Friday, September 29, 2006

Out and about in Almaty (Thursday)

Today we had the day to ourselves; it was a perfect day, sunny, no wind, warm. I don’t think I have ever seen it rain in Kazakhstan.
Rebecca woke up at 6:00 this morning we had breakfast. She is getting more and more comfortable with me as each day passes and is starting to believe I am here to stay. She has had so many changes in her life over the past couple of months. We came to bond with her and then left. Since we left she was moved to a different room twice and had get to know new caretakers so she has been clinging onto me day and night. This is the first day I can set her down in the stroller and actually brush my teeth and change etc. without her crying.
As long as I am in her sight she is fine now and doesn’t cry so that’s a good sign. Rebecca and I had a talk about what we should do today and it was agreed that we should throw the schedule to the wind and just head out and spend the day walking around Almaty. So we dressed, stopped at the front desk and asked for a map, which they had for us and we headed out. We took a few pictures but not many, we walked for about 4 hours. We found some nice little parks to take a break. Rebecca would have her juice and I would have a Pepsi light. I took the baby blanket and was able to wrap it around her feet and tuck it under her seat strap so no one could see her feet. This allowed us to make better time walking without being stopped by well intended babushkas or potentially being pummeled with debris if I ignored them.
There are many universities and schools in the area we are staying. We walked into the “Kazakhstan school of Design” just out of curiosity. The classrooms were small, maybe 20 chairs behind 4 tables in very close quarters. Our hotel is right next to the school of economics. I find it very frustrating not being able to read the Russian or Kazakh language. Last month I was content just being able to walk into any store and successfully purchase any item with gesturing and pointing. But now I find myself wanting to learn and experience more and I have this language barrier that only allows me to experience Almaty from the outside. I would like to interact more with the people and read the signs and billboards, but I cant. Anyway, we had a nice day. We found this huge park and several people stopped me to ask me where I was from. So much for blending in, I guess not many men walk thru the park pushing a stroller in Kazakhstan, but then again it is not all that common in the US either. We passed a church on our walk, The church of Saint Nicolas, and walked thru. The color of Rebecca’s outfit matched the outside of the church exactly which was bazaar.

We bought some fresh bread towards the end of our walk and stopped at this very busy intersection and we both ate the bread and watched the people walk by. We missed her nap but she never fussed and thoroughly enjoyed being out and about. We just hung out in the room together tonight, we played peek-A-Boo where I left the room briefly and then came back in and Rebecca laughed and enjoyed playing. She eventually tired of the game but I can now go in and out of the bathroom without her getting upset. Going to bed was a different story; I am not sure how I am going to ease her anxiety about sleeping in the crib. She gets so upset when I place her in there. I let her cry for a few minutes, it was such a desperate cry and so intense that I had to take her out. I laid her down in the bed with me, sang her the “Umbrella Song” (which is James favorite) and in less than 30 seconds she was asleep.
Tomorrow we have our interview with the US Embassy for our exit visa at 2:30 pm. That is our last hurdle before we can leave the country, wish us luck.

1. Rebecca in front of the church of Saint Nicholas
2. Local Park.
3. Coca-Cola Delivery truck
4. Myrtle Leaves – (sold around town) If you take these into a steam room or sauna and beat them against your skin it is suppose to be healthy for you.
5. Rebecca opening up a little snack before bedtime.

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