This is Katia, Annika and Steve, attempting to fill Molli’s big blog-writing shoes as she spends a week with Sasha in Almaty.
Molli arrived last Friday morning in Almaty and then met up with Sasha and Masha Friday night. We had wondered how Sasha would handle leaving the orphanage. We wondered if he would cling to the only life he’s known, the only friends he’s had, and the only caregivers who have nurtured him. As it turns out, when Masha picked him up at the orphanage on Friday to take him to Almaty, he took her hand, started walking, and never looked back.
Molli, Sasha and Masha spent Friday evening together, and then Masha left early the next morning, leaving Molli and the Sash-meister alone to figure out how they were going to spend the week ahead of them before coming home.
The breakfast buffet guests on Saturday morning witnessed a funny scene. Molli got Sasha a plate of food and set it on the table in front of Sasha while she went to get some food for herself. When she got back, Sasha had already eaten half of his food. Not only that, but he had eaten half of his hard-boiled egg, including the shell! He looked up at her with a smile, flakes of egg shell dangling from his lips. Figuring that some juice would help Sasha wash down the shell, Molli gave him a sip. Unfortunately, a little went the wrong way, and back out it went . . . along with the egg and egg shell, splattered across the table.
I get the sense from Molli that Sasha would be immensely entertaining if you weren’t trying to overcome an 11 hour time change and a very difficult foreign language, and keep him out of trouble. He likes to pretend the bathroom is a phone booth. On the first night in the hotel, Molli and Masha overheard him saying on his toy cellphone, “Hello papa, it’s me. I’m here. Come get me.” Then after he had gone quiet for a few minutes, Molli went into the bathroom and found that he had disconnected the shower hose from the plumbing in the shower.
Since that morning, Mol and Sasha have spent a lot of quality time together, filling their days with meals, bathroom breaks, walks, an occasional tantrum, an even more occasional nap (Sasha has a very strong preference for napping only in the stroller, while his mother is showing him around Almaty), and a couple visits to the U.S. Embassy. On Monday, they went to the Embassy for Sasha’s physical. Mol was a little concerned after she saw two children come out of the doctor’s office crying, but Sasha got thru the exam, including the blood draw, without a fuss.
Tuesday, they returned to the Embassy for their exit interview, which went off without a hitch, so they were ready to come home . . . if they could get a flight. We didn’t think they’d be able to, because there’s only one flight per day from Almaty to Amsterdam (where their connecting flight was leaving from), and we had learned earlier from Northwest that no spots were available on the Wednesday KLM flight out of Almaty (NWA doesn’t fly out of Almaty). Mol was pleasantly surprised to hear that they could in fact get seats on the flight out of Almaty, potentially getting them home two days early! Unfortunately, though there was room on the KLM flight out of Almaty, Northwest didn’t have any space on any of its flights from Amsterdam to Minnesota. What’s more, because Sasha didn’t have a U.S. passport yet (just a Kazakhstan passport with a visa to travel to the U.S.), he wouldn’t be able to leave the airport for the two days but instead would have to wait in the terminal for his connecting flight on Friday. So . . . they’ll be leaving Almaty Friday morning, and getting to Minnesota Friday mid-afternoon.
We just talked to Mol and Sasha (and Nana Mary, too) through the miracle of Skype. Sasha usually answers the phone, and after I’ve exhausted my vocabulary by using the three phrases I know (“how are you?”, “say ‘awesome’” and “do you want M&M’s?”) and asked where his mom is, he puts the receiver to her ear and promptly begins pressing all of the buttons on the phone. He got back on the phone toward the end of our conversation tonight and, since Molli had told us about how she had bought him a “horse” (really a camel, but let’s not split hairs), asked him where his horse was. So of course, he put the phone to the horse’s ear . . .
We hope all is well with you. Thanks for your support.
Katia, Annika and Steve