Saturday, June 14, 2008

A typical day in Almaty

It’s Saturday morning and we’re trying to stay positive and enjoy our time with Griffin in this beautiful city. The last couple of days the weather has been cooler, in the upper 80’s. We call these days “one shirt days”, meaning we should be able to get by without changing our sweaty clothes at mid-day. This is only an issue because we didn’t bring many clothes. I’m washing things almost daily in the sink – at least they dry quickly.  As nice as it is here, I’d still much rather be at home.

 I’m looking forward to some home-cooked meals when we return, even willing to tolerate my own cooking. (As most of you know Jesse does the majority of the cooking for our family).  Mealtime here feels like a chore. We try to plan where we’re going to eat (or just start walking), find the restaurant and pray that they have an English menu and a high chair for Griffin.  So far only two places have had high chairs, our hotel’s breakfast room and Mama Mia’s Pizza place.  I think the Lonely Planet Tour Book should add a “kid friendly” rating to their restaurant recommendations.

Although I must admit we enjoyed dinner last night, because it wasn’t a chore at all. We went out with our new friends Kerry, Ben and their son Liam. The boys were content throughout the whole meal, the food was fine and the conversation was great.

If we weren’t living in a hotel with a tiny refrigerator we would take greater advantage of the fantastic grocery store nearby. It has everything you could imagine. A deli with recognizable meats, a bakery and fresh produce area.  Much to Jesse’s displeasure, they even sell non-alcoholic beer!  Jesse stood in front of the beer section for 20 minutes, mulling over which beer to select. Later that evening after a long day in the heat, he opens the beer and scans the label as he begins to drink it. The words, “Nyet Alcoholic” suddenly jumps out at him. Ahhh, I can’t help but to laugh. Yesterday for lunch we bought food at that grocery and ate at the park across from our hotel (see picture below).

A little about Griffin… we’ve figured out his schedule and I must say it’s very “parent friendly”! 

7:00 – 8:00 a.m.  Wakes in the morning and eats breakfast #1 (formula)

9:30 – 10:30 a.m. Eats breakfast #2

10:30 – 11:30 a.m.  Sleeps  (Jesse’s time to go downstairs for internet use)

12:30 – 1:30 p.m.  Eats lunch

3:30 p.m.  Eats pre-nap snack (formula)

4:00 – 6:00 p.m.   Sleeps  (Amy’s time to go downstairs for internet use)

7:00 – 8:00 p.m.  Eats dinner

9:30 p.m. Eats pre-bedtime (formula)

10:00 p.m. Bedtime

Jesse here – I had to interject a quick comment.  Notice anything interesting with this schedule?  Yes, our youngest child is either eating, planning on eating, or sleeping.  The ‘tick’ will be a nick name that may stick for awhile…

Griffin’s food issues are challenging but expected. He has no control over his eating, yet. He will not stop on his own, which means that we must remove food from his sight.  Actually, we’ve started trying to time it so we’re all finished eating at the same time. He freaks out if we’re eating and he doesn’t have something.  We allow him to carry his snack cup full of Cheerios in hopes of providing comfort. Ben and Kerry said Liam did the same thing for a couple of weeks as well.

As Jesse said in the last post, we’ve seen the new passport and it’s correct. It’s traveling long distances throughout Kazakhstan for the required stamps. We’re hoping it will arrive in Bayan’s (our coordinator) hands on Tuesday morning.  If so, we go back to the Embassy on Tuesday afternoon and then home on Wednesday.  Our fingers and toes are crossed!

I want to tell everyone how much we've enjoyed reading your comments.  Not only it is great that so many people are reading the blog and following along with us on this journey, but your comments of support and humor are very comforting and a constant reminder of how many people we have supporting us back home.  Thanks so much!