Sunday, January 28, 2007

Expensive Lesson Learned (DSL)

During our visits today, Emily was very content to just be held in our arms and watch things in the room move around. Her favorite toys seem to be anything shiny or swinging or moving. She loves to watch her plastic links being twirled in the air and when we swing them like a pendulum. She LOVES to chew on these too and just hold onto them. These will definitely be coming on the flight home with us.

Emily also likes to hold on to her spit rags... I think she's going to be a blanket baby. She likes to hold onto them while she sucks her thumb, especially when she's tired.

I think she's been dealing with a cold this week. She sounds a bit congested in her breathing during her visits. We've been told by the babyhouse doctor that she contracted pneumonia while in the womb from her mother and she received full treatment for it when she was born. They also said she was more susceptible to respiratory infections because of that. The babyhouse doctor told our coordinator recently that she would be happy if Nadia was able to go home with us "yesterday" because there are a lot of colds and respiratory illnesses going around in her group right now.

I also learned today that I have been spelling Emily's given name wrong. I sent a journal full of questions for the babyhouse with Aliya. She translated the questions into Russian. The caregivers and doctors responded to my questions and Aliya translated them back into English for me. On some of the questions I listed Nadia's name and in the responses, her name is spelled Nadya. I like that spelling and will convert to that.

It's interesting that now that Tom and I have had our pre-court meeting and have been prepped for our court hearing we are both starting to feel more comfortable calling our soon-to-be daughter by her new name. It has always been so awkward before because so much was up in the air. Now it feels like an end is actually in sight.

We feel that our time here is coming to an end soon. Tomorrow morning at 10am is our court hearing. We are well prepared for this and feel confident that we are here because God has this time planned for us.

At lunch today I commented to Aliya that is amazing the change in perspective of your time here once you have "dates" to work toward. I'm looking at things differently and instead of being content or tolerating things I have a greater appreciation for everything we see and do because it might be the last time we get to see or do them. I went shopping with Aliya at lunch to buy a few remaining gifts for the babyhouse doctors and directors and felt like I was taking things in more than normal. We're trying to work in the last visits to certain places and trying to make sure we get whatever gifts purchased that we think we will need.

We're looking forward to tomorrow's court date. We will plan on going to the babyhouse at our regular afternoon visiting hours to pick up Miss Emily. We will also present our thank you gifts to the staff at that time and purchase a cake to take with us for the party as well. I plan on taking a lot of pictures of this going away party and will post them to the blog after we get home.

Speaking of the blog, we are going to be able to post to the blog every couple of days but I will keep writing on my laptop and just catch things up to date when we get a chance. Everything will be journaled but it will just show up online less regularly than before.

Our internet problems are still a major snafu at the apartment. CAUTION TO ALL FUTURE WPA FAMILIES coming to apartment #12... we learned an expensive lesson and so did the Kaz. staff in Uralsk. When we moved into apartment #12 we were told that we had DSL internet access and were thrilled. We asked about the cost for this service and if there were any stipulations on usage. At the time we were told that it's fairly new to this apartment and that they've had only a couple of families use the internet via the DSL modem since it was installed and they never charged these families extra because they were still trying it out to see how it worked. They told us to go ahead and use it like normal and not worry about cost... that it would be about $50 for our time here. About 2 weeks into our trip though we received a rude awakening. Literally! Shortly after the alarm clock woke us up, we received a phone call from the Kazakh Telecomm company asking if we realized our account was over 74,000 tenge (over $500!!!) and they were wondering when we would be in to pay for it. Fortunately, when the lady on the phone started speaking Russian I knew enough to say something that sounded like "Pongliski" which is some semblance of hinting that I speak English. She was able to explain fairly well in English what we needed to know in order to communicate this major problem with Olga.

We immediately stopped using the internet from our apartment and called Aliya to ask her to please talk with Olga and check on this for us. The problem is that we were told we could use the DSL "like normal" and for us normal means we do a lot of uploading and downloading using the internet for work and for entertainment. Tom had downloaded several episodes of "24", "The Daily Show" and several other shows for his iPod and I had been uploading pictures and videos for our blog entries. These uploads and downloads that we did exceeded the 1GB maximum for the account in less than 2 weeks and we weren't told of any limitations on the account when we asked about it. Had we been told this up front, we wouldn't have downloaded shows and certainly would have limited what we used the internet for. We still haven't been offered any sort of apology but have been asked to pay the full amount. Olga and Misha were over to the apartment a couple of nights ago and looked at the account details to ensure that someone else had not been using the account... that wasn't the issue... the concern we have is that we weren't told about any of this up front. The problem is that this sort of internet is totally new to Olga and she's not that familiar with internet, uploads, gigabytes, etc. so she didn't know to give us a heads up. I REALLY wish we had been told the details of this account before we started using, but the problem was that the staff here didn't understand the details in order to communicate them to us... so although it would be nice to have some sort of compromise on this issue, we are stuck paying over $500 for just 2 weeks of internet use.

So, for now, Tom and I are resorting to playing solitaire and DVDs on our laptops as well as storing our digital pictures on them and composing our blog entries. We will then be saving our blog entries to a flash drive and walking to the internet cafe across the street to copy and paste them into our blog.

It's an expensive lesson to learn but I hope that by sharing our story here others that come after us will not end up in the same predicament. We brought some extra money with us to use to purchase donations for the babyhouse before we left, but unfortunately, because of this unexpected cost we will not be able to be as generous as we had initially hoped.

Take care and be blessed we miss all of you back home and can't wait to see you!

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