Friday, July 31, 2009

Can I cuddle with you?

Standstill for the time being

We have been advised that things will be at a standstill for a while since the person our coordinator needs to communicate with is currently on vacation. Hopefully they will be in a position to advise us what to do next week. For now, we are remaining in Petro and waiting for news.

Today, we met up with a couple from Louisiana and their adorable 4 year old son. They will be leaving next week and provided us with lots of insight. It was really nice to be able to chit chat in English while Yannik played with their little guy.

We also found the other coffee house that had been recommended to us and we were not disappointed. Coffee here is really affordable. $2.50 for a cappuc. not bad at all. Few people frequent coffee houses and restaurants. We were told that the salaries here are minimal although prices are affordable. It therefore explains why the restaurants are pretty much all empty.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

For my folks and their friends!

Couldn't resist taking this picture in honour of my parents, bowling champs supreme and all of their bowling friends ;0))

When one has time on one's hands, one decorates!

Let's just say that we have lots of free time on our hands while waiting for news, etc. I had brought limited supplies and Yannik has been busy drawing. However, he was going through the paper pretty quickly. Today, I told him that we needed some cheering up and that it was up to us to decorate the apt while Papa worked. This is the result!

Regulars at Pizza Delight oups... Pizza House!

Every Friday night, we head out to the Pizza Delight in Fredericton for our favorite Greek pizza. Just like "Cheers", we're the regulars, with our favorite waiter and same order week after week!...That's actually where Sven was, eating lunch, when I called him to tell him that we were heading to Petrop. Seems therefore fitting that we would become regulars of the Pizza House! We are actually heading back there tomorrow to meet up with a couple from Louisiana who have just adopted a 5 year old boy.

House in Petro

We believe this to be a pretty typical house in Petro. They are all square with the same shutters.

Petro's lovely mosque

A free day!

There were no planned visits with any children today. I guess we are trying to view this as the “vacation part” of our journey as we wait for news.

Today we walked about the city again. From what we can ascertain, though the population is 250 000, the city is pretty compact and it's an easy walk from one part of the city to the other. It looks the majority of people reside in apartment complexes. There are not many houses. Petrop has this particular smell..I think one parent described it as fabric softener and I agree ;0)) Such a sweet smell to the air. There is unfortunately alot of diesel exaust as well.

We walked by the beautiful mosque today. Irina, our interpretor, explained that it was opened on the same day as the local church in order to symbolise peace and tolerance. We thought that was really neat. We also walked by luxurious houses nestled between alot more modest ones. This dichomoty struck us. It's the same as with vehicles. There are many luxury SUVs and BMWs parked besides old trucks.

We went back to the Pizza House as we now have made it our home away from home! The pizza and coffee are good, Yannik can play with friends in their play area and Sven can work on the computer. One peculiar thing to North Americans: the immaculateWC is a series of stalls for both women and men. I had to get used to it.

Yahoo... Ivan, our landlord, came to Yannik's rescue. For those with children travelling to Kaz and plan on taking devices such as DS...the normal converters are too powerful. You need one with less than 80 watts. We searched unsuccessfully for days. With our limited Russian, his limited English and our handy dandy Franklin translator, we explained Yan's problem and he just dropped in with one!! Yannik hasn't looked up since...he's completely absorbed ;0))

Finally, for my friends who know how much I love the baggy look – I fit pretty bad in this city is all I can say.... I might actually end up buying the right size clothes in order to fit in ;)) baggy jeans allowed! We ventured into a high end mall today and I was going to treat myself but “cheaped” out....

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Family Outing at Park

We keep coming back to the Central Park of Petropavlovsk with the rides. We enjoy it here.

Keeping a positive attitude

Just Short of a Tie

Getting Ready to visit Ministry Of Education

Listening to Scooby in Russian while waiting to be matched

We are still in the waiting stage despite today's meeting. Hopefully things will fall into place very soon.

