We're slowly settling into a routine here that fills our days. We've recovered from jet lag and we wake up each morning rested and ready for our day. Since we can't visit the boys until 3pm because they are in school, we have our mornings free. Yesterday morning, we walked into town in the drizzling rain, did some shopping and then warmed up with caffe lattes at the Korona. The Korona is one of our favorite restaurants in Ust; the entrees are prepared and displayed cafeteria style and all look delicious. You make your selections and the “dyevochka” will warm and serve them to you at a table or package it for take out. We chose two chicken entrees to take home, one with potatoes and the other with mushrooms and cheese. Our next stop was a stall in the market where we bought salads to add to our dinner entrees. Around noon, we took a taxi back to the apartment.
Arman picked us up at 1pm; since his English is excellent, he's able to act as both driver and translator. That worked well for us but not so well for poor Arman who had to drive through intermittent rain and sleet to Ridder. We arrived a bit late for our visit but were greeted warmly. Madiyar was hiding behind a door and jumped out to surprise us. After a quick hug, he ran off to find Aniyar and we headed to the director's office. The director and the official from the Ministry of education joined us for our visit again today. Under law, they are required to be present during our visits in order to assure the courts that we have complied with the bonding requirements for the adoption. In our previous adoptions, the bonding visits were less formal; we would see the director and ministry official but they didn't join us for the duration of each visit. Bonding was usually in a playroom or on the playground and not in the director's office. However, only one other adoption has preceded ours in Ridder and it took place under a different director and ministry official. As a result, this is a new experience for everyone except us. They're being kind to us and we think we;re making a positive impression as they get to know us...but they're dotting every “i” and crossing every “t” as they follow the letter of the law.
Now for the part you're really interested in...the boys! Our 3rd visit was punctuated by hugs and smiles (shy smiles and typical 13 year old boy quick hugs from Madiyar, great grins and fierce squeezes from 10 year old Aniyar); there were also arm wrestling matches, a game of crazy eights, and lots of Game Boy time. Tanya and Max, the boys thank you very much for he loan of your Game Boys. Madiyar likes the Shrek game best and Aniyar likes SuperMario. We ended our visit at 5:15 with more hugs and headed back out into the rain.
It was a long ride on a very dark road in bad weather and we were all exhausted by the time we saw the lights of Ust. We bid Arman good night at our apartment door at 7:30 and turned our thoughts to our dinner. Our take out chicken dishes, spicy salads, cheese, bread, and hot Russian tea were a welcome treat at the end of the day...and things are looking up in spite of the rain here in Kazakhstan.
I know...you're asking where the heck are the pictures and what happened to the day 4 report?? Well, we had a few more technical difficulties and my tech support guy is snoozing in the next room sooo...check back tomorrow for more good news from an even better day. (How's that for a cliffhanger?)