Russian Word of the Day

  • present = padarak

Friday, April 3, 2009

I'm back - a birthday in Kazakhstan!

Day 22 and 23,
First thing's first: A very happy birthday to my wonderful sister, Caroline. Happy belated to my dear cousin Leah and to my good friend Jeremy and happy belated 1st birthday to that cute little pie Carson Michelle! I love you all!

Let me tell you, a birthday here in Kokshetau is no laughing matter! We were busy all day long, too busy even to blog. So for those of you who wondered what in the heck happened to your morning installment of Snyders2Kaz, I'm sorry. My extensive social engagments kept me otherwise occupied.

So the morning started, quite as usual, with Calvin tapping his little hand rhythmically and none too gently on my forehead. Since Calvin shares a bedroom with me and Tim, this morning drumbeat has become our the start of our daily routine. Calvin hops out of bed just at the stroke of seven and trips over to our bed, where still sucking a thumb he chants "mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy" and uses his free hand to tap on my forehead until I wake up. It's charming.

After dragging myself out of bed and navigating the steep wooden staircase with a toddler in hand and only one bleary eye open, Calvin remembered that it was my birthday and, panicing slightly, sent me back upstairs. He and Nana, who he similarily pulled from bed, then spent the next 10 minutes busily decorating the downstairs of the cottage. When I came downstairs the second time, Cal's little face was glowing with anticipation. He was so proud of his "Happy Birthday Mommy" posters and dangling balloons. It was darling to see him so excited. That little look on his face, alone, made my birthday compete. I'm one lucky lady. Calvin also chose a beautiful bouquet and cake!Then Makhabbat showed up with this awesome Kazakhstani beach towel.
Next, Tim and I were off to the babyhouse to see Garrett. The caretakers sent us to the activity room with a walker and Garrett happily propelled himself after the bumpy green ball. Then we played some very exciting games of peek-a-boo until Makhabbat came in and swooped Garrett up, promising enigmatically to return in 5 minutes. When she returned, she had Garrett dressed in his pillowly blue snowsuit with a small "happy birthday" card pinned to the front. I thanked her for my "present" and we took my highly padded baby into the great outdoors. Garrett is miserable in that suit, but he submitted to his pillowly confinement with only a little whimper of protest. Calvin spent the day with his buddy Ali.In the early evening it was time for us all to head down to the "School for the Talented Children" for a performance in our honor! We met with the director of the school who ushered us into a large auditorium in which a single row of folding chairs had been lined up. The other blond in the picture is an adoptive mom named Thelma from NY who just arrived in the city to adopt a 6-year-old. Makhabbat is also her interpretor, so she came along as well. For the next hour, we were treated to performances from children ages 3-17.
This young man was a particular favorite and sung about 6 songs for us in a rich baritone voice. The girls sitting next to mom thought that he was dreamy.
After the concert, the director asked us to get up on the stage with a few of the performers so that we could have our picture taken with them for their records. Can you spot Calvin? After the concert, the director invited us back to her office, where her assistants had spread a large table of food for us, similar to what we were served at nauryz. For a moment, I was terrified that I would again have to face a cup of mare's milk tea, but fortunately the birthday gods smiled down on us and we were each offered a cup of steaming chai instead. Talk about hospitality! We are constantly impressed by the endless generousity of our Kazakh hosts, but all the same, after an hour-long tea, Calvin's patience was completely spent and we were happy to be excused.
But the birthday extravaganza didn't end here. Makhabbat had suggested that we check out the bowling alley, so off we went for more birthday fun. Calvin LOVED the bowling alley... or "Bowling Finale" as he calls it. He was so pleased when his ball made it "all the way to the end" of the alley and would jump up and down in excitement. He told us today that "we should come back to Kazakhstan so that we can go bowling again." Pretty cute. Makhabbat and her daughter, Arajan, were supposed to meet us at the alley, but at the last second had to duck out. We were pretty tired, so after one round, we went back home for a quick dinner, some presents and cake. We didn't get Calvin to bed until 10:30! He was sooo pleased.
And that was my birthday in Kazakhsan. Whew! What a day.
Today Garrett didn't feel like having his picture taken. I think he might be coming down with a little cold, so we just rocked and rocked the whole afternoon. Hopefully tomorrow he'll perk up and we'll have more smiling pictures to post.
Love you all!
Paka,
Becca

8 comments:

Baby Kaz Moore said...

Gosh, what a wonderful birthday!! You'll always remember it for sure! Take care, Susan

Jennifer M said...

Wow, happy birthday!! What an amazingly fun day! Very cool. I loved Calvin's comment. Too cute!

Channing said...

Happy un-birthday, Bec! What a special one to be with BOTH of your boys. Thanks for thinking of Jerms and Carsi-shell too. We love and miss you all!

Caro K said...

I think it's safe to say that you're going to be the only people at Rio del Mar with a Kazakhstan beach towel. Awesome!

Sending a great big grateful birthday hug,
with love
Caroline

Rayna said...

happy birthday! i love following your blog. you have some cute little guys there :)
rayna

Nicole Faraclas said...

Dude...Bowling is Kazakhstan, an "elvis" impersonator and private concert, a beauteous cake and the love of your family...what more could a person ask for on his/her birthday??!!! Sounds like you had an awesome and unique one for sure!!! I love you so, Becca...HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

Dean and Janie said...

Happy Birthday Becca! What wonderful memories you all are creating. Blessings to you,

Janie

Malar said...

Happy Birthday, Becca! Very interesting birthday. Lots of memories to share years later with little Garrett!
I'm so looking forward to seeing all of you here with little Garrett.
Love and a big hug to all of you....