January 12 2004

Today was just your typical hurry up and wait day. We started off with a fine bath for Katherine, she used all the hot water in Almaty. It would appear that on weekdays, the hot water cuts out around 9am.  Will keep this in mind tomorrow morning. At least neither of us were in the shower when the hot water was cut off.  That would rot!

Anthony is a piece of work when it comes to eating. When he decides he is hungry, he lets the entire apartment building know about it. WA, WA, WA, somebody get me some food before I die. It is kind of funny and kind of frustrating at the same time. Patience my dear boy!

The doctor visit. We had to leave a little early to pick up some paperwork from the lawyer's office. We bundled everybody up and hit the road at about 10:30. Bundling is much easier now that Anthony is sporting a new coat. It it totally not warm enough for a winter coat, but it's not freezing here and even if it was he's not out much and we could wrap him in blankets.  No More Snow Suit!!  When we stopped at the lawyer office, instead of picking up paperwork, we picked up Dilnoza. Not sure why. At any rate, the Clinic is called the "SOS International". Never heard of them until now. Our scheduled appointment was at 11 and it seemed to take forever to get in to see the doctor. There was an old Russian lady and her daughter in the waiting room when we got there. Of course it felt as if the old lady was giving us the evil eye.  To make things worse, Anthony had to go and be a toddler and fall down and bump his head.  Wah! Wah!  I think she may have thrown an evil curse on us.  It seems all the women under 30 wear really tight clothes here. Some of the older ones wear some pretty racy outfits too.  The shoe of choice seems to be the spiked heel with the severely pointed toe.  We haven't gotten used to the female dress code. It is much more pronounced here in Almaty.  Well, as we were waiting, in walks 6foot, 180lb middle aged hot mama in a tight black mini dress with the big wide zipper up the front.  WOW! Remeber those old movies about the Amazon women?  Nuf said. 

We did see Ralph, whom we met him back at the orphanage in Karaganda. He left for 2 weeks and came back Saturday night to finish the process. We said Hi and he let us know that Mindy Piper was also on his flight back.  She was the Mom from the family that was visiting almost the whole time we were. Looks like we will know three or four families on the flight to Frankfurt. 

We finally got called into the nurses office for the height and weight check. She checked Anthony first.  Anthony has gained 4 pounds. He is now 19.35lbs and 29 inches. The nurse cooed and oohed over Anthony. She tickled him and talked to him and get this, called him by his birth name. Ann missed that one, but I heard her. She moved onto Katherine. Katherine is 24.2lbs and 32.7inches. The nurse also chatted at Katherine in Russian. This time it was very clear that she kept calling her Anara (that's short for Anagarul, her given birth name.) How's that for confusing a child that's already had enough change in her life. For whatever it's worth, she didn't respond.

On to the doctor check up. We had just sat down with the doctor. He is an American Family doctor who practiced in Seattle for 20years.  He said he got sick of the insurance debacle in the states and was ready to quit medicine altogether. He heard about S.O.S. and got hired. His first assignment was China and he's been in Almaty for about 1.5years. We got that much info out of him and he asked if to the best of our knowledge Anthony was healthy.  We said Yes and then like out of some B rate movie, the receptionist bursts into the examining room and says "Doctor, you must leave at once. There is an emergency at the British Embassy". To his credit, the doctor kept his wits about him and said he needed more information.  The caller had already hung up, so the doctor calls him back from his cell phone. He was in and out of the room at this point.  He comes back in and we hear him say, 'You can't just call and say send an ambulance and a doctor immediately.  I need more information than that."  While he's talking, he pops up his computer and prints a document.  Turns out he prints a list of Places to Go for us.  Very nice gesture. Had we had a chance to talk to him, I would have suggested he move Mad Murphy's off the top of the list of restaurants.  As for the sight seeing list, if we'd had it earlier, maybe we would have used it, but tomorrow is our last day and I don't know that we're up for sight seeing.  A Kazak doctor took the American doctors place. She was professional. The examinations were brief at best.  She looked in Katherine's ear's and throat and felt all of her nodes and pushed her belly button (that was really part of the exam). When she looked down her throat she had the tongue depressor and flashlight.  You figure it'll be a normal exam.  'Say Ahh', right?  Wrong.  She kind of wormed the depressor into Katherine's mouth.  Katherine got the idea and let her get it in there.  Then, all of a sudden the doctor took her chance and shoved that tongue depressor to the back of her throat.  Katherine gagged.  I wonder how many kids have spontaneously vomited on this doctor.  Not enough I think. The prognosis, "She is healthy and needs 'these' vaccines when she gets to the US".  Anthony got the same basic exam, except that being a boy he got to remove his diaper and get two extra squeezes. 

