Wednesday, January 31, 2007

A Bittersweet Day

Today was a bittersweet day. It was our last official day in Uralsk.

Emily still hasn't been feeling so well. Well, I should rephrase that... she's "feeling" much better but we're still having diaper explosions. There's a night and day difference from Monday when we brought her home from the babyhouse. She has more energy and she's a lot more smiley and alert when she's up. I gave her several more meals of baby wheat cereal today as well as a packet of the drink mix from the doctors and I attempted some of the baby yogurt at my late night feeding since she acts like she's starting to feel better.

Tom went to the Atrium this morning and took one of our family pictures with a thank you/farewell note on the back of it to the folks at MacJohn's. We've enjoyed their smiles and friendly service and the closest thing to American food that we could find here. They wished us well and said they would miss us.

After he got back to the apartment, I broke away and took a beautiful walk in the big fluffy snow to the Chagala Hotel a couple of blocks away to check on internet and post a very brief summary of our blog since I haven't been able to get that computer to read my USB thumb drive. It was the first nice walk I've taken outside of the apartment when we weren't in a hurry to get somewhere and it was such a nice change of pace. The snow was beautiful and I took several pictures along the way. On a daily basis, we see people at the local water spigots filling up their buckets and containers with water. On days like today they use sleds to transport the water back to the their homes since many have no running water. On warmer days, they use wagons and dollies and sometimes just carry the jugs.

When I got back to the apartment, I tag-teamed Tom and he left with Phillipich to meet Aliya on the way to the Big Market. We wanted to pick up a bunch of the KZ car stickers they have here before we left and Aliya helped us find them.

Aliya told Tom that she would be over to the apartment sometime after 5pm and Olga would stop by as well and drop off our tickets. It was so good to see Aliya for the evening without other plans. We just hung out at the apartment and she got to enjoy some more Emily/Nadya time before we had to leave. She stayed until around 8:30 or 9. We laughed so hard and we shared fun stories. We gave Aliya several of our books that we didn't want to haul back home with us. She really big into reading the classics and I brought some cheap ones with me to read in the down (which I didn't have much of). She got "Uncle Tom's Cabin", "The Jungle", "Walden", and something else that I can't remember. Tom also gave her "A Day with a Perfect Stranger" and "How to be a Christian Without Being Religious". I also had a "Nifty Knitter" kit that I gave her that is similar to a loom you might use to make hats, scarves, etc... She knits and seems to be pretty crafty. I was trying to tell her that if she didn't want it she could give it to Zhas Daurens (the older children's orphanage) or a friend or whoever and she insisted that she wanted it and wouldn't be giving it to anyone! ;-) That's my Aliya!

While Aliya was at our apartment it was time for Emily's feeding and I offered to let Aliya feed her and she jumped at the chance. In all the time she's been working with WPA families, she's never fed one of the babies... she loved it! She was very nervous of the gas bubbles that Emily kept sharing with us... but it gave us all the more reason to laugh. After a while, Olga stopped by with her 2 1/2 year old son to give us our tickets and a parting gift. She little boy is 2 1/2 going on 30. What a sweetie! He took his glove off the minute he walked in the door, stretched out his hand and said "Sdrasvoitcha" (hello) and stood very patiently and quietly while we talked for 10-15 minutes in the doorway. Then, when it was time to leave he put his hand out again to say "Das v'danya" and he actually said he wished us a safe and happy trip home. Wow... what a kid! Our 2 1/2 year old back home are ready to do their own thing in about 30 seconds and certainly wouldn't great adults that way or wish us safe and happy travels. We gave Olga our spare court album which we had weeded out and put a half dozen pictures of our family in and told her she could use the rest for the pictures of the families that I have received via email. We also gave both she and her son a laminated version of a world map with the U.S. on the back. (Aliya got one too!)

It was so hard to say goodbye to Aliya... even though we knew we would be seeing her at the airport in the morning. Gee, have I said yet how much we adore Aliya?

Later that evening, I knocked on the neighbors' door and asked if they would like to come grocery shopping in our apartment for any of our leftover foods. We loaded them up with a couple of bags of groceries. Vlad (their 6-year old) was thrilled to come over and peak at Emily while she was sleeping. He is so cute and his excitement is contagious. We chatted with them for a while in the kitchen and then said our good-byes as we were leaving before they would be out and about in the morning.

By 9:30pm we were ready to START packing for the trip to Almaty in the morning.
;-) I haven't changed. LOL. Tom was a huge help and with Emily already in bed it made it very easy. We were done by 12 or 12:30 so we still got a decent night's sleep.


Amy Kramp said...

Do you think I could knock on my neighbor's door and ask if I could go grocery shopping in Their house? =)

marla said...

Amy you're hilarious!

Thank you for sharing with us your last bit of time in Uralsk. I can see you why adore Aliya... she seems so sweet.

Tom and Jenni said...

No, silly... you have to knock on their door and ask if they want to shop at YOUR house... not the other way around!

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