Sunday, May 21, 2006

Sunday, May 21, 2006

We awoke early to the sounds of industrious neighborhood children banging rugs with sticks. Cleaning day. It is Sunday and our visit with the children was from 11:00 to 12:30 instead of the usual school schedule of 3:30 to 5:00 pm. After a tasty breakfast at the Skiff we were off to the lovely hamlet of Arkhangelskaya, enjoying the many potholes created by a particularly severe winter. The short spring and summer here seem to be the only time when road repair seems remotely feasible and the citizens of North Kazakhstan have their work cut out for them this year. We were simultaneously delighted to see the children and exit the car and we headed upstairs for an indoor visit, as it was still pretty chilly when we arrived.

We thought we would try something new today and I first reached into the backpack and brought out the video camera. We thought the kids would like to make a movie of themselves talking or singing or acting something out. We were wrong. They were quite teased by the idea and rampant shyness overwhelmed them when the tape was rolling. Instead they all took turns at cameraman while mom and dad did the singing. Susan had hoped the girls knew some rhyming songs with hand motions like Miss Mary Mack, but this seemed like a foreign concept. Sounds like a project for the Thompson girls to tackle when we get them stateside.

After the video bombed we returned to some familiar things (Leapster, card games, and banana break) and also tried one new game, Tangoes. You know, make a certain shape using several plastic pieces (triangles, a square, and a parallelogram). Rinat liked this very much but the puzzles were harder than they looked. Luckily the answers were on the back of the card, allowing Keith to keep from pulling out what little hair he has left. We took a few photos but Sholpan was not in the mood to have her picture made as she recently was given a haircut, the outcome of which was, clearly, personal dissatisfaction.

For lunch, we ate with Valentina and several others at the Slovenian Inn and then walked back to the Skiff through the park. The park was quite bustling this afternoon as everyone is off from work and school and the fun that comes from a ferris wheel, a moonwalk, go-cart tracks, and innumerable nausea-inducing metal structures swinging and spinning their occupants in all directions transcends culture.


  1. Do the girls in the hut where strollers/carts are rented (located in the park, at the end that's nearest the Skiff) still whistle at Keith when he walks by? Are there still squirrel nuts for sale? (I'm sure a lightbulb went on over Aaron's head just now -- "this could be bigger than deep-fried doughnuts if done right!")

    We have crankypants haircut issues here too. Need I mention who needs a mood adjustment when it is time for nail trimming?

  2. OK, clearly Keith, Jonathan and Aaron and their senses of humor must rendevous in real life at some point in the future.

    Hey, Abby got a haircut, too--must be the international week for such things. She's happy about hers, though. No more falling hair in the yogurt.

    Oh, and Susan, she is really mad at me that I will NOT call you on the phone. She doesz not understand this half-a-world away thing. The pictures are RIGHT HERE. Keith, she must not care about your absence.

  3. Jonathan has an excellent point. Since squirrels are in such large supply here in Virginia, Squirrel Nuts could be a great business. However, since you only get two nuts from each squirrel, it's gonna take a lot of them to fill an 8-ounce shrink wrapped bag. Let me have someone here run some modeling on the business case while I work on names and logos.

  4. I've become accustomed to new pictures each morning and here it is almost one on Monday and no pictures! This is becoming like a good novel when you wonder what is happening to the characters when you are not reading!

    We'll be sure to have dougnuts at coffee fellowship the first Sunday the kids are here which will delight, not only Rinat, but many more too!

    Hope Sholpan is happy with her hairdo - that is such a long face in one of the pictures.

    Confirmation was great yesterday - I pulled off Sunday's pictures for your mom - at last sighting she was showing them off to Catherine Oakes.

    Hope your day has been a good one