I’m comin’ home; I’ve done my time!

June 25, 2005 Day 1 of Our Journey to America!!

Today is the day! We will pack all morning, slowly, to kill time. We leave on the 13-hour train ride from Arkalyk to Astana at 6:40pm. One of our favorite people will be escorting us “Zhanna” (Habiba’s sister). We should arrive in Astana Sunday morning about 9 am Kaz time (10 p.m. Saturday Chicago time) We will spend the morning/early afternoon in Astana and board our flight to Almaty in the late afternoon. 2 hours later, we will land in Almaty. We have to stay there until the U.S. Embassy issues Gianna her U.S. Passport, clears her medical exam (that we have to get there from a local, approved clinic) and clean up any other paperwork they may need. This process will take anywhere from 5-10 days depending on several factors including: The Fourth of July Holiday (embassy is closed) where the weekend falls as paperwork is shuffled from one place to another and just a bit of luck.

We will be unable to post to the site until late Sunday night (Sunday morning Chicago time) as we will be chugging along on the good ol’ train!
From Sunday afternoon on, we will sort of be back in “civilization” as we have booked a room in one of the best hotels Almaty has to offer. Here we will take a real bath or shower whenever we please. We will enjoy central air conditioning, high speed internet access, balconies, mountain views, a clean change of bedding daily, real restaurants and the two most important things, other Americans and not having to worry about the whole town looking at us as if we were from another planet! I don’t know if I ever mentioned this but, we are sort of an unusual sight here as not many people have ever seen an American here before. We were at the market one-day after court and a friend of Habiba’s (who happened to work for the court) affectionately asked her “if we were the Americans who cried in court?” Honestly the tears were very sincere as we have grown to Love Gianna so much. Later, we did ask Gene and Lisa if they wanted us to attend their court hearing and sit it in the back to be “professional criers” to add some extra effects.

Gianna seems to know something is up, maybe she can sense our enthusiasm. She is strutting around looking anxious and sees us packing bags. When we say “machina” (car” her eyes light up and she heads for the stairs.

The next time we post, we will be in another region. Paka paka, (Bu-bye) Arkalyk!
The way we dressed in Arkalyk... Stays in Arkalyk!
A parting gift from my Kazakh "mother-in-law"
"The first time... Ever I saw your face..."
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