Today we ventured out again by ourselves for a little bit. Yannik's DS isn't working without a proprer converter so we were looking for an alternative source of entertainment. We found a nice computer games stores and were impressed by the prices so Sven bought 3 games...Well...let's just say that Scooby Doo in Russian is a tad more challenging ;0)) Thankfully they have played a similar game before so they are catching some clues. It's really neat to hear Scooby talk in Russian for sure!!! We are beginning to catch some Russian words here and there...perhaps the game will actually help us out! I'm really impressed with Sven's ability to quickly catch on to the Russian alphabet..Our little Franklin Oral Translator is pretty handy as well too!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Sorry for the delay in posting. We have not yet begun bonding with a particular child and actually will be meeting a child this morning. In the meantime, we are getting familiar with our surroundings, Kazak culture and the city of Petro. We really like our interpretor, Irina... in whom Yannik has found a friend. He is so comfortable with her that he actually took her by the hand and made a lovely card for her today ;0)) She's quite pretty... he has good taste! (He is as always, ever so charming with the ladies). Today we went back to the park. It was a beautiful sunny day and quite warm: 31 degrees...It's actually been warm and sunny since we have arrived. Irina is making sure that we are entertained while we wait. I jumped for joy as she showed us a coffee house that more than met my "exceptations...hum...addiction". For those familiar with the area: Black Jacks. We would def. recommend it. We also had this amazing Napoleon cake. I really don't know how the women here remain so thin...the food is great! Their "national bread" taste to us like donuts! One curious thing...Irina has taken us to a few restaurants so far and we are always the only customers. I'll have to inquire about that. We went to a pizza house (again...feeding another addiction!) which looked like an IKEA showroom (Sven felt right at home!) and had an inflatable playground for Yannik to run around in. He was more than happy!

Again, for those familiar with Petrop, our apartment is situated between the Iceberg complex and Constitutional street which makes it great for walking about the city. We're starting to feel at home though I have to admit, having great difficulty sleeping. We're now on our 6th day and I wake up at 3 am every single night... and then can't get back to sleep.

By the Chantal - we are now addicted to Two and Half Men ;0)) It provides great laughter therapy! Alexis - you'll have to tell Duncan that "Batman rules"'s all Yannik wants to watch these days...

As for packing, yes.. we brought way too much stuff. Everything (and Carm - yes everything!) is available here...just slightly different. It's fun finding stuff. We have yet to try some interesting things (Rachel and Stephanie - they have lobster and crab flavoured chips - I thought of Terry and your dad, Steph). I'll try to bring some back! By the way... the chocolate: amazing! and we all crave the apple juice!

Well... this turned out to be a longer post than expected because of my insomnia. Sven worked till the wee hours of the's like we switch shifts. At least Yannik has adjusted well and sleeps very well.

Finally - message to Lyne and Philippe: Wishing you a safe journey home and all the best as you begin this new chapter of your family life. Yannik is missing Gabriel and talks about playing with him once we are back in New Brunswick.

Much love...will try to get back to sleep...I'll have Sven post pictures tomorrow morning. xxo

Monday, July 27, 2009

Special request to Kim and Shane

Hi guys,

Could you contact us through our e-mail @ would love to touch base with you and ask you some questions but I can't access your e-mail from our other account. Petro and its people are as charming as you have described.


Visit at the baby house

We had our first visit at the orphanage today. Unfortunately, there is nothing yet to report. We'll keep you posted as we wait for news. We appreciate your words of encouragment, thoughts and prayers.

(Kim - your e-mail won the prize.... we actually laughed out loud...I'll have to ask our interpretor if such a "sauce" exists!)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Mutant Ninja Turtle Ride

This ride was too peculiar. Yannik really wanted to go on this but when we saw the parent clutching their young one for dear life, we decided against it.

Amusement Park Ride

This is the ride that Jocelyne and Yannik took. It's a peculiar looking ride and a little bit rickity. It stops purely by gravity but was an effective ride all the same.

Constitution Street

This is the pedestrian walkway we were on this afternoon. It stretches for three km and is good place to people watch. The amusement part is not too far from here.

Operation Headquarters

This is what we are looking at right now as we post the blogs. We can now watch DVD's on TV as opposed to the laptop. We spend much time here.

