I had some dreams ... they were klowns in my koffee.

(With apologies to Carly Simon)

This is my journey through job transition from a toxic environment to a better life. Join me for a few thoughts and a few laughs along the way.
What are "klowns in my koffee"? They are the factors large and small that make you less than you are. A "klown" can be a grossly incompetent boss,
a short-sighted policy or a moronic coworker. They won't kill you, at least not immediately, but they abrade the soul
as you scrape past them to get through the day. Sometimes it's best to dump them out of the cup.


Day 106 - Kazakhstan - Part 6

Every Sunday, this blog will describe our life-changing trip to Kazakhstan in 2005 to adopt our two youngest children. While some of our friends and family have seen a few of the pictures, we've never put it all together in an organized format. One of the reasons is that I hesitate to subject others to a 21st century version of the endless slideshow of vacation photos harking to some relative's visit and a lost evening of my childhood. Still, the story must be told before details are lost since this is my children's unique birthright. When we get to the end of the story, I'll edit the posts together into an extended and separate blog page and then have it printed by one of the blog-to-book(let) services for my kids. For people with less interest, these posts will be easy to identify and avoid. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The Frankfort airport was dizzying and perplexing and we were dragging what seemed to be a Volkswagen-sized pile of luggage along the polished floors. Terry has the rare gift of pulling it together sometimes when you least think he'd have the presence of mind. He's been known for getting lost in areas where he's lived for years, but when he said, "Follow me!" and charged toward a stairway, I followed less from confidence than from simply being glad to be handed a direction, any direction. I don't know what sign he saw but we went down a level and were dragging the luggage through corridors that were increasingly narrow and dingy.

"This can't be right ... this can't possibly be right," was running around inside my head. We turned a corner and came to a short line of people standing in front of what looked like a glassed-in booth where someone in a military uniform and a severe expression sat. We stood in line, knowing only that the booth barred further progress down the corridor. When we arrived at the front of the line, we saw that there was a small slit in the glass through which we could hear the grim-faced attendant. He said something to us in German. We shoved passports and any paperwork we had from the airline through the slit. He looked at us with some combination of boredom and distaste, dug through the papers with nary a glance, stamped the passports, and shoved it all back through the slit in the glass. He hit some hidden button and the gate swung open. He gestured with his head for us to move on through.

This narrow corridor spilled into a large room filled with travelers and airline counters. We gratefully found the line for the Lufthansa counter and dragged our rolling suitcase mountain to the front. Shoving piles of paper at strangers and allowing them to sort through for what they need was a practice that we resorted to many times in Kazakhstan and this trip was where we first learned it. The counter attendant was able to extract the right papers to issue boarding passes and check the burdensome luggage. Now feeling almost lighter than air with a mere two small, though overstuffed, bags per person. we quickly found the gate and sat as close to the front as possible for fear of falling asleep and missing the plane.

It seemed like they were already in the middle of boarding. We couldn't understand where we were in the sequence and decided to simply get in the line and plead ignorance if asked; this was not far from the truth. As it turns out, it seems that at least some of the rest of the world expects boorish or befuddled behavior from Americans. It's a 'get out of jail free' card served with a dish of attitude, but it was a meal that we could choke down about then. The attendant looked at us, glanced at the boarding pass, and waved in the direction of the hallway to the plane in a haphazard way.

Later, wedged in the middle of a huge plane between two Middle-Eastern gentlemen, we were on our way to Almaty. We hoped our luggage was, too.

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