The day began with Vladimir driving us into the mountains near the Big Almaty River. We stopped at a natural spring, and Vladimir filled up about ten five gallon jugs from it. Mighty tasty water. Otis took a nap on the way up and was in a great mood as you can see from the pictures.
We stopped at a small village where a husband and wife run a handcrafts operation out of their (modern, western-style house), although they have a sort of display yurt out front. CD inspected the premises…. CD: The husband is a silversmith and traditional instrument maker; he played a song for me on a modern version of the instrument Mel asked about previously. The wife works with textiles, doing traditional embroidery on felt and cotton for shoes and bags, mostly. Needless to say, I bought more stuff, then took a tour of the yurt. The husband told me that he recently took a lot of their work, including a disassembled (different) yurt, to Dubai and the United Arab Emirates. It was apparently a very successful trip – he even sold the yurt for $25,000 to someone in Dubai. One wonders a little about the purchaser. OK, back to DJ….
On the way down we stopped at a café run by people from the Caucasus region. The café is situated along the Big Almaty; we got a private little dining table under a Quonset roof. We had the best shashlyk we’ve had here, along with amazing stuffed blinis, and very good meat-stuffed grape leaves. Then back to 120 Furmanov for the last time to pack up and get ready to go.
We are leaving tonight/tomorrow at 3:20 a.m., four hour layover in Frankfurt, arriving at JFK at 12:30 PM on Saturday. I’ll be packing up the laptop after I put this post up, so this is it. I think that we will maintain this blog for another week or so. CD is dubious, we’ll see. If you’ve been reading along, you know that at some point each of us felt like we would never get to this day, but here we are. We have many people to thank for making this a special trip. The risk of doing this, of course, is that we will forget someone. So, whoever you are, we apologize and we definitely love you, too.
First, of course, is Otis. Not much more to say. Here is the rest of our Oscar speech. Thank you….
1. Alan McCarthy for being Alan McCarthy
2. All of our single mom friends who are demonstrating every day that if you can do it, so can we.
3. Alpha, alpha cat, best pal and dearly missed
4. Arlo Guthrie for “Old Paint” and Bruce for “Incident on 57th Street,” Otis’ favorite lullabies, along with Loudon’s “Swimming Song”
5. Ben Fishelman, who notarized every document that needed notarizing with no questions asked
6. Bill Sweeney, ’nuff said
7. The Boerum Hill E-Group, for reminding us that silliness resides in all cities
8. Bruno, our first boy, for keeping the joy in our hearts, truer love hath no man…
9. Curt, Toby & Miguel, for keeping the Jones Day home fires burning
10. Dan and Tessa, who never actually posted (which stunk!), but somehow still managed to make us feel guilty for never getting to the brew pub.
11. David and Karin, for keeping us laughing
12. Doug, Gina, Nicky and Elizabeth Stormont who continually reminded us of how special it is to be a family
13. Eli Jacobson, brother, friend and uncle
14. Ellen Baer and David Lebenstein, for sending the right note when we needed it
15. Elliott, Loretta, and Mary Lynch, our new, and most welcome, friends
16. Everyone at HR&A and Jones Day, for your affection and the very welcome distractions from the main point of this trip
17. Everyone on the various KZ adoption e-groups, for being a constant source of information, inspiration, and support… especially to Ken Pierce, who made us go public and to whom we wish the best in his quest to bring the girls home
18. Frank Stanley, for heartfelt, wise, eloquent posts and for helping to keep the memory of stiff drinks and rare prime beef alive
19. Greg and Ing, who kept us in touch with the other member of our family… and for taking our (C’s) neuroses seriously
20. Greg Morcroft (and his fabulous family), who may have written our all time favorite comment (even if he only posted once)
21. James, Anastasia, and Vincent, who are going to ensure that Otis grows up bilingual
22. Jan & Wodanskalden, for dedicating a chorale, Magnificat, to Otis
23. Jessica, who kept us up on Alehouse gossip
24. Joe & Tina Barber - Joe called almost every day to keep our heads in the game and is (with Tina) picking us up at the airport
25. John Alschuler, with whom C has had a long, complicated 25-year relationship as boss, mentor, partner, and if there was any doubt, it was settled on this trip, friend
26. John & Jan Jassili, the onesies are great and so are you
27. June and Dwight, who affirmed the rightness of the decision to come here and make Otis part of our family… and who forwarded us Bruno’s letters
28. Karen Auster, for affirming C’s mom’s contention that good books + common sense = good child rearing
29. Karen Jacobson and Julian Haft, for unconditional love
30. Lisa Jacobson, for always watching out for all four of us, our house, our heads and our hearts
31. Loudon Wainwright III, for all the songs about family and ambivalence
32. Marianna Simone and Rob Mangus, for keeping our respective numbers crunched
33. Marla, for common sense and making us laugh; thanks, Rabbi
34. Mary and Ted, for sending us the most gorgeous bra, which David keeps saying is “very sexy.” (Sorry Ted, couldn’t resist!)
35. Maxim, who took us down the last mile to home and his Dad, Vladimir, who showed us a great time.
36. Mel & Olivia, who will help us figure out how to raise the child of a true mixed marriage
37. Michael, for finishing our home renovation
38. Milena, for keeping our spirits up, saying what needed to be said (socks), and greasing some recalcitrant wheels
39. Neil & Nancy, for keeping us updated on Otis the Elder and for the re-up (care package)
40. Nicole & Len, who were ridiculously shy about entering the fray, then wrote us some great notes. Thanks for reaching out; we’re glad you did.
41. Nova Jacobson, who made this trip with us
42. Pat and Bob, for being part of our family
43. Pat Manning, for getting our re-up/care package here
44. Patrick and Cynthia, for keeping the basil alive – we think
45. Ralph, for introducing us and for always speaking truth, whether we want to hear it or not
46. Rebecca Reich, who, as another adoptive mom, always had the right comment at the right time
47. Roberta & Carina, new friends in Almaty and soon, at home
48. Sagat and Galina, for almost always speaking truth
49. Sam & Karen Barbieri, without whom we would not have met
50. Sasha who guided us gently through the “2.5 world,” as he calls Kazakhstan
51. Sterling Youngman, a sterling young man, big man in so many ways, who also in many ways inspired this blog, which recorded, very much, a Destination Unknown
52. Steve & Victoria Tarpin, who demonstrated that true friendship is beyond measure… and for car-sitting… and for Bruno and Brutus
53. Toby Jacobson, for being D’s Dad, our friend and Otis’ farmor
54. Tony & Cathy, who were our soul brothers making the same but different journey at the same time
55. Various “anonymous”es (not you, we think, Lisa and Agent N), who kept our Irish up as we deleted your irritating posts
56. Zoya, our faithful companion, if not always faithful translator
See y’all in Brooklyn, and oh,yeah: Do Svidanija, Almaty