when I had gone out one day in my first week in Kaz,
And this is the hallway leading to the outside door. There was a homeless man who would often be found on the stairs ahead leaning against the radiator on the right hand side as you go down.
Baby House 1, where Denis moved to the second week I was in Kaz. It was the one close to the Ram store mall. I also learned that it was around the corner from the Catholic church that I had hoped to visit while I was in Kaz, but didn't know where it was until I returned to collect Denis.The playground on the ground of Baby House 1, donated by families from the US who had adopted prior to 2006, or so said the plaque on the side of the climber.This is unit 7, Denis' group and this is their dining room. Denis is in black sitting on his care giver's knee. I took this picture during the final days I was there prior to leaving to return home for the month.
Denis' bed in the sleeping room.
Group 7's playroom. The large windows were Denis' spot where he would stand looking out waiting for me to come each day. These are the toy shelves in the room. Not a lot of toys for up to 12 children. As to that, I know Denis has more toys than that in the house. Wow!
I think this was Denis' favourite toy in the room. I would often see him playing in this 'bus' with one of the other children, they loved to look out the window at each other while sitting on the benches.
The other rooms in the unit were a classroom, the isolation room (both rooms where I would go to visit with Denis. And beyond the sleeping room there was a large room used to store toys such as the bicycles, it is the room connected to the outside door and stairs.
And here is the music room and the goodbye to the fir tree party. All the children were dressed in the finest clothes and immaculately groomed. The children are each putting an ornament onto a little Christmas tree, or as they called it the fir tree.
And finally a picture of me at the memorial flame. I went there 4 times during the time I was in Uralsk and no matter the weather I was never the only one there.
And finally, Uralsk airport. This was February 14th, the day I returned to collect Denis. Jody's mother and I were flying in together. They'd had a huge snow storm the day before and our flight was delayed by about 4 or 6 hours. I can't remember, I was just so glad to be back and getting my little boy.
Wow, I do love looking at these pictures. Doing this has been a nice way to spend the final day of 2011. And now I'm looking forward to all the marvelous things that 2012 will bring.
Happy New Year!