Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Delays, delays

Well, I *thought* I'd be leaving early Friday morning, to get home the same day, but I was beyond annoyed to learn last night that there had been some delay in my documents so I cannot leave until Saturday morning at the earliest. So for the 2nd time, I have had to change my plane tickets home. At this point, I am getting into Dulles at 3;23 p.m. on Lufthansa 9050, which doubles as a United flight for some reason. I am still arguing with Lufthansa over the change fees; it's supposed to be $75 but they wanted to stick me with $200.
Veeka's medical exam yesterday (which was pretty cursory) went well and cost me a whopping $108. Sigh. As Mike, the guy adopting with me keeps on saying, "It's only money." I spent the afternoon wandering up and down Gogol Street - their Fifth Avenue - although Almaty has a l-o-n-g way to go before it merits much of a comparison. True, Versace, Prada and Armani have stores there but I don't think many people visit there. Salaries here are quite low and where the crowds gather are in the cell phone and computer stores. It's 6 degrees Celsius here (upper 40s?) and Almaty is largely a grey city of concrete block buildings. Even their war memorial in Panifilov Park looks like Soviet lite; huge blocky statues, the dates of both world wars and eternal flame set in black obsidian. I liked the Kazakh musical instruments museum set in a traditional wooden Russian building as well as Zenkov cathedral; a gingerbread-like confection full of onion domes, bright yellow and white paint with green trim. Inside, some ceremony was going on, so I heard some great chants from their professional choir.
Today was full of petty annoyances; the delay in going home, the inability of our translator here to speak English (this is not a joke; her neurosurgeon son does a better job than she does)and just the exhaustion of having a cold myself and keeping up with Veeka, who's a handful at her best. Last night I went to a French restaurant with the local New York Times correspondent and a young woman who's trying to get to the USA to do her doctorate in education - quite an interesting evening and I loved indulging in European food. Veeka was so cute, everyone was ooohing and aahing over her. Ilan, the NYT guy, loved holding her - didn't want to let her go.
Despite my feeling awful, I took Veeka out to lunch to a cafe but the clouds of smoke there nearly overwhelmed me. Central Asians are where Europe was 10 years ago; still smoking up a storm. Then I had people yelling at me because they felt Veeka was underdressed for the weater (Veeka kept on trying to shed her clothes I might add and I could not keep mittens on her). One woman just bellowed at me - she was vicious - so I yelled back at her "Ya ne panaymayoo pa-Russki!" (I do not speak Russian). I wanted to say some other things to her but didn't know the right nasty words.


Candy said...

I have been reading your blog.
I adopted from Uralsk in 2006.

Have you have a chance to buy
some of the local or Russian
Music. I brought about 6 to 8 CDs

I was in Uralsk in March and I
understand about the locals yelling
at the way the kids are dressed.

I would assume that you had a change to go to the large open
market in Almaty. I loved the
2 ply colorful blankets that they
sell there. The 2 ply are very
hard to find.


Catherine said...

Shedding her clothes, eh? Exactly what's to be expected of a little person who's a couple months shy of being 2.

I feel frustrated for you, too, Julia, but I'm absolutely certain that God has you both in His loving hands. Keeping you both in my prayers.


Allison B. said...

Happy Valentines Day!
Enjoy your new sweetheart! I am sorry for the delays and that you're under the weather. Consider this all a part of your "labor of love" bringing your new daughter home. A year from now you can think back on this day as you are nestled warm at home with your (almost) 3 year old decorating heart cookies! :-)


Faith said...

Will this or won't this post?! I will try.

I am reading of your travails, Julia, and know it will all be worthwhile when you are home and into a routine. Children LOVE routine (so do Seniors, by the way!). Veeka will respond and will still be a terror sometimes. She's de-clothing and YOU get yelled at! Welcome to parenthood.

I am thinking of you and I pray you are on that plane Saturday morning. There will be a huge sigh of relief from MN! Mother and I are so looking forward to seeing you and meeting Veeka in April. God keep you both!