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September 28, 2006

Oh my... I think I ate a horse

Today was another day at the baby house without ZhaZha Dae Dae.  He was feeling fine, but I think now he's mostly just gotten out of the habit of going.  I think he likes a little quiet time in the suite without me chattering at him or reminding him of how much we have to do each day.  When we first started our trip I don't think either of us had any idea how much we'd have to do here.  So much for our daily naps.

So today the girls started competing for Mommy.  Oh darn!  We spent nearly half an hour just reading the Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb book over and over and over again.  They've both learned to say "Dum ditty, dum ditty, dum, dum, dum."  They won't say Mama on request, but man oh man can they get carried away when we're reading that book.  Before our time was up today both girls were crawling all over me and fighting over who got to be in my lap.  Loved it!

Today Maggie-Vera went to lunch first and then I took Ryn-Alina back to her classroom.  It was pretty wild in there.  I had 10 children hanging all over me.  One little boy literally wrapped himself around my leg and was barking at me.  I wasn't sure if I should be a little insulted by that, but no.  I think that may be the official language of the cool kids in Ryn's class.  There's another little girl named Alina in her room who calls me Mama every time I come in (it's killing me!), and she was hanging on my other leg.  The rest were grabbing me from the back or trying to push the other kids away.  That was all well and good until my Ryn realized what was going on and insisted that I pick her up -- NOW!!  So, I had Ryn on one arm, a child on each leg and a half dozen more hanging on from the back.  I finally gave up and just sat down in the floor and played with them until their lunch was ready.  They're all precious babies, and I fall a little more in love with all of them every day.

After we left the baby house we stopped at the bazaar in Tschuchinsk.  It was definitely a different experience.  I found a couple of warm hats for the girls, but mostly I just walked around with my mouth hanging open -- the quintessential American tourist.  I've gotten kind of used to the bazaar in Kokshetau, but this was a seriously different combination of items for sale.  Kind of state fair meets flea market.  I'm not terribly sure why we thought we were going to find Scotch tape there, but surprisingly enough we did.  Like I said -- it was an interesting combination of items there.  Very cool.

Since it was already past our lunch time, we stopped at a little booth at the bazaar and bought a samsa -- which, from what Azel tells me, is the national snack food of Kazakhstan.  It's like a stuffed pot pie made from phyllo dough and then deep fried.  (I can feel my cholesterol rising and my arteries clogging just thinking about it!)  The dough was great, but I wasn't so sure about the stuffing.  I'm not completely sure, but I think I may have eaten a horse today, and I've got to tell you - I didn't much like it.  I know -- for 20 tenge (roughly $0.15) I shouldn't complain, but I can't quite get the taste out of my mouth or the thought out of my head.  Next time I'm insisting on chicken!!