I love Nathan P. Jones. That’s why I married him. It was fifteen years ago and I was 21. People may often here me grumbling or laughing a bit about him. It’s easy because he’s naturally self-depreciating and creates this farcical target of himself. I enjoy laughing at him actually. I find him quite funny. So much so that I remember early on because I laughed too much, he began to question my sense of humor, as if I didn’t really have one because I overused it or something. He laughs at me too and I don’t think I always find the mutual humor either.
The day after we got back from Almaty, Nate turned around and went back to Pavlodar to drop off our passports for another attempt at getting Russian visas. The babes and I stayed behind at the dom in Sharbakti. Because we’d been away for over a week, we needed to make a trip to the marketplace to replenish our food and supplies. I was tired and weak, but I packed up thebabes and we took our 25minute walk to the center. First stop was the bank as Nate had taken all the money we had for his quick trip to Pav. I always worry about the one ATM in the village being out of service at the time when we desperately need money. It’s happened before – but I was prompted the last time I withdrew money to get extra to tuck away in case that happened. I didn’t have extra tenge this time and sure enough, the bank had changed locations and wasn’t quite up to full function yet. UGH!!! Immediately the anti-Natee thoughts started (I wasn’t laughing) In Semey, as we were walking past a bank with an ATM, I asked him whether we needed to withdraw money. He said no.
I checked the coin zipper of my wallet and found that I had a little over 500tenge (1USD=120T) so I went to the little renyck where a few local women sale things from their farm/garden and purchased 8 eggs (150T) and 1 liter of milk (75T) and then to the nearby store to get two loaves of bread (110T) and then we stopped at the ‘halfway market', which is on the way home, to get four liters of fizzy water (200T). We made eggs sprinkled with fresh dill (I bought dill in Almaty) and ate bread. I still had root veggies (potatoes & beets) around and cabbage in the fridge so I made borst later that afternoon.
While I was walking home from the center marketplace with my few items (you should have seen how long my shopping list was!) my feelings toward Nate evened out a bit. He was in Pavlodar after all, returning later that afternoon, and I could email him to get extra money there. Really, all these emotions began roiling the night before when, at 8pm, we finally got home from our week and a half trip to southern KZ and we couldn’t get the front door to our dom open. There was an auxiliary lock we hadn’t known about. It was raining lightly and Nathan had to hurry over to Valya’s, cutting through the potato fields to the street behind us, for help. Valya was at work but eventually his wife Sveta came over with the key and opened it up for us. Nathan stepped inside first and called out a sympathetic warning, “Prepare yourself!” As I moved into the kitchen I saw that all the kitchen cupboards & countertops had been gutted and all our stuff deposited on the nearby table. What!? I hit rock bottom. Who removes the cupboards, unannounced, in a functioning kitchen? I was soooo looking forward to getting back into ‘mykitchen’ and cooking all the abundant, gorgeous veggies we’d been seeing as we traveled about – it’s harvest time!! As we walked throughout the house we discovered that two other pieces of furniture had been removed and our stuff left lying about. Arghhhh!!! I was really upset. Nate was great and had jumped right in to clean up and unpack. We had Russian equivalent ramen noodles for dinner.
A couple days before, as we were checking into the hotel in Semey, Nathan began chatting with another traveler. He was German and so Nathan reverted into that language to communicate and share travel stories, all the while transitioning into Russian to reply to the woman checking us into the hotel. It was athletic! My lingual universe is starkly mono. Des asked some sort of question about what Nate was saying and I began to explain how his daddy spoke German as well as Russian, and then I went on to have one of those conversations where one brazenly, because there is love, exults.
The other night over pizza we were chatting with Des about school and intelligence. I said to Des that his daddy was very smart, and Nathan of course, corrected me quickly, “I’m not smart – I just try really hard and don’t give up.”
That’s perhaps the most decent thing I’ve heard him say about himself. And I was glad Des and Zoe were sitting right there to hear it.
This week marked 6months for us, so far from all of you. Booohooohooo . . .