Tuesday, August 31, 2004
Monday, August 30, 2004
Well, I thought I would add a few tidbits for those of you sitting on the edge of your seats waiting for news from us. I know I will hear a collective groan from everyone when I say we still have no travel dates. This is taxing beyond belief. If this is character building, I am already quite a character, thank you very much. If I have any more character, I will be hired by Disney. Okay ... enough with the disgusted sarcasm!
I will tell a little story about something that happened to me on Saturday. Those of you on the WPA board have already heard this, so bear with me.
I picked up Lisa at a birthday party way out in the boondocks, and circled back towards home on a route that took me to a grocery store that I never go to, since there are shops much closer to our house. Right in the middle of the produce section (why does it always happen in the produce section??) I felt a tap on my shoulder and was happy to see Christian's former preschool teacher, Miss Eve. She had been his teacher way back when he was two years old in Mom's Day Out. We caught up on what Christian is up to, then she looked at Lisa and said, "And who is this?" I introduced her to Lisa, and she turned to me and said, "Did you know I have two children from Korea?" No way! Lisa has Korean ethnicity, and she is always being mistaken as Korean (even by a Korean woman one time!) I told Miss Eve about Kazakhstan, and she pulled out a family portrait. I nearly dropped my teeth ... both of her children have cleft lip and/or palate. I told her "You're not going to believe this, but ..." and pulled out a photo of Melanie. I felt shivers going down my spine ... and she proceeded to tell me that they used the same surgeon that we have met with, Dr. Matthews. (I think he is the only one in this area). Miss Eve's children are now in high school, and doing very well, although their daughter has just had her 12th surgery. (Gasp!) Both children's clefts were complicated, and they have had to endure a lot. But she patted me on the shoulder, gave me her phone number, and told me she'd be more than happy to talk.
Just at the moment that I am feeling those pre-trip jitters, wondering if we are up to all this, if we are strong enough to be there for Melanie as she goes through her surgeries, someone sends me this wonderful lady to give me a boost of confidence. I truly believethat I was supposed to be at that grocery store at that very moment, to run into Miss Eve. Not to get sappy or anything, but I truly believe sometimes God speaks to us in ways that make us say, "Naaaahhhh, can't be!" (remember Moses and the burning bush? Yah right .. this bush is talking to me ...!) and we just go along our merry way. But sometimes He takes out a billboard on I-77 that says "LIZ BRANCH, LISTEN UP ..." Okay, I got the message this time, loud & clear. Everything is going to be all right. Don't be afraid. Don't worry. Wow. You tell me .... coincidence? Or not ...?
Post Script ... guess you might be wondering how a little girl with Korean ethnicity ended up in Kazakhstan? There is very large group of people of Korean heritage living in parts of the former Soviet Union. Many of them were sent there during the Russo-Japanese War in the early 1900's. Some were living across the border from Korea in Russian territory, and the Russians thought they might be spies for the Japanese, so they packed them up and shipped them West. Then again, when our good friend Josef Stalin was in power there were more mass exiles of Koreans and other ethnic minorities in eastern Russia. Kazakhstan was pretty much a dumping ground for "undesirables" possibly due to its vast expanse of land and few natural resources. Ha .. if only Joe knew that Kazakhstan is sitting on top of one of the world's largest untapped oil fields, he might have rethought that idea! Okay, that is our history lesson for the day!
Sunday, August 22, 2004
Breaking in the new technology. We are now the proud owners of an IBM Thinkpad. (No nasty comments, Jeff Holton, Mr. Mac!) This little piece of the 21st century will accompany us to Kazakhstan and serve as our link to the folks back home. I am still getting used to the touchpad mouse and the position of the keyboard. Still, it's amazing what this little thing can do.
