John: Today was mostly fun, but we also had a bit of an unintended adventure!  We had planned for some food shopping, so this time I went with Inna to the oft-mentioned Viola store for some supplies. We had invited her to stay for lunch and an episode of Sex and the City when we have found out she was a fan. This all went fine, and it was nice to have some new company. As Anne said, (not me), 'we're getting tired of looking at each other's faces every day.' Of course, I said 'I NEVER get tired of looking at your face, honey! :-) Before letting Inna go, we made tentative plans for dinner on Friday at the Rainbow for shachlich (kabobs), which is something they do really, really well here. One last trip to the Rainbow before we leave!

After their afternoon bottle, we looked outside, and for the first time in a looong time, it was sunny! Anne immediately said, we should go for a walk, and I couldn't agree fast enough! We packed everyone up, took off, and had just a great walk! We went all the way to the city square, about 25 minutes from our place. We took pictures, enjoyed the city, and had great people watching. Well, being her father's daughter, Anne felt something awry in the weather, looked up and said 'maybe we should start heading home.' I looked up and said, 'whoa boy, I'm thinking we should look for some nearby shelter!' We got maybe ten steps before it started drizzling, then maybe ten more before the skies opened up and just started pouring! We got to the tsum mall across the street, which was closed, but had an overhang which we could stand under. We figured we'd wait it out since the rain was so heavy, but after 10 minutes, it was raining even more, and with no signs of slowing! Ok, so in our new roles as parents, we've gotten pretty good at preparing the kids, but seem to have forgotten about doing little things like, oh, bringing even one tenge of cash, or Inna or Oleg's phone number, or a little Russian dictionary. So there we are in the pouring rain unable to call anyone, don't know our address, have no money, no phone numbers, and couldn't communicate the simplest thing to a taxi driver. The rain slowed to a steady rain rather than a downpour, and Anne finally said, 'well, should we make a run for it?' She took off her jean jacket, bundling Maya in it, and I zipped up my Gore-Tex jacket (my every day jacket, no foresight here!) around Daniel and we took off down the street in the rain. The kids did GREAT! The only time either one balked at all was when we were initially standing around hoping the rain would stop and Daniel got cranky being bored from standing still. When we got in the apartment, the kids were in a GREAT mood, laughing and giggling! Anne said, 'well, this bodes well for our future of camping and hiking with the kids!' 

Anne:

IT'S NEVER GONNA STOP RAINING HERE!!!    OK, I just had to get that out of my system.  I love a rainy day or two-- it's a great excuse for curling up and reading a book or doing all those house projects you've been meaning to get to... but after ten days I'm a little nutty!  So like John said, we saw those blue skies and we were out the door!  Who knew more storm clouds lurked around the corner? 

It was Constitution Day yesterday and today was also a holiday.  So there were lots of people in the park and on the square-- lots others were also dashing for shelter!  Of course, if it had been just the two of us we wouldn't have blinked an eye.  But here we are with our newly adopted babies in the RAIN, breaking many rules of Kazakh parenting, I'm sure.  And as John mentioned, unprepared for ourselves with tenge, etc., but with warmly dressed children who were then also quickly covered with their parents' jackets.  In the photos below I would like you to note the sopping wet parents and the perky, dry children.  And it's true-- they loved it!  So now I'm picturing hikes through the Amazon rain forest one day... John is rolling his eyes!

The other thing about this 100% humidity is that nothing dries.  Maria does laundry for us when we have a big load saved up, but the turn around time is about two or three days since she also does not have a dryer.  We had been hand-washing the things that we needed clean quickly like baby clothes and bed sheets.  When things would no longer dry on the balcony, we hung them in the bathroom and turned the fan on them.  Yesterday the fan died!  So yesterday I just had to bite the bullet and wash my only truly warm long-sleeved shirt because it had layers of baby spit up on it. It's still wet!  Tomorrow I may have to take a blow dryer to it!

I stayed up late last night finishing The Life of Pi.  It's a good read-- however, I don't think the story about a guy stranded on a lifeboat had an especially positive effect on my cooped up spirits!  We're whittling down our pile of books and passing them on to Inna as we finish them. 

Well, it's pretty late, the kids just went to bed, and John is starting his nightly mosquito hunt.  He has discovered that hairspray stuns them enough to be whacked with his special mosquito-killing cardboard.  I give him a hard time, but truly they are vicious here.  We've managed to avoid using the scary fumigator thing that was recommended. 

Oh, yeah-- thanks for all the friendly inquiries about my ankle!  It has turned several lovely shades of purple and is sore in the mornings, but is feeling much better-- thanks!  As you've heard, I was able to hotfoot it quite a distance today in the rain with baby in tow!  I think I'm definitely on the mend!

Miss you all--

Going out for a walk! Woohoo!

Hey, those clouds don't look so good.

Under the overhang, far, far from home.

That was fun! Let's do it again!