Back in Almaty


The four-hour flight on a rickety plane with bouncy Veeka was not a joy, let me tell you, but fortunately a Kazakh boy took it on himself to help entertain her, so she stopped howling and played with him.
I’ve been in Almaty a day now – am staying at a hotel called Kaz Zhol – it’s very nice – much cheaper than the Hyatt – and we’re close to downtown. I spent this morning getting the Little One’s passport photo, then went shopping at ZHUM – the big store – have enough Kazakh Christmas ornaments and yurt jewel boxes to serve as gifts for the next few years! As usual, Veeka charmed everyone and enticed one of the saleswomen to give up a bottle of apple juice for her. Veeka loves juice – any juice. Meanwhile in the hotel room, I race about, trying to keep this little girl from poking her fingers into electrical sockets. What IS it about kids they like doing this???
To our surprise, Almaty was 20 degrees warmer with no snow – quite a different city from what I saw 6 weeks ago. We ate lunch in an open air market with women dressed in Russian costumes serving up Slavic deserts and a barbecue stand that combined carrots, lamb, mayonaisse, onions and a bunch of other stuff for the yummiest tortilla sandwich you ever had.
Last night, we went to the craziest restaurant – PCB or something like that – that was done up as take-off on the old KGB days. There was a hammer and sickle etched into the ceiling, secret taping machines, photos of Brezhnev, Khrushev (spelled that wrong, I know) and Che Gueverra – lots of Party photos showing bronzed men and muscular women fighting for the Fatherland – they even give you commemorative Party postcards when you leave.
Today we took passport photos; tomorrow hopefully we will do Veeka’s medicals. Unfortunately everything depends on when the coordinator arrives from Astana with all the adoption stuff OK’d by their state apparatus. So we wait and wait…

5 thoughts on “Back in Almaty

  1. Allison B.

    Hi Julia!

    How exciting that you are so close to being “done!” Probably seems to drag the slowest now, too! I am so excited for the next leg of your adventure- parenthood! I cannot even tell you the experiences that await you… but you will certainly see the world through new eyes, like how fascinating an outlet it and how those little holes just BEG to have something stuck in them! “Hmmm, I wonder if this fits? Nope. Maybe my finger? No. Oooh, how about this key??”

    I emailed some friends who just adopted Russian siblings in November. Here is her advice,
    “Hi
    I brought some small toys like cars and a doll and books that you color using water. Lydia was very entertained by coloring with water. I also brought some light up toys and glow sticks and I brought things out a little at a time. I gave them both Benadryl. Peter (3 yrs) was sound asleep in no time and slept most of the trip. It had the opposite effect on Lydia (4 yrs). Dramamine might be a better option. I brought my medicine from home. We stopped in a drug store in Russia but I would have had no way of knowing for sure what the medicine there was.
    It’s a long flight–I hope it goes well for them”

    If you are brave enough to attempt communication with a pharmacist, it might be worth looking into the meds. You could try one before naptime one day and see how Vikka reacted… it might even buy you some internet time!

    Our prayers will be with you for a safe and speedy return home. I wonder what Vikka will be thinking of all these new experiences, the airport, the plane, new faces and sounds, colorful surroundings… wow! Store all these moments in your head (and journal?). She will love hearing about them many many times when she is older.

    Blessings & Peace,
    Allison

  2. Rob

    Julia… hi! Yes… it must be nice to see the light at the end of the tunnel although I agree with Allison… it must drag on a bit for you at this point.

    Speaking of dragging on… I can’t imagine making that flight with a 2-year old! I hope you have some benadryl and my prayers you always have.

    Love,
    Rob

  3. Rob

    Julia… hi! Yes… it must be nice to see the light at the end of the tunnel although I agree with Allison… it must drag on a bit for you at this point.

    Speaking of dragging on… I can’t imagine making that flight with a 2-year old! I hope you have some benadryl and my prayers you always have.

    Love,
    Rob

  4. Catherine

    It will be good for you both to get home. Plenty of more adventures ahead.

    I hope you already toddler-proofed your place and have plenty of outlet plugs in place!

    The gentle art of distraction is a good art to develop!

    Bless you, Julia. I’m keeping you both in my prayers.

  5. Gail

    Julia, you are never far from my thoughts. May God grant you a speedy return to the USA. I am imagining you and Veeka in your home and resting quietly. I think you’ll be calling me soon. Love, Gail

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