Friday, May 29, 2009

Dos Vadanya

Woke at 5am this morning – FRIDAY! I can’t believe the day has come. I looked out toward the steppe last night, and the land and I spoke. We came to an understanding. How could one not when the evening was so warm and breezy and scented with lilac? The sun was setting and the cows had just come home and the children were in and out of their gates and my neighbor down the street was at the well filling her buckets and my family had just eaten and we were rosy and happy after a full spring day outside. Our last full day.

I smiled.

Goodbye good place. My 16months are up. I did it.

Goodbye lace curtain that hangs in our doorway. The flies usually found their way in anyway, but I loved feeling that the great outdoors was a cool, smooth walk through you.

Goodbye old sink with the prodigious drip. I am being generous. I really thought it was mean of you to grudge us free flowing water.

Goodbye Sultanat. Thank you for being our friend. Go forth with that flour tortilla recipe and the Indigo Girls strumming in your head.

Goodbye butter made-fresh from hardworking hands.

Goodbye big open sky – you thrilled mydaughter with your alternating populations of clouds, moon, sunsets and those big black&white birds. She couldn’t take her eyes from you.

Goodbye fizzy water. Will icecubes sufficiently satisfy us with your flat counterpart?

Goodbye market merchants. Thanks for those occasional smiles and for eventually understanding my Russian. I only speak the language of commerce.

Goodbye general rubbish – my son couldn’t get enough. He has combed the land and brought back enough odds&ends from several households. He loves your old teapots and chipped dinnerware, cigarette boxes and tall green glass bottles. And anything metal.

Goodbye Catholic Church friends. You must have reserved the entire village supply of smiles. Thank you for overlooking my children’s rudeness. Thank you for always showing us such kindness. We will never forget you.

Goodbye afternoon naps. I was the only one in the house who took them regularly. Worked like a charm – time passed and I am going home.

Goodbye Rosa – Can you know how your constant concern for us made us feel? Your regular phone calls from Pavlodar? We hope all your dreams come true – excellent people like you should have no other fate.

Goodbye $70/mo rent for this 5-room house. We paid off one credit card. 16months of not worrying about money has changed us. We like it. A LOT.

Goodbye lovely vegetable gardens – you’ve caused me to dream new dreams. I can’t get enough of your order, you’re perfectly raised dirt morsels. Rich dark-brown mingled with vibrant green are the fecund colors of the universe!! It makes me drool.

Goodbye Evelyn. You represented what I wanted to be and feel here – positive, happy, alive. Thanks for your freshness, for your thoughtfulness, for coming to see us and bringing SUCH LIGHT!

Goodbye 28.8 dial-up speed. You belong in the 1990s. Go back and take that monstrous virus with you.

Goodbye banya – Saturdays will not be the same without you. I will reallyreallyreally miss your hot vapors and that bundle of birch branches slapping my skin.

Goodbye LeRoy and Anne Welling – You gathered us to you and made us feel like we were home. It brings me to tears!! You approach life with such love and generosity – we have been taking notes. we want to
BE LIKE YOU!! Thank you!

Goodbye . . .

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Remember these faces?

Coming soon to a city near you . . .

Desmond P. Jones
{Two front teeth missing!}


Zoe D.K. Jones
{Wait till you hear her little voice!}

Put away your breakables and open up your arms! These babes are ready for some LOVING!

Desi Candor

Zoe: I’m going to put on my ballerina dress now!

Des: I’m going to put on my handsome dress!

“I’m happy it’s a long time away.” After talking about growing up and leaving mommy

“Remind me cause I’ll forget – my mind is just a little mind after all.”

After Des finished telling me a really long story he asked me, “What was your favorite part? Was it when I stopped crying?” I asked him why he was crying in his story (the details were fuzzy) He answered, “Because I coughed and my back stung me in pain!”

Des marched happily into the kitchen and asked, “Can I have 7 gulps of water please?”

“I don’t know which girls I will marry. When I walk around the village I’ll look.” After thinking for a bit he then asked, “When Zoe grows up will she get married?”

“Shall we celebrate the day the Piepers came?” He proposed this idea the day after they left us – we were all so rejuvenated by their visit!! And he loved playing with baby Sophie a lot!

On our way back from the market a large hay truck rambled past us and as they did so a man leaned out the window and shouted something in our direction. I turned to Des, which I do more often now, and asked him what the man said to us. Des said, “I don’t know – he spoke a Russian I didn’t understand.”

