Friday, April 18, 2008

A Few Questions Answered

Written 4/17
Local time (Shymkent) -- 5:06 p.m. Cincinnati Time – 7:06 a.m.

As we have stated several times, the blog has served as a great way to stay connected to our family and friends while on this long-distance journey. One of the limitations of the blog is that we can’t directly address questions that are asked in the blog comments. So, Amy and I wanted to take a moment to try to address several of the questions that have been asked along the way, as well as reply to a few of the comments that were posted. So, in no particular order… (no, these are not the direct quotes… I’ve taken editorial liberty to either elaborate on a question for clarity, or altered it to generally embarrass or harass the original author… Jesse).

“Curious if the toilet training approach Amy described actually works?” [Refers to 4/16 post] – Grandma T.

  • Well, depends on your definition of ‘works’. It is very common, as we have confirmed from many sources, and the kids do seem to ask to go to the potty before they are 2 years old. The obvious problem is the fact that you have to be very dedicated to staying on schedule with putting them on the toilet, which knowing the group that is following this blog, I’m guessing letting your dogs out to go pee is a bit of a stretch some days. Actually, I think the bigger issue is that the kids will still have plenty of accidents, so the parents end up doing a lot of laundry. Doesn’t sound like a good option to me. I love the idea of saving a buck and getting through the diaper phase as much as the next guy, but extra dirty laundry… hmm, not a good tradeoff to me.
  • And since we’re on the diaper topic – no Allen, the picture in the slideshow is not an example of a Kazakhstan child’s dirty diaper. It’s a quite taste Turkish dish call Lamahcun (my spelling may be off). Kinda like pizza, but thinner crust. We’ll be sure to bring you back one, if I can ever get the diaper thought out of my mind. Thanks for ruining it for me… ;)

“How long do you guys get to spend with your little guy, and when is the adoption actually finalized?” – Lauryn and Jason

  • As with most everything else, schedules here tend to be very ‘flexible’. While we were provided our son’s schedule (naps, meals, etc.) after our initial meeting, it took a few meetings to really get a feel for his schedule. More to the point, the first few meetings were brief (about 30-45 minutes), as he was quickly tired and wanted to nap. Once we found a time of day that worked well for him (12:30 pm), our visits have extended to about 1-1 ½ hours a day.
  • As for the adoption being finalized --  In short, since we have a US consulate in Kazakhstan, we’ll be able to process all paperwork here before flying back to the US. So, he’ll be a US citizen once the plane touches down in the states (yippee!).

“I’m about to make a trip to Kazakhstan, and I would like a quick way to be able to pick out the prostitutes from the crowd. I hear that they are the ones wearing shorts, is this true?” – Grandma T [umm… I may have altered this question a little - Jesse ;) ]

  • First off, Ian, I suggest you get a hold of your wife and discuss the risks of this type of a lifestyle. Specifically in this part of the world. Or perhaps she was asking on your behalf? Either way, it appears you two lovebirds are out of luck, as the myth is just that. Shorts are not reserved for the ladies of the evening, particularly since summers are quite hot in Kazakhstan. However, I was warned that Americans with chicken legs should consider twice before attempting to wear shorts in public, as it’s likely to result in hysteria among the abundant population of cute Kazakhstan ladies that work and live in the city. Good thing we are on schedule to wrap up before things really heat up here…
  • And since this is a truly important topic, I felt that additional research was in order, so I also discovered that prostitution is actually somewhat legal in Kazakhstan. I say somewhat as it seems that the actual ladies are likely not to be the ones arrested, but the ‘managers’ of these enterprises will be targeted for prosecution. Not really consistent, but seems to have the overall effect of discouraging this type of activity. So, fellas, don’t go getting too excited…

“Has Amy tried any horse meat yet?” – Mama and Papa
  • Umm… I guess the honest answer is that we’re not sure. Not by a conscience decision, at least not yet. Of course, if she does, I’m afraid that our Kentucky friends may not allow us back in the state.
  • Before you ask, I haven’t tried yet either and I just made Amy the designated food taster. Sorry dear, looks like you gave me control of the wrong blog update!

"Xopowezo fpemehh" – Tim MacVeigh
  • Tim, since I need to actually translate this back into Cyrillic before then attempting to translate into English (since my Russian-English book is a bit limited), perhaps you could give me a hint? Pretty sad that you have a better handle on Russian (or is this Kazakh?) than me ;)
Again, please keep the comments coming.  It's great to stay connected to everyone while off in the wilds of Kazakhstan.  Which reminds me that Shymkent is often referred to as the 'Texas' of Kazakhstan.  This is due to the history of lawlessness and corruption in Shymkent, which seems to be somewhat improving over the past few years, but still well off from our standards.  Of course, not sure what is says about Texas, either... ;)