October 23, 2008
Bonding Day 3
Today began with an apology I did not understand until I looked at my watch. The front desk had forgotten to make my wake up call, and it came 40 minutes late! I rocketed out of bed and raced to be ready for my 9:10 pick up. My time with Emilia is precious, and I don’t want to miss even one minute with her.
This morning I was able to feed Emilia her breakfast, which consisted of porridge, apple sauce with a little mushy crust and some juice. She ate it all – that is, all but that which remained on her bib and on her cheeks! Actually, she is a good eater, as long as you move quickly and don’t let her get distracted.
Since it is a gorgeous fall day – the first blue sky day since I’ve been here – we decided to go outside for a walk. The nurse bundled up Emilia, and we were off to visit with Vladimir at the car (he hadn’t seen the baby yet) and walk circles around the baby house. Emilia seemed to be quite content in her stroller, and she looked so cute in her hat with bunny ears!
After the visit was over, Aliya took me to a mall with a big grocery store. I enjoyed wandering through the isles. It’s funny that such a simple task can become an adventure when you’re visiting a foreign country and can’t read the containers. I wanted to buy things I could put in my fridge for lunch, so I purchased some cooked chicken and cold cuts and other items. I prefer to prepare my own lunch in my room and then go out to dinner in the evening. I don’t need to eat a big lunch after having had a buffet breakfast, and this will also save me money.
This afternoon’s visit also included a walk. It was just too beautiful to be inside. However, after a half hour, we did go into the baby house and played for a bit. Emilia wasn’t terribly interested in the toys I showed her. She was content to bounce around in my arms and look at herself in the mirror. I wonder what she’s thinking when she sees her reflection. Does she think it’s another baby?
On the way back to the hotel, I asked to be dropped off in the center of town. I wanted to be outdoors and get some exercise. As I was walking I was trying to take in as many sites as possible. A few observations: 1) All the women, even older ones, have very high-heeled, black boots, and the younger ones all have tight jeans; 2) There are dozens of stray dogs simply wandering around; I haven’t seen one on a leash yet; 3) Drivers are extremely aggressive, and you have to be attentive when you cross the street; you may get squashed if you don’t move fast; 4) Older women hawk various items on the street; many sell black beans. Is it coffee? I don’t know, but I’ll ask tomorrow; 4) Couples walk arm and arm here; friends sometimes do, too; 5) Children are very bundled up. There may be carriages, but I haven’t seen any out at this time of year; 6) Lots of people smoke – outdoors and indoors (ick!); 7) I haven’t seen one person wearing an Ipod when walking around; 8) People stroll; nobody keeps my NYC pace; 9) You can buy bread and other bakery goods without going into the store; you can simply walk up to the window at the store, as if you are in a fast food drive-in lane; 10) Many of the buildings here are painted in vibrant colors – pink, bright blue, green, etc.
I am trying to take in as much as possible. I want to capture all of the nuances of this city and remember them for Emilia. She will want to know about Uralsk, where she spent the first several months of her life, and I will be happy to tell her my stories.