November 15, 2008
Every now and then you just need to have a quiet day and stay put. That was today.
Much to my surprise, Emilia slept through the night. Although she woke up at the crack of dawn, she fell asleep in my arms after having her bottle. As a result, we both got an extra hour of shut eye, which we both needed.
One funny thing I’ve noticed about Emilia when she’s sleeping is that she often seems to put her hands and feet out the side of the crib. Sometimes it looks like she’s trying to break out of jail.
There isn’t a heck of a lot to do with a baby when you’re in a small hotel other than go to the restaurant. I often go to Atilla’s most days for breakfast and dinner, but I prefer to give Em lunch in our room. For the past few days I have been putting her in her stroller to feed her, and this has worked quite well. I have also given Emilia her own spoon, so she doesn’t try to grab the one I’m using to feed her. As a result, there is not nearly as much food on her, me or the floor. This is progress.
I have to say that I really miss the conveniences of home, such as having my own kitchen. I do have an electric kettle, which I will bring with me to Almaty, and this has been a lifesaver when I’ve had to prepare Emilia’s bottles and some porridge. I also have a little fridge, but it’s smaller than what most college students have in their dorm rooms, and it’s not cold. It will be great to be able to prepare bottles in advance and other foods for Em. Fortunately, she’s a good eater, and I want to make sure that she has a proper diet with fresh food, not simply foods from boxes and jars.
Em and I walked the halls in her stroller, but this got old quickly, as it takes me less than a minute to walk the length of the building. I’m glad to see that Emilia likes the umbrella stroller. The only problem is that it’s not really meant for long jaunts with a baby of her size. That’s why I’ve relied on the Baby Bjorn for our outdoors excursions. When we get home, if it’s not too cold or snowy, I’ll pull out the power stroller I bought several months ago. I can’t wait to put it to good use.
Aliya and her friend, Yulia, dropped in briefly to see how things are going. It was nice to have company, and Emilia was excited to see Aliya again. I’ve missed seeing her, too, these past few days. I have invited her to visit Em and me, and she is seriously considering a trip in the next few months. It would be so wonderful to introduce her to New York, as well as my family and friends. I know she’d love it. Also, if she comes in January, we can celebrate our birthdays together, as they fall on the same day!
Em is napping right now, and it’s unusually quiet. Usually on Saturday afternoons I hear five or six cars go by honking their horns in celebration of a wedding. Bridal cars are decorated, often with two big rings on top and a bunch of flowers. Since the Pushkin is located on one of the main streets in Uralsk, many bridal parties drive by on the weekends. Sometimes there are several decorated cars in a row.
I asked Aliya about weddings here, and she said that people have to get their legal marriage certificates and then often have religious ceremonies as well (just like back in the U.S.). However, one point of differentiation is that married people wear their wedding bands on their right ring fingers.
People get married very young here and have children right away. As a result, many people my age are already grandparents. Yikes!
I also asked about divorce and was told that it has become increasingly common here. Ten years ago this wasn’t the case.
I bought a coffee table book the other day on Kaz culture, which is written in Russian, Kazakh and English. I look forward to reading more about the Kaz culture with Emilia as she gets older. In the meantime, I’m still trying to learn as much as I can from the local folks, who can give me first-hand knowledge about the Kaz way of life. I truly find it fascinating and want to learn even more about my daughter’s homeland.