October 30, 2008
Bonding Day 10
My time with Emilia absolutely flew by this morning. I arrived on time, but after changing and feeding her, we didn’t even have a chance to play. You see, I get so lost in my daughter’s big, brown eyes that I don’t even think to check my watch.
We had several errands to run after this morning’s visit – the Dept. of Education, the copier store, the place to get my registration number (which resembled a City Hall with people dashing about filling out official documents). I’m not exactly sure what the registration number is for, but I know it’s important to have it for pre-court, and it is in some way tied to my passport. There is just so much paperwork involved with the adoption. I don’t know how Aliya is keeping everything straight, but I greatly appreciate her organizational skills and her commitment to getting the job done.
When I got back to the hotel, I found Cecile and Jasmine in the lobby with Elizabet and Sophia, the manager’s wife and daughter. It was nice to chat with them for awhile. Then, after a quick lunch, I decided to venture out on my own, and I walked into town. It was a beautiful day – much warmer than NY from what I hear – and I enjoyed walking at a brisk pace down the main street, which is filled with shops, schools and government buildings. When I got to the statue of Abai, the celebrated Kaz poet and writer of the first educational book in the country, I knew to turn right to find the Atrium Mall. I had been there before, but this time I could walk slowly and browse.
Kaz restrooms are a big conversation point among foreigners because they are so different from what we know. I decided to venture into the Atrium’s public bathroom and found a woman sitting at a table with some napkins. I figured they were towels for drying your hands, so I went into the bathroom, where I was relieved to see actual stalls (this isn’t so common in Kaz). When I got into the stall, I noted that there was no toilet paper, and it dawned on me. I was supposed to pick up my “towel” on the way in and throw it out in the basked next to the toilet. Oops! Fortunately, I’m a good girl scout and always travel with tissues, so this wasn’t a big problem. However, I then ran into difficulties flushing the toilet. It just wouldn’t flush. After about five tries, I had to give up. Agh!
When I washed my hands before leaving, I sensed that the woman behind the table was talking about me. Who is this lady, who doesn’t even know how to use a public restroom? Of course, I learned hours afterwards that I was supposed to pay her a small amount of money to use the restroom. Alas, I got the whole thing wrong! Live and learn.
One thing you can’t help but notice when you are walking anywhere in town is that many of the trees are painted white half way up the trunk. The reason is to prevent small bugs from killing the trees. It may work, but it really does look quite unusual.
On the way home, I popped into a convenience store and purchased an icecream. Much to my delight, the cone had caramel strips in the vanilla icecream and was coated with chocolate and nuts. Mmm! It’s good to know that although I can’t figure out the bathroom facilities in Kaz, I can purchase icecream successfully anywhere on the planet.
I didn’t have my camera with me, as Aliya had borrowed it to print a picture of the baby and me for the Ministry of Education paperwork. There were many things I wanted to photograph, but I will just have to wait for another day. No doubt, I will heading into town quite a bit in the coming weeks.
This afternoon my time with Emilia was unexpectedly extended by 15 minutes, as Aliya had to go back to the Ministry of Education and was a bit delayed. The baby nurses were playing the radio, and at one point Emilia and I simply sat and listened to the tunes. I was keeping time with a pink rattle, and I think Em liked the constant rhythm. I am hoping that she loves music as much as I do.
Even though I had a little more time with Emilia today, I was still sad to leave. She was crawling all over me this afternoon, and as I walked back through the baby house to the waiting car, I missed her little hands on my face.