A Busy Day

October 25, 2008 at 12:44 am 4 comments

Saturday, October 25, 2008: Day 53 in Kostanai
Today was a busy day and passed very quickly. I started out the morning with my daily instant coffee and web endeavors and finished my yoga session by 9:30 a.m. After a shower and a quick breakfast, I headed to the Green Market to start pricing the Kazakh shawls knit with yarn from their goats (think cashmere). These shawls are beautiful, very warm, and a bit pricey so I wanted to check out both markets today to see which sellers would give me the best deal.

The morning was cool and my Smart Wool covered feet were still cold but the fresh air felt great and was energizing. I returned from my walk around 11:45 a.m. and had just enough time for a quick snack before leaving for the baby house.

Our visit today was great! Usually, I start with about a half hour of playtime before lunch. K is still on the upstairs schedule and eats at 1 p.m. while the other kids eat at a different time. Doug and I have always fed him his lunch and, I have to say, that after almost two months I am now able to shove his entire bowl of food and cup of juice tea into is hungry little mouth (he LOVES his lunch) in record time with minimal mess. Believe me, it didn’t start out that way.

Lunch today was great as the caretakers took every single one of the other kids outside and K and I had the entire toddler room to ourselves for at least a half hour. Ahh…the peace and quiet was so relaxing but also so unusual. He finished his lunch, I washed his dishes and we played on the rug for a little while. Have I told you about K’s suction-cupped fingers yet? This kid has an incredible ability to pick up a ball, twist it around with his wrist, and hold on to it for quite some time. I can’t see how he can do it with his little hand, but he can. As far as releasing the ball, well that hasn’t quite come yet but once it does, look out!

As the kids and caretakers began to come inside, I decided it would be good for us to go outside for some fresh air and, at the same time, try out the puffy yellow snowsuit I brought from home (thank you Scott and Tamara). K is about 8 ½ months old and is already wearing his 9 month sized clothes and a couple of 12 month shirts and fitting in them well. The snowsuit is sized 9 months as well and just fits him. I think he’ll be able to wear it for a bit but I already can’t zip it all the way up. (Well, actually I did and then noticed the pained look on his face as the zipper began to pierce his neck. Ouch!) He looked too funny in this outfit, though, and the caregivers laughed at his appearance while giving thumbs up on its warmth. (It passed the big test: whoo-hoo!)

It was a beautiful day and we walked around the baby house while I adjusted and then re-adjusted the Ergo carrier. If you need to buy a baby carrier, I really suggest this brand. It is extremely comfortable and, once getting the hang of it, easy to put on. I’m still figuring out the right setting for K and I and it needed letting out today so that he could fit in it with his new puffy suit.

K got his first experience petting a kitten (the same that had followed us all around the baby house on another day) and then fell asleep as I carried him around for the last few minutes we were outside. Once inside the noise of the other children woke him up quickly and he good-naturedly decided that he wanted to play with the interesting wallpaper in the little locker room after I removed his outerwear. Our visit finished as I changed his clothes and put him down for his nap.

Once returning home I had my new favorite snack: a deep fried cottage cheese patty. Slightly smaller than the top of a soda can, these little delicacies are like eating a mini cheesecake and I’m addicted to them already (thanks Natascha). However, just one will curb my hunger for at least a few hours and are a great afternoon treat. [For some reason I can’t get this image to rotate, so just tilt your head to the left when viewing.]

After snacking, I went to exchange some money so I could go shopping at the bazaar by Natascha’s for gifts for all of the caregivers and scope out Kazakh shawl prices. Instead of going to my typical $ exchange spot, I went to another nearby. There was a little bit of a wait so a gentleman offered me his seat and I tried to have a discussion with the establishment’s “guard”. Although he tried, I didn’t have much success except that I understood that he was asking for Doug. This was pretty easy to figure out because he said, in English, “Where is your man?” My response was that he was home, which he took to mean here in Kostanai, and then he went on to describe to his friend how tall Doug is. (Most Kazakhs aren’t very tall.) Anyway, Doug you’re even missed by the money man! (-:

With cash in hand I went off to the market in search of bargains. It is a good walk and the weather was so warm that I opened my coat and took off my mittens. (I know, crazy!) My goal for caregiver gifts was to find more pashmina shawls to add to the five minus one already given that I had brought from the U.S.

