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 239 - Kazakhstan Part 24

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. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Sundays in Uralsk are leisurely. The childrens' homes don't permit visitations on Sundays so it is the only day of the week with an open schedule.

Laundry bloomed on the clotheslines in every porch. Dogs and cats wandered in the muddy courtyards and around the streets. Our neighbors through the wall woke up early to fight. It was a warmish day with just enough of a tinge of chill in the air to suggest the oncoming winter. The steam lines pushed enough heat into the apartment to condense on the windows. We opened the windows in the porch and the livingroom to get some cross-ventilation. Unlike the other days of the week, children could be heard playing in the courtyard amid the weeks and rusting metal that must have been play equipment thirty years ago.

Inna and Dima were coming to show us "the sites." Terry was very under the weather with food poisoning or some kind of gastric distress and would have preferred to stay in the apartment. We didn't know how to reach Inna to cancel. There was a phone in the apartment and it would ring infrequently. We'd stare at it and eventually pick it up only to have someone launch into rapid fire Russian. We'd babble something in English and the caller would hang up.

The translators, drivers and other adoption coordinators make a good living by Uralsk standards. Still, they were supporting families and seemed to need anything extra that came their way. From casual conversations, we knew that they wouldn't be paid if we turned them away today and also that we might not get another chance to tour.

Terry was distinctly uncomfortable but we started out anyway.

We were taken first to the Russian Orthodox Church that was a few blocks from our apartment. The interior was indescribably ornate. Amid the hushed worshippers, my camera was out of place and I wasn't able to capture the splendor in anything but my mind's eye. The name of the church is the Church of Christ the Savior but it's called the "Golden Church" due to the gold onion domes by the locals.

The steps to the church were usually occupied by beggars with a variety of disabilities. During our trip, we walked by the outside of the church frequently and began to recognize the regulars. On occasion, I would give them a few tenge from my pocket. This was less than a quarter in US dollars but was enough in that economy to buy a load of bread or two. A small crowd would gather and we'd have to beat a hurried retreat. If the agency people were with us, they'd give me a stern look and say, "Don't encourage them."

Next we drove to another Russian Orthodox Church on the outskirts of town. There was a baptism underway so, again, no pictures. Like some movie set, the priests wore long hassocks and were swinging an elaborate metal cage of incense, making the inside of the church heavy with smoke. It was interesting that there were no chains and everyone stood for the service.

Here is a photo of the church found later on the Internet.

Perhaps it was the smoke or the driving over rutted roads, but Terry began to feel worse and worse.

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