February 24th - Day 14: Emil meets his Uncle Robin
Well, Dave definitely has something.
What started as a crumby cold with congestion, a cough, and a sore throat
has turned into nausea and an over-functioning digestive tract
if you know
what I mean. Were assuming that
its not food poisoning as weve all pretty much been eating the same thing
and the rest of us are fine. Its
either a bug that he brought with him or something that weve all been exposed
to and is hitting him harder. He lay
low all day today, spending most of it on the couch or in bed.
While he hasnt eaten much, hes been drinking water and ginger ale
(we found some Schweppes at the new supermarket!), and taking Immodium.
It seems to be helping; now he just feels weak.
Were hoping that after another good nights sleep, hell be
feeling much better tomorrow.
So, since Dave wasnt able to go to the baby house
today, I called the interpreter to see if Robin could come with me instead.
She said that that would be fine. We
were thrilled! Emil finally got to
meet his Uncle Robin! At the baby
house, I pointed out the entrance to the room where Emil would be if he were
currently with the rest of his group (group #2).
(They are keeping him in isolation for the remainder of his time here so
he wont be at risk for getting sick again from the rest of the kids.)
I also showed him the general area where Emils isolation room is.
We went upstairs and waited for Emil in the music room.
They brought him in right away and said that hed been waiting for
us! (This is at least the second
or third time theyve said this! Its
a great feeling!) He was happy to
see us and showed no anxiety at all about having Robin there.
Emil was immediately interested in Robins unshaven beard, whiskers,
glasses, and all the hair on his head. I
had thought he might have been a little guarded at first, not being accustomed
to men and not having Dave in the room, but he was absolutely fine
Emil has gotten more and more vocal.
Today he was babbling non-stop. He
coos, gargles, does the raspberry thing with the lips (why is that called
raspberries by the way?), laughs, shrieks, giggles and cries.
Its amazing! He was
virtually silent when we first met him a week ago and now he is so talkative!
Robin really got him going by bouncing him on his lap and lifting him up
and down on his leg. A big hit!
We learned some more about the welding situation.
(The welders have been working on the pipes in the buildings basement
since Monday to try to get us all some hot water.)
Apparently, the welders are hired by the government.
Even when the building is privately owned, the government provides the
labor to do the repairs. The
apartment owners and renters pay for this through some sort of a condominium
association fee that goes right to the government.
The welders usually show up around 10, work for a couple of hours, have
lunch for a couple of hours, and leave by 3 or 4.
Needless to say, it doesnt look like well be getting any hot water
for the rest of our stay!
Between visits, Masha took us to the Museum (dont know
the complete name). Its a
beautiful building, apparently renovated with oil company money, and everything
is very nicely displayed. The
exhibits included everything from arrows and vessels found from the stone age
right up to modern day events. Apparently,
they even used to have a yurt set up so that you could see what a real one
looked like, inside and out. Unfortunately
for us, its no longer on display.
Some interesting things I learned were that the Kazakhs
were originally European in appearance and that the first infusion of Asian
blood was from China,
and Korea. The Mongolian characteristics that
are so prevalent today didnt appear until Genghis Khan (sp?) came through the
territory. The Czar (sp?) repressed
people by restricting their ability to move from place to place with their
herds as they were accustomed. The
people objected to this and started many uprisings.
Stalin, in fact, strictly prohibited the movement of the Kazakhstanis
and, as a result, many people died since they were not able to move with their herds in search of better pasture
and greater water supply.
Another interesting thing that I learned was the symbolism
of the Kazakhstan
emblem and flag. The cross in the
center is what the top of a yurt looks like when you peel back the cap and look
right down on it; its a symbol of hospitality.
The rays that go out from the center represent friendship.
The horses on either side with wings and a horn symbolize the ability to
dream. And, the eagle flying under
the emblem on the flag represents freedom.
It was a great museum with fascinating things to learn; I
plan to go back to take pictures of the things we were most interested in
(batteries died while we were there).
Note: If I dont get the
pictures before we update the website, check back later for a revised entry for
this date. I'll also double check my facts
on the history info. (Pictures to post:
yurt, ceremonial costume, everyday attire, camels carrying load, Igors
grandfather, wedding dress, emblem, flag, decorative jewelry and head gear,
After our afternoon visit, Igor took us to see the
outside of Baby House #1, where the Andrews (our travel partners) son is.
Its much larger than the one where Emil is and has as least twice as
many children. We also got to see
(#2) where Emil was born. It was
definitely a tender moment for me to think that this was where Emil came into
the world. I wish Dave could have
been there; hopefully, he will have an opportunity to see it when he feels
Sierra was such a good sport about seeing her Uncle Robin
go to the baby house today. I spoke
with the director (via Masha) and asked if there was any way Sierra could come
and meet Emil. She said that maybe
Saturday but that she would let me know. She
reiterated that, even though Emil is much better, there are still other children
in the orphanage who are sick and she is concerned for Sierras well being.
Now that the sun is back out, its bitter cold again but
Sierra and I still went out to play. I
discovered a playground not too far from our apartment building and Sierra went
on everything. Nothing like what
were used to in the
, to be sure, but shes not picky. She
just loves to climb!
As we sign off, we want to let you know how very much it
means to us to hear from you via the guest log.
Ironically it makes us homesick and gives us strength to carry on at the
same time. Your thoughts and
messages are such a wonderful reflection of the love that we feel coming from
family, neighbors, and colleagues and a reminder of what an incredible community
Emil is about to become a part of. We
know he feels your love! He is happy
and hopeful and you are every bit a part of that!
Thank you for your interest, your enthusiasm, your encouragement, your
love, and your prayers
they really make a difference in helping us to feel
connected! May God bless each
and everyone of you and keep you safe and well!
Dave, Amy, Sierra, Emil, and Robin
Gee, Uncle Robin, you're fun!
Maternity Hospital #2 (where Emil was born)
Gymnast in the snow!
Removing snow from the streets