I can not thank you all enough for your kind words of encoragement. It means a lot to us that you are are still hanigning in there with us on this epic journey. You are all correct in that we are so close to the finish line and at least now we know where it is. Today our big adventure was getting to leave the Baby house to go and get his passport photos. To put it in perspective the only other time he was ever in a car was to be moved from the maternity hospital to the baby house. He did wonderful and was very interested in this new adventure. He was relaxed and curious and I am so glad as it gives me confidence that he will do pretty good on our long journey home. The other big thing is that he is getting really good at cuddling. He is liking to be held more and more. As far as return dates, John is still up in the air as he really does not want to leave us early. Heidi if you are reading this please feel free to share your thoughts with us by e-mai. It looks like Baby bug and I will be leaving on June 12th or 13th depending on the time of the flights. I will definately post this information as soon as I hear back from the travel agent.
So on a different note I thought that I would write a bit of advice for future travelers to Kazakhstan.
1. Learn as much Russian as you can, it will greatly increase your experience here. I used Pimsler language program and we have the lonely planet phrase book.
2. Make friends with locals.
3. Bring shoes that are easy to slip on and off because you must take your shoes off almost everywhere.
4. If you are comming in mid to late May plan on it being stifeling hot.
5. We were told the people here don’t wear jeans or shorts, this just is not true. However people here do dress nicely, so the jeans are clean and designer not ratty. Sun dresses are in as well as pretty skimpy 80’s style clothes. So if you have really been dying to wear that min-skirt and leg warmers with high heals again, this is your big chance!
6. Plan to be here a very long time, if you are here less great, but don’t expect it.
7. Despite what your agency might tell you, if you are on a tight budget and can hold your own there are inexpensive apartments you can rent by the week. It helps if you can read Russian to prevent being taken advantage of. Translating the classifieds is how we learned to read.
8. Don’t go out after dark and don’t go into places that don’t have a lot of people around.
9. Be open to trying new things, especialy foods.
10. When you order a pastry look forward to the adventure of finding out what is inside. It will never be quite what you expected.
11. If you are on a budget don’t eat at resturants at the Atrium. It is good but the prices are the same as at home. We save eating there for very special occasions.
12. Never leave home with out some sort of pocket dictionary or translator, a small note book and a pen. This makes communication possible and helps you see why pictionary is an important game to prepare one for traveling.
13. If you plan to adopt an infant, bring a baby bajorn, it is worth its weight in gold.
14. Bring a blanket for your child as the baby houses will not let them lay on the carpet and the blanket will be a familiar item by the end of your adventures.
15. If you are adopting a child that is speaking age learn the phrases from "Russian for Adoptive parents" Do this before you come. It is too hard to learn on the spot.
15. Bring more money that you think you will need. If you are wondering why refer back to #6.
I hope this helps some one somewhere who will be here in the future.