Anne:

Limland is a pretty happy place today!  This in spite of the fact that our running water has been on and off for the past 24 hours (we think they are fixing the pipes).  All seems to be OK now, though, and we just got back from a really wonderful walk... warm (no jackets!) and sunny!

Today was the first day of school.  As we walked toward the park and the main square, we noticed all of the children walking with their parents, dressed in suits and dresses.  Some of the girls were wearing these uniforms that were like French maid outfits... we remember seeing this on our friends' Bruce and Joann's website, also!  A lot of the younger girls were wearing very large, puffy bow-things in their hair.  A lot of people were buying and carrying flowers, also.  Not sure what that was for-- we'll have to ask Inna when we talk to her later.  There were many families and groups of young people in the park eating ice cream, riding the rides, talking on the park benches.  It was so wonderful to see everyone out on a beautiful day!

Our plan had been to get some inexpensive umbrella strollers here once we had custody of the kids.  Then we had all those cold, rainy days and it didn't seem worth it (frankly, we didn't think we would ever get outside again)!  But since we have been walking the last few days and using the hip carriers, the kids really seem to love them, and we can walk long distances with them, too.  They both actually fell asleep in them on the way home!

We found out this morning that a new couple arrived here in Kokshetau late yesterday.  We don't have any information about them yet (Inna will fill us in later), but we're looking forward to meeting them.  It will be nice to have some new folks to talk to and maybe go out for kebabs with!

Hope you all are well-- we miss you!

John:

Boy, you never appreciate running water as much as when you don't have it! The water was out for maybe 5 hours last night so we couldn't wash the dishes. My biggest concern was that it wouldn't be back by the morning, resulting in no clean bottles to feed the kids, resulting in very unhappy kids, Daniel totally freaking out, and of course, unhappy adults. It kicked back in around midnight, so I quickly washed the bottles, but the water was yucky and brown. I let it run a few minutes, and it did clear up, we were ok. It was still running in the morning, so everyone was happy. But just before Anne was going to hop in the shower, it was out again! I joked to Anne that we could look for a big water canister and wheel it to the corner water pump like we see some of the locals doing! But there was a part of me that feared the worst, and also a part of me that felt really bad for those people who really did have to do that regularly! The water has been fine since then, and I should really add reliable running water to the list of things that I won't take for granted any more!

Daniel is so happy and fun when he is well fed and rested. But he seems to be hungry and tired so frequently! Anne said to me 'see what I have to put up with?' (meaning with me!). I think she was joking, but I'm not totally sure. :-)

Speaking of which, I'm really looking forward to going out for shachlich (kabobs) at the Rainbow tomorrow night! I hope it works out with everyone's schedule considering the new couple just arrived in town. Although if we can just get a sitter, I think we can figure out how to say 'pork' and 'water', which may be all we need to have a good dinner! And I hope I'll have time for a quick nap beforehand! ;-)

 

 

Daniel enjoys his broccoli!

Enjoying a walk through the park!

Bows and flowers to celebrate the first day of school

Schoolgirls in uniform

Soviet-era monument and fall flowers

Large Lenin (we think he's too big to take down, but we think the wreaths at his feet are interesting!)

Playing in the fountain

All dressed up for the first day of school!

Local fruit sellers on every corner!

It looked like a moth but moved like a hummingbird...

Daniel takes in the sights...

...and enjoys some shut-eye!