Week 5

Officially a parent – funny, it doesn’t feel any different!

Radio silence has been due to lack of internet connection not anything else. Today was the day that the court decision becomes final and I am officially a mummy, at least in Kazakhstan, so we went out to the usual place, the Maslenitsa (remember the pancake house across the road), to celebrate and had the usual… did I mention Ground Hog Day before?

The end of the appeal period hopefully means that all the documentation can be picked up tomorrow, we go to sign the register and a new birth certificate is issued which allows the passports to be applied for. We had a good meeting with our co-ordinator who has arrived to start the new paperwork chase and have decided that we will probably head for Almaty next Friday, 15th December. With a following wind, we will get the passports on Monday morning of 18th and clear the UK Embassy in the afternoon and head back to London on 19th. That requires all the paperwork/documents to arrive in the quickest possible time. I’ll leave you to decide whether I think that’s likely. The back-up plan is to return on 23rd December.

[Editor’s note: Ha ha ha ha haa…… it wasn’t much of a back up plan as it turned out]

Many of the children in the babyhouse have developed colds and they are trying to stop it spreading so we are all on infection control measures. Everyone has to wear masks in the same room as the children, only carers can feed the children, no outdoor coats or shoes to be near the children. I can absolutely understand their need to control the spread of the virus but when you have a child with a cold who is grumpy, trying to keep a surgical mask on when he is trying to pull it off is a challenge. I also find it increasingly difficult to do as I’m told (I know some of you will find that very hard to believe) particularly as I have got to know Daniel’s little ways now better than his current carers as they have only had him a few days. They don’t know that he likes a drink of water in between meals and I’m not allowed to bring him in anything (infection control again) and I think he needs a biscuit between his breakfast and lunch and he needs more of a nap in the mornings as he is generally tired and crotchety then. I so much want to get him home now and get him into a routine as soon as possible. Spending this time here with him has been invaluable and hopefully he will transition much better now that he really knows me. But I’m ready to leave now. NOW!

My Mother

My mother has been good for entertainment value on the trip so far and I am considering charging our travel partners for the pleasure of her company. She has finally got to grips with the snow and is leaping like a gazelle from icy mound to icy mound (sort of). She has decided that Aine is much kinder to her than I am and is planning formal proceedings to adopt her here and renounce me. Aine is going along with this on the promise of inheriting her huge estate or as she describes it – “my large central London flat”. Aine, not knowing London, doesn’t realise that a 1.5 bedroom flat in Mortlake isn’t exactly a penthouse flat on Park Lane and I haven’t had the heart to break it to her. Mum is practising her Russian intensively and in 10 days has got as far as “spaseeba Alexei” (thank you Alexei) to our driver but I think her accent needs working on as Aine thought she said “See ya Monday” and wondered where my mother was going for the weekend. I’m beginning to think that my mum and Aine could be soul mates.

Sad to say Mum is still blubbing though slightly less regularly than before. Weirdly, it seems to be confined to breakfast time in the hotel dining room which of course isn’t at all public, no siree. I find banging her head on the table helps.

As an old hand with 10 days under her belt she is reminiscing like a good ‘un about when National Geographic Channel was in English (sadly now dubbed into Russian) and counting the days down before going home.

What a lightweight!

Those of us who are starting our 5th week are not impressed. We are looking forward to the relative sophistication of Almaty and as it seems to be warmer than Ust, we are hoping there is not too much snow on the ground so that Mum can get around without two escorts. Her escorts are required to stop her practising for the UK Winter Olympics figure skating team. IAlmaty are bidding for it in 2011 so I think she is hoping for a place then. I think someone is coming out at the crack of dawn and carefully polishing the ice on the shiny granite steps in front of the hotel, especially for her to practice on. How kind.

Mum has also made friends with the lady behind the deli counter at the supermarket across the road, don’t ask me how they communicate as Mum has no Russian and this lady has no English. They don’t even seem to stick to pointing and finger waving. Mum explains very carefully in English what she fancies for lunch and the Kazakh lady explains in detail (in Russian) what’s in all the unidentifiable things in the fridge and they smile knowingly at each other and Mum comes away with her lunch, which of course is always a surprise. I have this overwhelming urge to video the whole performance from behind a pillar as I’m sure it could be the basis of a fascinating anthropological study and is quite the most surreal but sweet conversation I’ve ever witnessed.



Daniel was back in pink today with a white lace collar and flowery pink fleecy trousers, He moaned and moped all morning and I couldn’t help feeling that the two situations were linked.




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