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 364 - Kazakhstan Part 30

Occasionally, 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.

We were into the second hour of one of the first days of our visitation with Nurlan, a cherubic and thoroughly uncontrollable toddler.  In the first hour, he had inspected and rejected the bag of toys that we had acquired for a king's ransom at the Russian toy store and then gorged himself on a huge bag of animal crackers while we sat like idiotic, grinning statues.  Our attempts to extricate the cookie bag from the ravenous child resulted in a scream from the child and an opened door and a "look" from the interpreter.  It was a very long hour.

The boy had limited interest in me.  My most fascinating feature seemed to be my camera bag.  I took a deep breath and pried the camera out of his sticky hands, weathering the violent screaming.  In this picture, Nurlan sits surrounded by toys but is still clinging to the camera bag.  The double door is slightly open in case we require another "intervention."

After the camera bag and searching for food, Nurlan was most interested in Terry.  He'd get within arm's length, which at this early stage in our relationship was just like a hug.  Terry tried to show the toddler how to color.  Nurlan liked coloring.  He liked watching Terry do it. He didn't seem to want to color himself, but really just wanted to watch Terry color.  Terry didn't really want to be a performance artist, particularly since he had to sit on the floor and bend over or balance the book on his knee.  Nurlan started to gaze with interest again at the tables of lovely, breakable artifacts.

I was trying to head him off when he nimbly rotated 180 degrees and headed straight out the door into the hallway occupied by Inna and her magazines.  Our interpreter popped out of her chair and hustled him back in the room with a guttural syllable or two.  Once again, this early twenty-something girl had established control where we felt we could not.

In those early visitations, we felt like samples of pond scum pressed flat on a slide under a microscope.  We didn't look like anyone else and we had no idea what we were supposed to be doing.  Everyone repeated instructions slowly and twice and then conversed with each other in a language that we didn't understand.  I can see why people become suspicious and self-conscious in these situations.  The other people may be saying to each other, "Isn't the weather lovely today?" but the outsider imagines the message to be, "Look at the jerks."  Of course, I'm fairly sure that "Look at the jerks" was the actual communication at least once.  Maybe on this day.

Inna firmly shut the door and we were left to ride out the storm.  Terry simply resolved the issue by grabbing the boy and swinging him around so that he couldn't get loose.  The combination of the variety and the centripetal force kept Nurlan occupied and out of trouble.  Terry, on the other hand, was losing steam after juggling this wriggling sack of potatoes for twenty minutes.  It was probably the best workout he'd had in weeks.  Nudges toward the coloring book were not positively received so it was up in the air again.

I peered in the hallway where Inna sat reading.  "How are we on time?" I innocently asked, hoping that the true meaning of "When can we leave?" wasn't too apparent.  Some things transcend the limitations of language.  Inna gathered her magazines and attracted a caregiver.  Nurlan clutched the coloring book and crayons.  He swaggered to the door and, once again, didn't look back.

We were exhausted, both physically and mentally.  Perhaps our afternoon visitation with Anastasiya would go better.


Anonymous said...

LOL, this immediately reminded me of some of the Chinese interrupting talking to me to talk to another Chinese. (I always attempt to translate in my head...makes the next 30 seconds go much faster). What do you want for dinner, Chinese? No I had that for lunch and breakfast. Maybe Szechuan? No that was yesterday. I'm thinking Hunan. Oh, great choice...

Burning Khrome said...

I wish I had more facility for other languages. I studied for years and can only read menus. I guess you go with your strongest interest!

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