Thursday, August 19, 2004
Wednesday, August 18, 2004
No news is .... well, no news. We are beyond impatient now, on one level, but on the other level, we are continuing our lives as usual. When I was a little girl, when my mom & dad would take us out to dinner, and the waiter was late getting us our food ... mom had a system to get the food to come. She said, "If I light a cigarette, the food will come". (Yes this was a LONG time ago). So ... I have 'lit a cigarette' so to speak. Lisa has a cyst on the inside of her mouth that needs to be removed, so I have scheduled her surgery for September 3. At the very least we will be in the middle of getting ready to travel ... On the other hand, everyone is in school. My #1 baby boy is in high school <sniff!> but seems to be taking to it like the proverbial fish to water. He is leaping out of bed at 5:30 (I'll give it a week, tops) and sitting on the stairs ready to go 5 minutes early. There were some schedule snafus, but I think we're getting settled. The others are happily ensconced in their classes. There are still glasses to be ordered, doctors' appointments to be kept, and Christian started baseball last night. Thank God for my wonderful baby sitter, Kathleen, who can drive to pick up and fetch when needed. And as I finally lay down, exhausted, on my bed, I had a moment of "What the &*%$ were we thinking, adding another child to this mix?" But then I had visions of happy chaos. Sure, I will lose my mind, but I will be a happy insane person. I will be beyond exhaustion, but I will wear my gray hairs with pride. (Yah, right ... Miss Clairol here I come!) And the worst day at our house will still be 100% better than the best day in the Baby House.
We did get some new pictures of Melanie yesterday, from another family who are in Taldy-Korgan right now. We are so grateful for these little snapshots, and only hope we can do the same for another family waiting at home.
I keep saying that I won't post again until we have dates ... but ... maybe sharing the agony of waiting will help someone else in the same boat. We're all together in this!
Tuesday, August 10, 2004
Reasons why it's better that we travel in September: (1) The "tourist season" will be over; hence cheaper airfare. (2) The Olympics will be over; hence flights will be easier to find; (3) It will be much cooler in Kazakhstan; gee thanks, guess I'll have to throw away all those cute sundresses I bought ... (4) The kids are back in school, easier job for Granddaddy & Grandmama; okay, that's a good one. All they have to do is open the front door and shoo them out; then open the door for them 8 hours later! No problem. Oh yes, and feed them now & then. (5) David has a bunch of projects at work that he needs to finish. Okay, that's a good one too; something about income and all that. Yah, income is kind of important, I guess. (6) My mom, who works at the graduate school at LSU will be done with August graduation and more able to get away from her job. She is going to travel to Kaz. on the tail-end of our trip, after David goes home, to help me travel with Melanie.
School starts tomorrow for 3 of our kiddoes. Why do I keep humming "It's the most wonderful time .. of the year ..." ??
Friday, August 6, 2004
Tuesday, August 3, 2004
Had a great time in New York! Now all my ducks have been placed firmly into a row, and I am ready to go to Central Asia. Now. I and seven of my closest friends had dinner in the city Friday night, then spent Saturday sightseeing along Long Island. We rubbed shoulders with the very rich at Bridgehampton (although we unfortunately had to decline several invitations to hang out with Paris Hilton -- we just weren't in the mood!) and ended up at the lighthouse at Montauk. We ate huge amounts of fresh seafood at the Lobster Inn. Then there was the obligatory stop to let one of us throw up on the side of the road (what's a girls weekend without someone hurling?? And no, it wasn't me!) All these girls are children of the late 80's and I am the one creaky old "wrinkly" person in the group. I had to suffer through Def Leppard and Guns N' Roses music in the car (what? I can't hear you! My ears have gone numb!) At 12:30 a.m. we neared the house, (and my bed was beckoning) only to veer away suddenly to a bar (do you know they are open until 4 a.m in New York?) that had a band playing ... you guessed it! ... HEAVY METAL! I was such a happy camper. I sat in the corner and watched them all hooting & hollering when something by Black Sabbath came up. Guess I need to stay young to keep up with our new 2 year old -- I'm headed out to buy "Def Leppard Greatest Hits" right now.
Interesting link about a problem they have on Long Island ... even the rich can't escape...http://www.newsday.com/news/local/longisland/ny-liscav013915587aug02,0,7519462.story?coll=ny-liminute-headlines