Friday, June 13, 2008

One Step Closer

So, before any adoption related updates, I figured we should just start with the fun stuff.  Kinda like starting with dessert.  To the left is our little munchkin' caught in one of his favorite activities.  As I mentioned in the previous post, Griffin loves his sleep.  What I didn't mention is that this little guy could sleep through a tornado, which makes sense considering he is probably used to another ~100 or so screaming Griffin's laying next to him.  In addition to the quite, the air conditioning is a bonus that he also seems to greatly enjoy.  The average temperature in Kazakhstan in the summer is near the 100's, and I've heard rumors it can reach near ~120 F in Shymkent.  No fun.  This picture to the left, of course, is pre-haircut.

And this picture above is after Griffin's haircut yesterday! Holy cow, it's a boy!  It was another fun experience trying to arrange Griffin's appointment.  Our first try was to ask the ladies at the hotel beauty salon ourselves as a 'walk-in'.  After a few failed attempts at hand signals and garbled Russian phrases, I punted and headed for the front desk attendant for a little English-Russian translation assistance.

As the lobby attendant could not actually leave the front desk, she instead agreed to call the salon on our behalf (a distance of approximately 50 feet).  Meanwhile, Amy had decided to stay in the salon with Griffin to practice her Russian.  After the lobby assistant got the salon attendant on the line, she proceeded to ask if we could get Griffin's haircut (yes, you would think we were trying to negotiate the purchase of a Uranium depot).  So the conversation went something like this...

Lobby attendant: 'He is a boy?'
Me: 'Yes', I emphatically respond.  I'm still a bit sensitive from the whole passport issue.
Lobby: 'You would like to have all of his hair cut?'
Me: 'Uh, yes.  We would like to have his hair cut.'
Lobby: Speaking into the phone to the salon, she makes a motion with her hand that seems to indicate a buzz cut.  I begin to rethink the meaning of the phrase 'all of his hair cut', and the likely response that I'll get from Amy if I screw this up.
Me:  'Excuse me.  By 'all his hair cut', do you mean that they will completely buzz off his hair?'
Lobby: Smiling proudly, 'Of course.'
Me: 'Ah.  Well, then.  How about 'nyet' to that one. Just a simple trim will do...'

In spite of the fun we have with the language and cultural differences, everyone seems to take it in stride.  The ladies that cut his hair did a great job.  I say ladies as it seemed that we had a virtual pit crew working on him.  One to distract him, Amy to hold him, one to actually cut his hair, one that would brush off locks of hair that inevitably landed in his face, and I paced around nervously.  

Regarding the adoption update, we met with Bayan (our coordinator in Almaty) yesterday evening and were happy to hear that Griffin's new passport has been completed!  I actually held the new passport in my hands, and had the chance to verify the information first hand.  Now, the passport must travel back to Shymkent for an official stamp (not sure what it is), then on to Astana for another stamp (again, not sure -- but it is sacred).  At this point, we are hoping that the passport will make it's travels back to us by Tuesday, so we can meet with the US Consulate, then travel out Wednesday morning.  Of course, that is best case.

For dinner last night, we abandoned our adventurous side and headed out for the American Bar and Grill.  Yes, it was a bit cheesy, with wagon wheels hanging on the ceiling and a general 'cowboy' feel (I guess that's the definition of American).  However, the food was good, and the cafe was located semi-outdoors, which made it a good place to enjoy the cooler evening weather.  

Today (Friday), we are attempting to coordinate a trip to the nearby mountains.  No major hiking with a 17 month old, but a little sightseeing out of the city.  Should be a good change of pace for all of us, and a much needed distraction from the adoption related stressors.