We were going to go out for lunch but when we were leaving the clinic, Katherine and Anthony both became very cranky. They were tired and hungry. We decided to skip the outing and head back to the apartment for a quick lunch and naps. When they are tired, just like hungry, they let everybody know about it. Ann broke out the snacks in the van and that calmed them until we got back here. Katherine had more spaghetti. Ann got a couple pictures of her red sauced face. She really liked it, again. Anthony had the normal baby food, YUCK! He is going to be in food heaven when we get home. He only ate about half of what we made for him, he was TIRED.

Ann tried to head out and get some more water, milk, toilet paper and baby wipes. She came home 1.5 hours later with party streamer, water and 6 paper napkins. It was not a successful trip for her. She said that she could not find a market. We will pick up the last minute stuff we need tomorrow while we are with Sasha.

This is Ann -

I was not in the best of spirits when I left for my trek to the market.  It was tough at the doctors and the kids were cranky and Bill's not been feeling good and I talked to Ryan this morning and it made me miss him more than ever.  I am so ready to go home I'm starting to tear up as I write this.  Each time I've gone shopping here in Almaty, Sasha drives me to this big supermarket.  In Karaganda, there seems to be small markets everywhere. Here, the small markets are REALLY small. The supermarket is too far to walk to and I don't know where it is anyway.  I had seen a store that actually said Mini Market about two blocks from us, so I thought I'd try that one.  When I walked in, the smell was overwhelming. It was either bad fish or the lady behind the counter.  Either way, I could not purchase anything from there.  I promptly turned and left.  Now, I'm in my own head, walking the streets of Almaty looking for a market.  I really didn't see any.  I may have passed dozens, but couldn't tell from the outside, who knows? I did walk far enough that I found a three story children's store. I walked in and just perused the place. One good thing about not speaking the language is that the sales people can't harass you.  I wondered each floor and did not find even one toy I wanted to buy.  Not that there weren't fine toys, I'm just not packing them or lugging them on the plane with me. It was good to just browse. I headed back toward the apartment after the toy store.  I had already walked pretty far.  When I got back down by the Tsum (which is right around the corner from our apartment) I walked down the courtyard.  It has a bunch of shops and I thought I might find a market there. No dice. There are two very tiny markets across from our apartment, so my 1.5 walk was really for exercise.  I bought water, toilet paper and travel tissues that are more like napkins than tissues.  Usually the walk would have done me good, but my state of mind kept dwindling. By the time I crossed the threshold of the apartment I started crying and my meltdown began.  It took the whole five weeks.  Maybe I know I'm going home and have let my defenses down. I'm homesick and that's that. Everyone's entitled to a few meltdowns during this trip. 

After the kids got up from their nap, and it was almost dinner time, I packed up Katherine and walked over to McBurger to get her a Cheeseburger Menu.  I got a couple extra orders of fries.  Anthony had babyfood for dinner.  Bill and I had cup of noodle soup. McBurger wasn't as crowded tonight and the ordering was very easy. I feel like an expert at the McBurger now. On my way over to McBurger a little old Russian lady came walking up behind me and Katherine. Katherine has short legs and so we walk slow, otherwise a little old Russian lady would not be able to overtake us.  She came up and started chatting up a storm to us. I thought she'd say her piece, fix Katherine's hat like everyone else did and move on. She didn't touch her hat and kept talking so finally I told her I didn't understand Russian. She just kept talking. I got two words out of the whole thing.  'Very Good'.  Very good what, I don't know. It would be very good to put her hat on right?, She walks with you very good?  I don't know.  She was one of the friendliest people I've run into so far.  A real grandma type.  On the way home from McBurger, I stopped in the other small market by our apartment. I bought 3 ice cream bars.  2 for me and 1 for Bill if he insisted he had to have one. They were Nestle Maxibons.  They were delicious.

Katherine has to be first. First to enter a room.  First to leave a room.  She has to get to the thing she wants with no interference.  This means that sometimes, she will push Anthony out of the way.  She did it tonight and of course we told her No. We told her she had to say sorry to Anthony, 'Go give him a kiss and say you're sorry'. I think she would have rather had bamboo shoots under her finger nails.  OK - not really that bad.  She was crying about it and when given the choice of going and crying in the bedroom or giving Anthony a kiss she opted for the kiss.  Once she did it and it was over so quickly she seemed surprised.  Like, "Wow, should have done that sooner."  Maybe next time will be better. 

Anthony tried his head banging, attention getter a few times today. We just keep stopping the banging.  One hand on the head takes care of that.  And telling him No.  His reaction depends on how tired or hungry he is.

All in All, we're OK. We're really starting our trip home tomorrow.  Technically it's not until Wednesday, but they are picking us up at 1:30 in the morning. To me that is just like tomorrow.  It will be a long trip home, but I can't imagine a better way to spend Wednesday January 14th, 2004 than in 3 airports and on two airplanes.

We'll update tomorrow.

Good Night. 

© Bill Delmedico 2013