Delays, delays

Well, I *thought* I’d be leaving early Friday morning, to get home the same day, but I was beyond annoyed to learn last night that there had been some delay in my documents so I cannot leave until Saturday morning at the earliest. So for the 2nd time, I have had to change my plane tickets home. At this point, I am getting into Dulles at 3;23 p.m. on Lufthansa 9050, which doubles as a United flight for some reason. I am still arguing with Lufthansa over the change fees; it’s supposed to be $75 but they wanted to stick me with $200.
Veeka’s medical exam yesterday (which was pretty cursory) went well and cost me a whopping $108. Sigh. As Mike, the guy adopting with me keeps on saying, “It’s only money.” I spent the afternoon wandering up and down Gogol Street – their Fifth Avenue – although Almaty has a l-o-n-g way to go before it merits much of a comparison. True, Versace, Prada and Armani have stores there but I don’t think many people visit there. Salaries here are quite low and where the crowds gather are in the cell phone and computer stores. It’s 6 degrees Celsius here (upper 40s?) and Almaty is largely a grey city of concrete block buildings. Even their war memorial in Panifilov Park looks like Soviet lite; huge blocky statues, the dates of both world wars and eternal flame set in black obsidian. I liked the Kazakh musical instruments museum set in a traditional wooden Russian building as well as Zenkov cathedral; a gingerbread-like confection full of onion domes, bright yellow and white paint with green trim. Inside, some ceremony was going on, so I heard some great chants from their professional choir.
Today was full of petty annoyances; the delay in going home, the inability of our translator here to speak English (this is not a joke; her neurosurgeon son does a better job than she does)and just the exhaustion of having a cold myself and keeping up with Veeka, who’s a handful at her best. Last night I went to a French restaurant with the local New York Times correspondent and a young woman who’s trying to get to the USA to do her doctorate in education – quite an interesting evening and I loved indulging in European food. Veeka was so cute, everyone was ooohing and aahing over her. Ilan, the NYT guy, loved holding her – didn’t want to let her go.
Despite my feeling awful, I took Veeka out to lunch to a cafe but the clouds of smoke there nearly overwhelmed me. Central Asians are where Europe was 10 years ago; still smoking up a storm. Then I had people yelling at me because they felt Veeka was underdressed for the weater (Veeka kept on trying to shed her clothes I might add and I could not keep mittens on her). One woman just bellowed at me – she was vicious – so I yelled back at her “Ya ne panaymayoo pa-Russki!” (I do not speak Russian). I wanted to say some other things to her but didn’t know the right nasty words.


4 Responses to Delays, delays

  1. Candy says:

    I have been reading your blog.
    I adopted from Uralsk in 2006.

    Have you have a chance to buy
    some of the local or Russian
    Music. I brought about 6 to 8 CDs

    I was in Uralsk in March and I
    understand about the locals yelling
    at the way the kids are dressed.

    I would assume that you had a change to go to the large open
    market in Almaty. I loved the
    2 ply colorful blankets that they
    sell there. The 2 ply are very
    hard to find.


  2. Catherine says:

    Shedding her clothes, eh? Exactly what’s to be expected of a little person who’s a couple months shy of being 2.

    I feel frustrated for you, too, Julia, but I’m absolutely certain that God has you both in His loving hands. Keeping you both in my prayers.


  3. Allison B. says:

    Happy Valentines Day!
    Enjoy your new sweetheart! I am sorry for the delays and that you’re under the weather. Consider this all a part of your “labor of love” bringing your new daughter home. A year from now you can think back on this day as you are nestled warm at home with your (almost) 3 year old decorating heart cookies! 🙂


  4. Faith says:

    Will this or won’t this post?! I will try.

    I am reading of your travails, Julia, and know it will all be worthwhile when you are home and into a routine. Children LOVE routine (so do Seniors, by the way!). Veeka will respond and will still be a terror sometimes. She’s de-clothing and YOU get yelled at! Welcome to parenthood.

    I am thinking of you and I pray you are on that plane Saturday morning. There will be a huge sigh of relief from MN! Mother and I are so looking forward to seeing you and meeting Veeka in April. God keep you both!