Veeka has already made the social scene here in swinging Kostenai by putting in an appearance last night at not one, but two peoples’ homes where she charmed everyone with her love of music, dancing and stuffed toys. The aforementioned Madina, who has a passle of Kazakh relatives in town, has been so helpful! I called her yesterday (Sunday) to say I was going stir-crazy in the hotel and did she want to do something?
Well, she arrived in a taxi driven by Dimas, a *very* handsome Russian who scooted us to some strange apartment building way north of Kostenai where we hopped out and zipped up a smelly stairwell to a very nice apartment (this country has NO elevators, it seems and so I am always hauling this child up 4-5 flights of steps)where Madina’s sister, Nazee-gul (means “gentle flower” in Kazakh) dished us up salad and meat and cake – well, Veeka snarfed down everything she could get her little mits on. I could not believe how she was packing away huge quantities of rice, corn and whatever candy she could grab off the table. She’s also into dairy products big time – loves cheese and yogurt. Anyway, she also managed to talk Sasha, Nazeel-gul’s Russian husband, out of a green stuffed bunny.
Stuffed bunny in hand, we then got back in the taxi and zoomed to Madina’s place where her 11-year-old son, Jangeldy – who is a national judo champ for his age category – and Madina poured more food, ie gummies into the Little One. Veeka bounced around and talked Jangeldy out of one of his stuffed toys as well – it plays music. You should see how this kid adores any tune at all. Every time I take her to the local supermarket, she starts swaying and smiling to the muzak. The clerks get the biggest kick out of her. So today I went to a used CD place and got some New Age music and some classical. Need to prep her for that harp.
I do however need to teach her some discernment. The trashiest English-language MTV videos get played everywhere here and she loves to watch them all. This morning while eating breakfast in the hotel cafe, we got to watch Pink Floyd’s “I Don’t Want No Education;” – over the top, I thought.
Sunday morning we also went out to visit a small evangelical church south of town. Veeka let it be known she would implode after 2 hours – in fact as the sermon dragged, she got restless. So I took her into the church office where I saw some really interesting evangelistic literature, including a child’s Kazakh Bible. A lot of the evangelical Christian stuff gets printed in Germany, then shipped here. For you historians, remember Stalin exiled a lot of Germans to Kazakhstan way back when. Finally, circa 1989-91, they were permitted to leave the country and go back to Germany, which most of them did. You can still see remnants of Germany culture here – several restaurants; buses with German signs on them but most of the Germans are gone.
Things are going well. Saturday night, we sat down for a mother-daughter movie night, courtesy of a DVD someone loaned me to play on my laptop. So she sat there with her apple juice and me with my hot tea and we watched “Finding Neverland” or “Leaving Neverland” whatever the name of that movie starring Dustin Hoffman was. Tonight, we’ll watch “Princess Bride.”
Oops – she is starting to stir…it is very tough, like I said, to get her in a long enough nap in her stroller to allow me to come here. Today, after going to the local mall to get her some PJs (she wet the only pair we had last night), I brought her here but instead of going to sleep in the nice, warm Internet cafe, she started to screech. So I finally took her for a walk in the 35-degree weather and she dozed off. Go figure.
For those of you having difficulties posting comments, I am sorry – blogger.com is being ornery with me as well. Am trying to solve these difficulties.
Am enclosing 2 photos – one of our interpreter Valentin admiring a belly dancer we saw at a restaurant a week ago. The other is of Yulia – the cute 3-year-old who was dumped at the orphanage was well. Yulia has spina bifida so she cannot walk – her legs are folded under her so barring a miracle, she is confined to a wheelchair for life. But she’s the sweetest thing – very smart and talkative – and she’s shut in with the mentally ill kids cuz she’s been assigned to the disabled wing. But from the waist up, she’s great! I’ve included a photo of her so that if any of you know someone with a heart for adopting a disabled orphan, let me know and I will send you more details. The orphanage director said she’d be happy to put Yulia’s name on the registery…she had given up hope of finding anyone who’d take her.
Veeka is stirring…Auf Wiedersehn!