We've arrived safely in Ust-Kamenogorsk once more after a smooth trip. We had no real delays or problems and we've made the the trek so many times now that it feels almost like commuting. We've flown through Frankfurt Airport so often in the past few months (we've been there in October, November, December and January!) that we have our favorite spot to get coffee and were greeted warmly once again by our favorite “coffee lady” there. The lattes were still excellent and provided us with enough fuel to make it through our 7 hour layover and on to the next flight. We arrived in Almaty around 1:00am; we were driven to our hotel by Oleg's dad who asked us if it was our first trip to Kazakhstan...we had to smile at his surprise when we told him it was our 6th trip. We settled in quickly at the Kazhol, luxuriating in hot showers before we settled down to rest for about 6 hours, then we enjoyed the breakfast that's included with the room. By 10:30am, we were back on the road to the airport for our flight to Ust...more coffee at Gloria Jean's, more waiting to board...a lovely Air Astana flight that landed on time in Ust at 2:00pm.
Arman was waiting for us at the airport and there were hugs and warm greetings, then he drove us to Yulia's mom's apartment. Yulia and Jenya were waiting for us there; there were more hugs and kisses, then we dropped our bags in the apartment and all went to the computer store. We wanted to make a gift to the orphanage that would benefit the kids there and the director said this was something they could really use. All the kids take computer classes but they don't have enough equipment. This desktop will supplement the limited supply of computers that they currently have...and it also is fast enough that the kids can play computer games on it during their recreation time.
When we were done computer shopping with Arman and Yulia's help, we went back to Yulia's apartment and Craig set up Yulia and Jenya's new computer (yes, they bought a new system, too!). We were fed a lovely meal of borscht and plov...it's so nice to have family here in Kazakhstan, Yulia's family has so kindly adopted us and they take such good care of us! After dinner, Yulia's Deaf cousin Natasha and her husband Misha stopped by and we had a nice visit with them, too, then it was hugs and kisses and goodbyes in Russian, English, and 2 different sign languages and we walked through the mild night back to “our” apartment which Olga has kindly loaned to us again.
We spent the next hour or so picking out clothes for the boys to wear tomorrow and putting their new clothes and shoes into their new backpacks. It's pretty exciting to think we'll be seeing them tomorrow and bringing them out of the boarding school. Our driver will pick us up at 6am, then it's off to Ridder one last time. We expect to go first to pick up the birth certificates and the adoption decree, then we'll have the documents we need to have the boys released to our care.
It promises to be a beautiful day, temps in the low to mid 20's and sunny, a good day to start a new adventure. We'll arrive with gifts for caregivers and kids alike to show our gratitude to those who have been Aniyar's and Madiyar's family until now...we'll take pictures and pass out our email and snail mail addresses so friends can keep in touch. We'll let the boys decide how to say their goodbyes, then we'll be off to Ust again in search of some fun and celebration. It's the last night that the boys are spending in the orphanage...I wonder what they're feeling right now. Are they scared? Excited? Nervous? All of the above? One day soon, I'll be able to tell them how much I admire their courage in taking this giant leap into a new life with us...and we'll face whatever their feelings are as a family.
I wonder if they're having as much trouble sleeping as I am...