"No I didn't give you the gift of life, but life gave me the gift of you!"

Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Sun was out in Aqtobe

Today is Sunday, so we visit only in the mornings on Sunday. Nothing crazy new to report today. I did try my new trendy Kazak hat on Z, and nope, she didn’t really like it. After 2 photos I thought she might cry, as she looked quite concerned, so off the hat came. But man was she cute!

Here are Davy, Evy and little Ilyan getting creative with our play room toys. You do tend to start getting quite creative with the toys the longer you stay here, maybe a positive to the long stay here in Kaz. Who knew that the same 15 toys could really be have about 100 game uses. Here, the little Belgium family, was taking our stacking rings and using them to try to knock down the bear bowling pins. It was a fun game.

After today’s visit, we all went back to the business center for more pizza and local salad, ymmmm yummy. We then went shopping in the Business Center, but didn’t buy anything because things there are so expensive, this area of Aqtobe really caters to the business people, most here for oil or gas. We then walked down to a couple additional kids clothing stores and Simba, a kids toy store, also all very high priced but fun to visit. After shopping, we ventured back to a coffee shop by the business center called, ‘Black and Brown,’ but it was closed. Grrr We had been looking forward to going there for a week now, so we ventured back up to the 3rd floor of the Business Center and ordered coffee and cake there. It was great! I had cappuccino, a chocolate and caramel cake and a shot of Kahlua. Well, Davy had Cognac, so I could have Kahlua, right?

It is also now official, my mom and sister plan to purchase their plane tickets on Monday. The plan is for them to fly out of Minneapolis, MN on Saturday February 9th which brings them into Almaty on the 11th. I am told that I should be able to be in Almaty on the 11th or 12th, so we have decided that the best option is for me to meet them in Almaty. Because of timing with our schedules, and the cost of in-country flights, I decided that it would just make the most sense to meet in Almaty. I will need 3 business days in Almaty to visit the SOS Clinic for Z’s medical check up and HIV test, get her Visa and finalize any additional documents, so if I get into Almaty on the 12th, that will give us the 13th – 15th (Wednesday – Friday) to get things done. We then plan to fly out of Almaty and back to the U.S. on Sunday the 17th. Let’s hope and pray that things go smoothly until then and our schedules will stay as is. I just can’t wait to see them and for them to meet Z! I am so fortunate that I have such a close family! My mom, sister and I had always said that we would go on a trip overseas together, who knew that it would be to Kazakhstan to bring home my daughter! We joked that maybe we would visit a coffee shop in Amsterdam on the way home to order my mom a brownie. Hahaha I have heard that the brownies are pretty ‘special’ in Amsterdam, they are made with a special green leafy plant that makes you feel really relaxed and gives you the munchies. Hmmmmm

INTERESTING KAZ TIDBIT: During a light snow, or just on a nice enough day, you will see many families out in the yards at the apartments cleaning their floor rugs. There are even stands made of pipe made especially for hanging up your rugs to clean them, or you can just hang your carpets on the fence like this family is. The people hang their rugs, toss snow on them, and then beat them with a stick or a special rug cleaning tool that looks like a big spatula type thing, and then they roll them up in the snow and take them back inside. Interesting!

Here are also a couple additional photos of life just outside of the Ymit Baby House, these are buildings and sites that I pass by each day on my way to see Zahri. This is the gate that we enter to drive into the Baby House.

And here is a small convenience store just to the right side of the entrance gate. You see these small convenience centers everywhere, each neighborhood has at least one, many times you will see small little independent buildings such as this one.

Here is an apartment building that is just across the entrance road from the Baby House, a very bumpy one lane dirt road that separates several apartment buildings. This is the road that I take every day to see Z. I hope to soon take a video of my drive down this dirt road in Ceric’s van, it is quite bumpy. You will see that there is also a small convenience store in this apartment building too, this is also very normal.

And here are a couple of the bears that we share the play room carpet with. Memories anyone?


Sandi said...

Sounds like you are definitely keeping busy. Z gets bigger and cuter each day. I think it is great your mom and sister will meet you in Almaty, you guys will surely have some fun. I am sure Z will be so excited to meet grandma and auntie.

Dessert and capuccinos look yummy.

I am sure you are counting down the days, not much longer.


Anonymous said...

Christy, to me it seems like you just got there (you may feel differently ;-)) Wow, you're on the home stretch! Aqtobe looks pretty nice!

Susan said...

I think it's so awesome you can share your play time with the other families and get creative. How fun is that!!

That's awesome your mom and sister are coming to Almaty...fun!

it seems like time is going by fast...don't know if you feel that way.

Love your posts. So interesting. :)

Kelly and Sne said...

Ok - starting to get loopy... this 2 week waiting period ought to be interesting!

I love the shots of the rugs. I remember even having our clothes washed by washboard when we were there... Makes you really appreciate all of our affordable modern appliances!

Jaimie & Gena said...

Sounds like everything is working out like clock work! You will be home before you know it. I have been following along with you since before you left but haven't had much time to stop and comment with my almost 2 yr old Berik swinging on me 24/7 theres not alot of time for much. Soon you will see..lol! Z is sooo CUTE and you both are so lucky to have each other! Congratulations!! Gena Lloyd

Stacy Peters-Walters said...

You're on the home stretch now! I love the pics of Z. What a fun way to have a family vacation! I can't wait to meet little Z after you all get settled in! Stac

Diana & Bob said...

We've been out of town so I just got caught up on your blog.

First from Bob and I.... CONGRATULATIONS on court. That is a frightening hurdle to get over.

I fully understand when you say you've been drawn to adoption. Me too. It's kinda odd, but, since I was a teenager I've been drawn to adopt. Maybe it's because my mother is adopted or maybe it's just met to be.

Thanks for sharing all the cultural stuff and local pictures. We can hardly wait until we travel.

qmiller said...

Christy: A belated Congrats on your court news---how terrific for you and Z! So glad that you've got the support and friendship of the other families in Aqtobe---I'm sure it helps your spare time go more quickly. How fun that your mom and sister will soon join you and Z in Almaty! The countdown begins...


Matthew and Suzanne said...

Every day you are closer to getting home with Z. Keep wondering whether you're being true or loopy when you say pizza.. yummy yummy! I'm sure it feels like Groundhog day. Like with Ann and Thad's blog, I remember they kept going to a restaurant in Astana called Ali Babas!

Tasha said...

When do you get to bring her outside and/or your hotel?

Anonymous said...

I just read your comment on my blog, I think it's party time in Florida this summer with our Kazarina's. What do you think? ;-)

We could take over a resort and have a blast. Let's all think about it.

And yes, Simon counts as an "S".!!

flyingfish347 said...

Hey Christy-

Here's a thought. You can take those pictures of the rug teddy bears and print them up large enough to hang on Zahri's wall at home. Might be comforting for her to have some familiar sights to look at as she transitions. My friend Tina & her hustband Art did that with some artwork on the walls in their daughter's baby house in Kyrgyzstan. I thought it was a brilliant idea. I'll do the same at the Bishkek baby house when I go there (!)

-Suzanne B

Izaak, Elijah & Ty 'Bear'

Izaak, Elijah & Ty 'Bear'
Cousins (Izaak wants to name my daughter (his cousin) Isabella, Sant (for 'Santa') or Hershey (his friend's dog's name.) Hmmmm I told him that if we name her 'Hershey,' that would mean that we get to give her a lot of kisses.

Kolter Matthius Simon

Kolter Matthius Simon
Littlest Cousin......possibly. Kolter may indeed be the same age as his little girl cousin in Kaz. :)