We picked up a surprise treat/toy box at the market. There was a small piece of wrapped gum included with the picture of a woman’s face on it. Des mumbled as we walked home, “I don’t like women gum but I’m grateful for what I have as the old saying is . . . “

On a particularly droll day that found me on my bed for most of it, Des and Zoe talked me into getting down the bag of summer clothes. After they’d tried everything on, they joined me on the bed for a tickle session and Desi in high-hyper-happiness exclaimed, “Ahhh. . . this is so much fun! This is such a FUN day! This is my FAVORITE day ever!” I’m so glad they have different ways of evaluating a day.

“Won’t it be great to have a mom cat someday and then we can get lots of CAT KIDS!”

We usually spend a lot of time in my bed in the mornings – cuddling and talking about their dreams, about the day, about what we’ll do when in nyc/ut . . . One morning Desi began to tell me about a dream where he was drinking really yummy milk. Then he summed up his feelings, “I loved that milk dream. It was the best dream! I’m so glad I had a dream about MILK!”

While eating bread and butter: “I’m gonna marry this piece of bread!" Then he added seriously, "Do you want to write that down? I’ll get you a pen.”

“I’m not awesome, I’m crazy!”

To Zoe: “You’re stinking in pink!” Too much pink.

Whenever thebabes do something nice to each other, I usually turn to the one who received the good deed and say, “Who’s the greatest brother/sister in the world?!?” When I recently repeated this cheer because Zoe had done something generous, Desi added, “. . . and Zoe’s the greatest girl in the world!”

After some very bold demonstrations fo Hulk-like anger, DPJ paused sweetly, “I have something interesting to say: the Hulk is green like the Grinch.”

After being told we were having borst for dinner, Des said in a hushed, slow voice, “ohhh nooo . . . that’s bad . . . “

One after noon we were listening to a satellite radio station on the television when Desmond protested, “I want to watch regular TV, all these adult songs are obnoxious! So Zoe&I turned it off and gave each other a high-five”

While Des&Zoe were cuddling on the bed when D suddenly pulled back and said, Zoe’s elbow smells like throw-up.”

This gum tastes like old cheese.

I’m gonna rip your laugh off to a sad grin.

Zoe en Voice

While looking at a freckle on her arm she said, I have polka-dots!

Is he a superhero? She was pointing to the picture of Joseph Smith on the Teachings of the President’s of the Church Manual.

Zoe will point at the two of us and say, “We are GIRLS! and Desi and dad are boys.” She loves to make this happy little point regularly.

While playing with Desi, I overheard her say, “Thank you Batman! You’re a genius!”

Zoe walks up to Desi and I holding a sock, “This is a wet sock. It’s actually wet&wet&wet.” Des and I laugh and Desi says, “How did you learn how to say ‘actually?

“I think it’s so interesting to sleep.”

After drinking a cup of milk and immediately coughing, she explained when she could talk again, “That milk just snuck up my nose!”

“Thank you for this lovely breakfast!”

After scratching her elbow, Zoe said, “I wish bugs not eat my elbow!”

Des and Zoe were having a little mock battle – Des was saying, "You’ll never defeat me!and Zoe retorted, Darth Vador – You’re a bad guy! You ever not feet me!”

I asked Zoe what her full name was: “Kathleen Zoe Dinana Jones!”

Zoe looked at Oleg the cat and asked, “Can I call him Rum Punch?”

Zoe looked out the window one evening and shouted with happiness, “The sunset is here!! Should we go outside?!”

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

All I do is stare at the calendar

PakahPakah-KZ-countdown is:

- 2 more mondays

- 2 hot&steamy banya sessions

- 2 in-home sacrament meetings

- 2 more hand-wringing laundry sessions (!)

- 1 more borst night (I’m the only fan)

- 1 more trip to the catholicchurch for a roll on the lawn and tearful goodbyes

- several more evenings watching the cows come home

- 4-5 more excursions to the steppe to watch mybabes chase the sunset!

Also, it looks like we’ll return to NYC and I’m stunned . . . can it be? I’ve wanted it so much! Nathan received a writing fellowship and though he’s a little torn about returning to a life of DEBT he emailed his acceptance. Honestly he would love to stay – he’s applied for a few jobs/fellowships here in KZ and Kyrgyzstan. Before I can even entertain such notions I must get HOME first.


Funny story: the Department of Education here in the Pavlodar oblast (i.e. state) called to speak with Nathan about working for them. They asked some questions about the different classes he’s taken and taught over the years. He explained his research and his anticipated anthropology degree. They asked about my work as well. Then the woman said she’d call back – and just a couple of hours later she called to announce, “The Department of Education would like to offer you a job teaching biology next term.” Nathan had to stifle a laugh and explain that he absolutely could NOT teach biology. The woman countered that surely he’d taken biology classes (yeah, undergrad, over a decade ago!) when Nathan convinced her that he couldn’t teach she then asked, “Well, can your wife teach biology then?” Oh boy.

Moving on.