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September 25, 2006

A little quiet time please!!!

Today I decided that hanging out in the big music room with the other family was just WAY too much excitement and too many distractions for the girls, so we weren't getting a whole lot of time for our own family.  Not meaning to be anti-social or anything, but we decided it was going to be better all around if we moved back to the smaller playroom.  Wow -- am I glad we did!  They're like different kids.  All of the sudden I have my sweet little girls again.  The girls were perfectly happy to play with the crayons and books and were so well-behaved.  I'm so proud (and relieved!)  And the very best of the day was when Maggie was coloring and started softly singing the ABC's under her breath.  I don't think she even realized she was doing it.  It was precious!

Today ZhaZha Dae Dae decided to take a day off and stay at the hotel.  He was so worried that the girls were going to miss him too much, but it wasn't our little girls who missed him most.  Instead, it was the caregivers (who have all fallen in love with Dave) who were so traumatized by his absence.  They're all trying to get him married off to one of the single women working there, so every day is an adventure in Kazakh matchmaking.  He's become quite the heartthrob of Tschuchinsk.  Go figure.  Of course, let's put this in perspective... He's cute, single, as sweet as they come (when he's not being an aggravating pain in the tail!), and great with kids.  No wonder they all have such huge crushes on him!  They better be careful though.  I think our Maggie would get pretty upset if she thought anybody was trying to take her ZhaZha Dae Dae.  She's the very most in love.

This afternoon we went back to Azel's Mom's cafe, and it was maybe even better than the first time.  She wants to make sure we get to have lots of traditional Kazakh and Russian foods before we leave.  Oh yeah -- I'm going to be a cow!  Forgive my spelling because I'm guessing at most of these words, but see if this menu doesn't make your mouth water.  Today we started with borscht (which tastes an awful lot like Mom's homemade vegetable soup) with bahrasaki bread (deep-fried yeast rolls... absolutely sinful!), followed by plov (which is a great dish of rice, carrots and chunks of beef, and the flavor reminds me a little of a really good beef stew.)  We finished off with coffee and Russian pancakes -- which are basically crepes with warmed condensed milk poured over them.  Yet another day that we just needed a nap after lunch.  Yep... we've got a rough life going here, don't we?

I think yesterday's miserable cold finally did it for Dave.  Today we went to the outdoor bazaar and bought him a coat.  Of course, it was basically a repeat of the same experience as before.  Azel point out a fur-lined leather coat; he tried it on; we bought it.  Moving on...  We also broke down and bought a heater for our suite.  The interesting thing about heat here in Kazakhstan is that it's all controlled by the state.  The heat comes on the first of October and not a minute sooner!  We've done okay so far with thermal underwear, heavy sweatshirts, multiple pairs of socks and as many blankets as we could find, but even that wasn't enough to keep us warm last night.  Of course, tonight's not nearly as cold, but if we're going to buy a heater, by golly we're going to use it!  This suite is toasty warm tonight.  I'm sitting here listening to Eva Cassidy and writing, and I can almost imagine that I'm at home sitting in front of the fireplace.  Lovely!