Once again, we have made the long journey from the US to Kazakhstan, arriving in Almaty around 1:00am this morning. We grabbed a shower, a few hours sleep and a hot breakfast in the Kazhol Hotel, were back at the airport 11 hours later to travel on to Ust-K. Our Air Astana flight from Almaty to Ust was very pleasant, just 90 minutes and no delays so we got in on time at 2:00pm, were met by Alma and her staff. After a brief chat with Alma, we were driven to “our” apartment which Yulia's mom is once again graciously lending to us...how lucky can you get? We found the apartment warm and the refrigerator stocked with food...it's good to be in our home away from home!
Our trip was pretty uneventful unless you count the adventure we had with the fishing rod Craig brought as a gift for our friend, Jenya. We hand carried the rod onto the plane from Boston but when we got to Frankfurt, we were told by security it had to be checked as luggage. This resulted in us trekking around the airport at 6:30am looking for baggage services where they wrapped it in plastic wrap to protect it. Then we stood in line to check the rod in, then we had to go back through security again. Oh, well...since we had an 8 hour layover, this gave us something to do to pass some time...and we saw quite a bit more of the airport, getting our exercise in the process. Our luggage issues continued when we checked into our flight from Almaty to Ust. For the first time ever, we had to pay an additional fee because our luggage exceeded the weight limits...we brought an extra bag with clothes for the boys and some gifts so we weren't too surprised that we were over the limit and the fee wasn't awful. If these are the biggest problems we have on this trip, we'll be happy.
Craig somehow developed a full-blown cold on the flight from Frankfurt to Almaty...good thing I packed plenty of cold medicine...and we're really tired but otherwise, we're fine. Tomorrow, we will rest and prepare for court. Alma says she'll pick us up around 7:30am on Friday and we'll drive to Ridder; our court hearing is scheduled for 11am (midnight at home) so while you're all sleeping, we'll be pleading our case for our adoption of the boys. It's funny...I don't look much like her, but these days I feel Zena, Warrior Princess preparing to go into battle. (I am armed now with almost 600 pages of documentation...our new dossier, a copy of our new dossier, and a copy of the original dossier we filed in 2007 when we began this process...all these papers are in my carry-on bag and would make a dandy weapon just by their weight alone.) Wish us luck and the strength to face the battle ahead!