When it Rains, it Pours

October 22, 2008 at 10:12 am 7 comments

Wednesday, October 22, 2008: Day 49 in Kostanai
Things have been quite busy this past week and I’m working on a post to tell all about it, however I have to share this one experience first:

Last night was a rainy one, with the inclement weather beginning early evening and lasting throughout the night. There is this one obnoxious drip that echoes from a balcony directly above our apartment whenever it rains. I’ve finally become accustomed to it, as well as many of the other courtyard and street noises so around 5:30 a.m., when I heard loud dripping that sounded differently, I got up to investigate.

Usually it takes a little more than falling water to stir me but I sensed that I needed to investigate from where this noise was emanating. Walking towards the bathroom, which is on the right of the apartment entrance, I flicked on the light and found the source. Actually, it wasn’t the specific “drip” that had aroused my curiosity that I discovered, nor was it just a drip. It was a God-blessed waterfall streaming down all the walls of my bathroom and, upon further inspection, the ceiling of the hallway that leads to the outside door and bathroom. I then heard the DRIP again, looked around the corner into the kitchen, and found the walls and ceiling there saturated and a good amount of fluid collecting on that floor, as well.

The sound of running water (a lot of running water) coming from the apartment above was obvious. My first thought was, “Great, someone died in their bathtub and left the water running.” Wanting to deal with this independently, I mentally scanned my Russian vocabulary, figured out what I might say (“a lot of water” or “mnoga vada”), and quickly walked upstairs to ring the doorbell of the apartment above. No answer. Returning to my abode, I watched as water accumulated on the bathroom and kitchen floor and tried to figure out what to do. Once again, I attempted to rouse my upstairs neighbor and when I had no success, I began to think my original suspicion was correct and this bathtub mishap would be in the evening news.

Not wanting to risk flooding of the apartment below me and electrocution from wet wall and ceiling circuits, I called my coordinator and woke both she and her husband, neither of who are early risers. After explaining my situation, the landlord was called and within ten minutes she and her husband were at my doorstep.  Upon entering the apartment, even they were surprised at the amount of water raining down.

We were all afraid there might be no one at home in the apartment above (or…well…you know) and her husband (I’ll call KG) went upstairs and began pounding on the apartment door. Remember that all of these tenements have two doors, one steel door on the outside and a wooden façade on the inside so when he pounded, he really pounded. I was surprised that other residents didn’t look out to see what was going on. Perhaps they thought it was the police arresting the visiting American and that it was best to just stay in their own apartments.

Finally, someone came to the door and after a loud exchange of words; KG turned off the water and came back downstairs. After a couple trips to and from the delinquent residence, he explained that the tenant, an elderly woman, had awoken around 5:15 a.m. to use the bathroom. Some how she stepped on and broke a water pipe and not realizing what had happened had returned to bed. When KG finally woke her, she didn’t know what to do and this is when he turned the water off. She was terribly sorry and was mopping the floor with towels when my coordinator and I went upstairs to see if she needed any help.

After a little cleaning in my apartment and a quick electrical check, I assured my coordinator that I didn’t need a new home and they certainly didn’t need to wait with me until the water stopped flowing from upstairs. (It was nice of them to offer, though.) They left around 6:30 a.m. and were hopefully able to return to bed for at least a little while. Soon afterwards, the water’s forceful flow slowed to only a few trickles so I finished mopping up the floors and threw the musty towels and sheets into the washer. I then called Doug to let him know what he was missing in Kostanai. [Yes, Doug is home. That story is one that I am working on so there will be more to come later.]

I was able to sleep for about an hour after our call but now that it is 11:40 a.m. and the sheets and towels are hanging in the living room, I need to get ready for my daily visit with little “K”. As a light sleeper, I tend to hear things that go “bump in the night” but I would have never expected an inside shower when waking this morning. As all of our adventures in Kostanai add to our tale, this one will remain with us always as we’ve now been dubbed the “waterfall family” by our coordinator.

…And the next time it showers in Kostanai, I’ll be praying that pouring rain stays outside and the inside is warm and dry!

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A Typical Day in Kostanai The Beat Goes On…

7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. ellen  |  October 22, 2008 at 10:41 am

    Yowza!!!!!!!!! It’s raining here, too. (outside)

    Reply
  • 2. Nell  |  October 22, 2008 at 4:12 pm

    Oh. My. Word. It figures something like this would happen after Doug came home. Glad you’re OK!

    Reply
  • 3. Susan  |  October 22, 2008 at 9:12 pm

    omg-that is so funny…well, not really, but in hindsight, it is kinda. I kinda compare that one to my Kazakh swat team story.

    yikes-i’m glad that you got a hold of Zhanat-I would be afraid Tatiana would still be asleep and never hear her phone. 🙂

    The rain in Kostanai is fun because they have no drainage-so i recall very giant puddles. It rained on almaty and we were outside in it-but the ergo hood and my raincoat kept lil leeza grace so dry she slept while Joe and i got drenched-but as long as the princess is dry…

    glad nothing got damaged and you now have funny story to tell your son when he’s older…..all in a day in Kostanai, and i’m glad there was no dead lady in the tub. now, THAT would be freaky.

    ps. Jet let is rather brutal.

    Reply
  • 4. Michelle  |  October 23, 2008 at 1:05 am

    As is my natural tendency, I am making a new list of things to worry about during travel …

    … dead bodies in the apartment next door
    … natural disasters
    … plumbing maladies
    … having to call the coordinator in the middle of the night

    This opens up all sorts of new ideas in my worry-wart mind! No, really, I am glad to hear that everything was quickly fixed. What a good story to laugh at someday.

    Reply
  • 5. Shannon  |  October 23, 2008 at 1:28 am

    Kelly, what a day (or night?) you had!
    Questions: Can you repeat why there are 2 doors to each apartment? Is there much crime there? Is anyone worreid about getting in to save someone in case of fire? How do you get through steel doors in an emergency?
    What is the traditional food like? You know that I am in the biz. and very interested in the cuisine. And beer? Wine?
    What about the general clothing? Any traditional dress?
    I bet you are staying thin from all the walking you are doing, is that the general mode of transportation there?
    Are people recycling or concerned or aware of the environment like we are?
    What do they think of Americans? And our country?
    You don’t have to answer all these questions…just letting you know that I am very curious…and love reading your blog.
    Best Wishes,
    Shannon

    Reply
  • 6. Tricia  |  October 23, 2008 at 3:08 am

    Oh boy, thank goodness you caught that before the ceiling started caving in! What a mess. The only apartment fiasco that I had was my bedroom door shutting from the wind and locking itself and locking me out. It was tough trying to explain that to my landlord, but having to try to communicate a problem to Russian speaking neighbors is even more intimidating. Thankfully the coordinators over there are ready to come to your rescue for anything, day or night. Keep dry!

    Reply
  • 7. Andrea  |  October 23, 2008 at 7:28 pm

    Hi there!

    I wanted to introduce myself, as I saw you live in maine. I am a Kaz PAP in Wolfeboro, NH, about 15 minutes from where Kazakh-Aul holds their summer cultural camp. My dossier is at the consulate. I would love to know some other Kaz families in the northern New England area. If you’s like to contact me when you get home, I’d just love that. Enjoy the rest of your time and thank you for sharing your journey!

    Andrea

    Reply

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