Last night both David and I slept fitfully. I with visions – not of sugarplums – but of them
hauling David off to a Kazakh hospital and trying to do Lord knows what to him. Aida
swooped into his room this morning and started shouting orders: “You must eat pickles (dill – of course)! You must drink pickle juice! Tea with raspberry and blackberry! No sugar! My mother is making something that you will put up your nose! Tonight you will have vodka with red peppers, then sweat under the covers.” David just sat there looking pitiful.
When Aida walked out of the room I quickly ate the pickles, because David doesn’t like them even under the best of circumstances. (Maybe after a few shots of vodka.) Then I ate a piece of gum lest Aida smell the pickles on my breath! David said it all reminded him of an episode of Andy Griffith where Aunt Bee makes these gosh-awful pickles, and Andy nicknames them “kerosene cucumbers”. He and Barney swap them with store-bought pickles so they can eat them, and she is so thrilled that they like “her” pickles that she makes a double batch. In the end they have to knuckle down and eat the “kerosene cucumbers”. I was doubled over laughing.
I went to the baby house alone today (with Aida and Saida, of course). We took the girls to the main square (ploschad) where we strolled around. We wandered behind the main administration building, where there was a nice shady park. Suddenly a policeman or security guard (hard to tell - just some guy in a big hat!) jumped out and started yelling at Aida that “this territory is only for the mayor and simple people are not allowed to walk there!” Aida jumped all over him, asking him “Where does it say that? Show me the paper where it says that! I walk here all the time! You’re a fool! That’s impossible! That’s ridiculous!” I just stood there, expecting them to haul her off at any moment. The guard went in to get another guy, and then the three of them stood there arguing. Finally Aida motioned to me and we went off walking in the “mayor’s territory” anyway. I kept asking her if it was okay, and she said, “Of course! I told them from now on I was going to walk here two times a day!” She told me that they accused her of being a “Tatar Girl” (known for their tempers) and she said to me with a chuckle, “In fact, my grandmother was a Tatar!”
Tomorrow the Spanish family has court. It will be their last day in the baby house. It has been difficult to communicate with them, but I have really grown fond of them. We have their address so we can exchange Christmas cards.
Last night on the way home from the store, Aida was driving me back to the apartment.
A very drunk man staggered in front of the car. I don’t think Aida hit him, but he
bumped into the front bumper and down he went. Aida was frantic!! He didn’t get up for the longest time, and she jumped out, yelling at him. He finally got up, but was way beyond inebriated. They started screaming at each other, and I was scared he was going to hurt her. She told me to go inside, though. A minute later she came back inside, and watched through the window until he went away.
Like I said … never a dull moment.
This afternoon Aida, Saida, Melanie and I went back to the Aqua Park (as it is so warm today) and we sat and had tea in the restaurant. (Jenice, she told me about the funny thing that happened to you there!) Saida thinks I’m very funny trying to pronounce Russian words. It is so warm, that the city made an announcement that they won't turn on the central heating until there are 3 days below zero (celcius). I don't care, just as long as they keep the hot water coming!
David is still “ailing” this evening, but the Ibuprofen enabled me to drag his carcass off the bed long enough to get some pictures up for me. Have to keep our coordinator happy, you know!! I am very hopeful that tomorrow he will be his old self again. I did buy a small bottle of vodka at the store for him (medicinal purposes, of course).
Lisa, Christian, Quentin and Colin ... we love you and miss you like crazy. Keep on being good kids for Grandmama!
“Tatar” for now!! Liz