Monday, November 21, 2005

Hurry up put your arms around me and give me a kiss

Help! My sister is smothering me with love!!!

Mama's loving touch

You can only fall asleep on the shoulder of one you trust.

Styling with Mama's hat

Or should I say mama's former hat?
It looks like we need to get a pocketbook to go with that hat.

What to eat in Kazakhstan?

It is hard to describe the food. Let me say we have not found anything we totally dislike. And only one place had exotic meat. It was good it taskes like a gamey roast beef. Chris ate it as an appetizer and as part of his main meal. He liked it. Yes it was horse meat. They breed them for food. What can we say when in Kazakh do as the Kazakhs do. Barbara could only take a nibble. She didn’t want to eat Mr. Ed for lunch. We have not ventured out much for dinner. Our coordinators fear for our safety. They don’t want us out after dark. Our Translator Raushan, lives in town and walks around after dark with no problem. But she is worried that the two of us could not be able to handle the ‘big city’. We feel completely safe. Heck we are world travelers. We have gotten caught many times. She has called to check up on us. She even called the hotel restaurant because we didn’t answer our hotel phone. Then once we went to the internet café after dark and who walks in but Raushan. Busted again! Well back to our food. We have only eaten dinner in the hotel restaurant. Usually beef goulash or chicken leg/thigh with a tomato and cheese melted over it. Or chopped steak. We could really go for a big juicy steak or even spaghetti and meatballs, but we have not seen it available yet. For lunch we have been having a lot of pizza. It is good. We usually have chopped meat and veggies on the medium pizza for two. Sometimes we just point to the picture on the wall and see what we get. All the salads we have had have been great. Lettuce, cabbage, ham, and wonderful tomatoes. The mayonnaise is a little sweet and very good. They also have this great vinaigrette dressing that Barbara is dying to figure out so she can make it at home. When we went out for breakfast we had thick ham, like a thick pork roll and Barbara has had rice porridge. We can’t read the menu and that is all we remembered from our menu review with Raushan. So now we have yogurt. We’ll go back the ham once or twice more. With the breakfast they also have this kafeil(?) an unsweetened yogurt type of dairy product. The kids eat this too. We didn’t like it until we put it over jam on bread. They don’t have much milk just cream and this kafeil. I would not say we have lost weight. The portions are perfect; not too much and we have not been starving. They do not serve big meals in Kazakhstan. Chris wrote this I am sure Barbara would have been more elegant when it came describing her passion…cooking.

Life on the road.

Our daily routing has varied little since we arrived in Semey. What has changed is our sleep time. The first few days we woke up early (4:00 or 5:00) wide awake. Mostly time adjusting but the first few days after we met Michael and Grace we worried about their future if they liked us, what medical problems do that have that we have not been told about…All normal parenting stuff (I think). Lately we have been getting a solid 7-8 hours.
Chris wakes up at 7 and pre-writes emails or blogs or downloads pictures and video. Barbara gets up at 8:15. In the beginning of the week we ate in the hotel restaurant. We ate dinner there too, so that got old very quickly. We now eat yogurt and juice and tea in our spacious 2 room hotel room. At 9:55 we are picked up by Almas our driver. We go 4 blocks north and 4 blocks west to get to the orphanage. We put out stuff in our room and at the same time pick up the kids. We alternate who goes to get who. One of us will go to Michael’s group room (named sparrow in Kazakh) Michael will have just finished his early snack and the caretakers are usually feeding other children. They get Michael and change him into his Sunday-going-to-meeting clothes(the same one every day). We he sees us he has a great big smile. And he runs to us. Grace on the other hand is always ready. She is in her bright shinny dress. She always greats us with a big hug. Then see runs down the hall to help get Michael. They have bonded well so far. Grace hugs Michael and we all go into the family room. Where we play and take pictures. Every day we learn something new about both of them. At 11:3o we clean the room and bring Michael back to his room. Grace then runs down the hall turns the corner and hide in the corner leading to her room. We finally get there and hug her and kiss her. Say “Ya tee bya lu blu” (I love You). She is quickly changed into her everyday clothes and she joins her group at the lunch table. The rest of our day is shopping and the internet café until 4:00 when we have tea. At 5:00 Chris usually goes back to the internet café. Barbara writes hers letters to the kids for their life book. We meet up again at 7:00 for dinner. We watch DVD movies on the computer at 8:30 with our glass of wine and Pringles chips. We are in bed with a book by midnight. If we did not have these movies we would have been stir crazy by now. The only other English is the BBC world wide and they repeat their stories every half hour. This is day 9 and everyday is beginning to look like the previous day. Hmm... might be a good theme for a movie...


Before we go any further Barbara wants me to admit that I really don’t know how the Holy Spirit works (see earlier message). It is true. I don’t know. I hope we all feel better now. I do know that all prayers are answered and we often do not see the answer when we get it. This blog wasn’t supposed to be a spiritual dissertation but life is all about faith so we can’t help mentioning it.