Hello, all--

We had a great day today!  First of all, it's amazing what a full night's sleep and no travel can do for a person!  Also, I got to have a cup of kofye this morning.  I will say that I think Nescafe is my punishment for being a coffee addict in a tea-drinking part of the world, but I have learned that the secret is to drink it with a lot of milk and sugar.

We had a wonderful visit with Daniel and Maya-- a full 2 1/2 hours this morning.  We opened the morning with John's first diaper change.  He looks pretty nervous in the picture here, but he did great!  I will tell you that the diaper was not just wet and that we have more pictures to prove that, but we thought that would put us over the edge into the category of psycho parents, so we will spare you.  We spent the rest of the time playing, listening to music (John had Mozart going on the iPod), playing bouncy, jumpy games, looking at pictures of the family, looking at books.  In the two days we have been here we still have yet to hear them cry.  We are probably jinxing ourselves by saying this, but is it possible that we just have two extremely good-natured kids??? We ended our visit with them falling asleep in our arms, which was wonderful!!

After our visit we went to lunch with Oleg and Inna, our driver and interpreter, to a traditional Russian/Kazakh restaurant.  We tried some of the local beer, salad and meat dishes.  John's salad was made with beef, mayo, and cheese.  I told him I didn't really think that qualified as a salad, but he said he thought in Wisconsin it would.  Then we went to check out an apartment which is now open.  I think we will probably move there on Monday.

This evening we went for a walk around town.  For the second night in a row there was a dance rehearsal out on the square for the presidential entertainment.  The Kazakh president is coming to Kokshetau for a visit on August 18th (same as our court date), and apparently there is going to be a big show.  Tonight it was a rehearsal in full costumes-- incredibly beautiful!  It looks like there will be dance numbers from the different ethnic groups that live in Kazakhstan.  The music and colors and movements are just wonderful.  We want to try to send you a short video of the dancing, but it depends on whether or not we figure out how to do it.

Love to all!



I think Anne has summarized our day nicely. Let me just add that changing that big, poopy, messy diaper was the highlight of my day. It was also quite a treat to happen upon 50 beautiful young ladies dancing in traditional costume while we were out for a stroll! Oh, just one more thing - ANNE said today, 'Boy, this iPod is the best thing we could have brought with us!'

I swear I smell poop every time I look at this picture!

John's First Diaper Change!!

Making Maya Laugh

Kisses for Daniel

Plotting Our Escape...

Kazakh Dancers Practicing for the President


Click here for Video of Kazakh Dancers (2.8MB Quicktime)