[Once more a big thank you to DM for supplying illustrations for this blog]
It was just another day. The small basketball court beside my apartment building acquired a green outdoor carpet and became a small soccer pitch. More railings were being painted and sidewalks torn up to be replaced with interlocking stones. The outdoor bazaar has indeed moved but no one can tell us where it has gone. It may not have been a holiday here today but there is one fast approaching and preparations are underway. From what we can understand it is the “Day of Capital” and used to be in June but is now on July 6 to coincide with President Nazerbayev’s birthday.
There’s a detailed description of all the festivities on the Astana city website that Sarah, one of my fellow mums, showed me at her place. For some reason I can’t access the website from my computer but I am providing the link here in case someone reading this blog can get to it. If you can, please see if you can make head or tails of it and tell me what’s going on. While we have tried ourselves, I believe what is written there is the output of the worst machine translation ever.
Here’s another link to some background to the day that is far more comprehensible and cynical:
I didn’t see KMG today (because it’s Sunday). I think this coming week is going to be the hardest yet. I am definitely ready to take her out of the baby house. I had been anxious before about where to put her to sleep (there’s no crib in the apartment) and what to feed her (the boxes of cereal and formula are all in Russian). But these worries are all becoming secondary now to my desire to start being her parent. One day last week, one of the stern nurses allowed me to feed her. Kiana didn’t seem to be hungry and resisted being fed. I spent a good five minutes and then gave up. I lifted her up out of her high chair and started to leave. The stern nurse commanded me to stop, ordered another caregiver to take KMG, put her back in her high chair and feed her more food. Again she resisted, so the stern nurse herself took over and force fed her. I stood by trying very hard to display neutral body language. It’s hard to supress one’s opinions about things like feeding babies, even the opinions you didn’t know you had.
Yesterday the nice nurse was back and my translator happened to have come with me. As I was feeding KMG (who was hungry and ate every last bit of her food) the nurse told my translator that they’ve been afraid I’m angry at them for dipping into Kiana’s diaper stash. I had suspected for a while now that I was supplying diapers for more than just Kiana and I didn’t mind at all. I was surprised that they thought they’d offended me and realized I really have to work harder at my neutral body language.
My translator had come with me so that I could say goodbye to Kiana’s doctor who is leaving on holiday. I gave her a gift (more on gifts in another post) and asked her to write something for Kiana. (This – having caregivers write something for your child – is just one of the many ideas that adoptive parents have come up with. Another is buying eighteen gifts from the country of origin – one for each birthday. I haven’t done this yet.) So the doctor wrote a note and I could tell that it was heartfelt and I was touched. I have looked at it several times since and have absolutely no idea what it says.