When shopping at home I found a great deal on these items and thought they would be nice, unique gifts here in Kostanai. Surprise! Not only do they have the same exact garments but they are also less expensive. It’s a good thing too because I found out that I needed to have seven caregiver gifts for the room that K is in now and we also want to give gifts to two special caregivers in his ex-room.

I found a few vendors and talked them all down on their price when I told them that I would be buying six in all. (I think I only needed five. Oops!) Finally, the woman I decided to deal with had some attractive 80% wool/20% silk pashminas in a variety of colors that I would gladly wear and would sell them to me for only 1100 tenge a piece, which is $9.16 in U.S tender based on today’s exchange rate. At home these would have cost me around $20 each so for what these woman do for the kids each day at the baby house, it was a small price to pay. Besides, I really liked the vendor. This woman was helpful, had a good sense of humor, and was patient with my Russian so that I knew what she was saying and she understood me. Not only did she have the best price of the afternoon, she also had the best personality. Needing a hat that covered my ears, I also had fun trying on beret’s and laughing with her until I finally settled on a red one that she insisted was “ochen, ochen kharasha” (very, very nice) for a bargain. (Basically, she “threw it in” at a very cheap price and, well, it’s an o.k. hat.)

I think that is one thing that Doug and I have found shopping at the bazaars; a lot of the merchandise is repeated throughout the different vendors but it are the ones who are like this woman that we return to on our visits. Actually, we don’t even have to be repeat buyers (or sometimes buyers at all) and the people that we’ve met and dealt with are typically friendly, smile, and try to communicate. It’s fun to walk through all of these isles and be recognized each time we go by with a good-natured zdrastvuteur (hello). (Doug, the hat guy says, “Hi,” and I actually had a conversation with a woman about knitting socks this morning, sort of. It was all in Russian but I do know that she said, “Nice talking with you,” as I left.)

Of course, there is one vendor that we run from; a particular group of women that sell hats at the Green Bazaar. Like no one else we’ve met, they’ve repeatedly harassed and ridiculed us in Russian, all to their amusement and, seemingly, to no one else’s. Basically, they are obnoxious and we avoid them. No problem.

So today was a success: good walks, a good visit, and good bargain hunting. With so much achieved in one day, it feels even more relaxing to be at home and settled-in for an evening of knitting and American movies dubbed in Russian. Ahh, the life!

Note: My friend Shannon asked some great questions in a previous post that I hope to start answering. Many are things that I’ve already started writing about but need to finish. Thanks for inquiring and thanks for the inspiration! More tomorrow or the next day, at the latest. Paka, paka.


Entry filed under: Kazakhstan Adoption.

The Beat Goes On… Our Waiting Period is Up!

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Ali  |  October 25, 2008 at 11:09 am

    So you’ll be home soon?? Can’t wait to see the baby!!!!!! PJ and I drove by your house the other day – it’s looking good, (if you’re interested in looking at a lot of cement.) 🙂

  • 2. Susan  |  October 26, 2008 at 3:05 am

    sounds like you had a great day!!! K looks so cute in his snowsuit.
    Leeza went for a walk in the ergo BAREFOOT THE OTHER DAY. shhh don’t tell the caregivers.
    We still love our Ergo-and it was a lifesaver onthe way home. I am actually going to call the company and rave about the ergo and see if they need a cute model baby for it. 🙂

    Glad you’re doing great, bargaining for great gifts, and having a good time. 🙂

  • 3. Carol Nylen  |  October 26, 2008 at 2:01 pm

    You sound like you are just loving Kostanai–you’ve made an incredible adjustment to life there. I’d love to hear you talk in Russian, since when you left Portland, I’d only ever heard you say one word!!! But it was well pronounced, as I recall.

    I think it sounds like the way everyone should adopt–go away for a few months, and just be on your own with your child without the outside world intruding. Sounds like it was magical for you and Doug.

    When do you come home? Did i miss that in your blog somewhere?

    And what is an ergo?

  • 4. Tricia  |  October 28, 2008 at 6:14 am

    Sounds like another great day in Kostanai 🙂 I love the little photos.


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