Sunday afternoon in Petro

Sven, Yannik and I ventured out by ourselves today since our interpretor was at her brother's wedding. We were excited to discover our surroundings. Petro def. has the feeling of a soviet era town in comparison with Astana. We ventured down a lovely pedestrian avenue (hmm...the Sparks street of Petro!) and discovered a fair with tons of rides. Some of them looked iffy, but Yannik and I tried our luck with one of them. It looked tame until we got on it! I loved it though... and obviously so did Yannik. It was a gorgeous day for a walk so we stayed out all afternoon. It gave us a feel for the city. Here are some impressions:

1. People here are really into fashion. I felt under dressed (or perhaps over dressed since skirts are worn a little too short for me...but Sven seemed to enjoy that part of the walk!). Seriously, the girls are beautiful. I noticed lots of men with "men purses" and teased Sven about it. Young men tend to carry their partner's purses as well...perhaps I can convince Sven..mine weighs a ton!

2. The population is largely Russian decent. Russian or Kazak, they were all attractive and friendly. They seemed to chuckle alot at Yannik! He got alot of big smiles from the girls.

3. Lots of babushkas and babys... lovely to see. The babies wear kerchiefs and hats here. They look so sweet.... I can't wait for tomorrow!!!

4.Lots of smokers here.

5. Poor Sven... I found the word for's litteraly "sale". I went into a lovely boutique and tried on a dress...the fashion houses are gorgeous. I think I'll have fun going shopping ;0))) but promise to behave. I also found jewellry shops....Sven thinks I have a good nose when it comes to bling and dresses ;0)

6. The streets here are all being worked on. They have lovely mosaics tiles but you have to watch where you walk because of the work in progress. Lots of sand as well.

Well..I'll let Sven post some pictures and begin supper. Tomorrow is the big day. Irina, our interpreter, called to welcome us and will drop by to take us to meet the gov. officials before heading to the baby house. Needless to say, we're pretty excited and a tad nervous. Our hearts are skipping a beat. This morning, we slept in till 11:00 because of the jet lag...tomorrow I bet we're up pretty early!! Yannik just told me that he wanted to go to bed. I thought it was off since it's only 4:40 here. He was just so sweet. He explained that he wanted to go to sleep since he wanted tomorrow to arrive quickly in order to meet his little sibling. He is so excited. We wondered how he would react once here... and all I can say is that he will be the best "big brother" ever!!

Love to all.. and thanks for all the messages. We really appreciate hearing from you. Like Yannik said, we can't wait for tomorrow morning also.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Feels like Home

We spent some time at a high end mall. Fortuneately for me, Jocelyne still does not know the word 'Sale' in Russian so she did not want to venture into the high end fashion boutiques. But we had lunch at little Caesar's pizza. Cheese pizza and some ice cream, just like home. We had a very delicious cup of coffee also, Jocelyne was very happy with that!

Theriault Family at AliBaba

The Theriault family had graciously shown us around the city. This picture was taken at the 'Ali Baba' restaurant.

The national archives

Have you heard of the Big Apple? How about the Big Egg? The lack of windows were the designed element to preserve the books stored in the national archives.

Picture Of Astana

I'm doing this with a dialup connection so will just do one image. This tower,baiterek, is probably one of the big attractions, we had taken the elevator to the top. It represents an a golden egg laid by a sacred bird on the tree of life.

Greetings from Petro!

We made it! We landed with huge smiles on our faces. Once in the airport lobby, we were met by our driver, Alexander, a really nice guy, took us into what seemed like the back rooms of the airport. Have to admit, I felt nervous. They took our temperatures, smiled and said welcome. Phew! Felt weirdly like a leg of the Amazing Race. What we have been the most curious about are the number of people wearing masks since we have arrived. (both in Astana and Petro: in the shops, airports, etc. People teased me back home when I bought some we're wondering what is going on and should we be wearing them!) There does not seem to be any cause for concern.

It has been quite an experience so far and we are learning to roll with the punches. This morning on the way to the airport, I found myself giggling in the back seat of a very fast taxi, enjoying the sounds of Kaz rock and kinda getting into the groove. I looked at Yannik and he told me...this is fun!!! (ok, I admit, it was a bit scary... even Sven commented once we got out of the car).

We are now all settled in in our apartment. It is pretty nice. Not sure about the reliability of hot water, but we're trying to make do. Alexander took us to the Iceberg (a grocery store) and we were pleasantly surprised by the items offered.

Other impressions so far: the people are beautiful. You just smile and look confused and they warm up to you (I tend to do that alot). The women are extremely fashionable. We were also lucky to catch a glimpse of two brides on their wedding day.

Tomorrow we meet Irina and hopefully she will be able to give us a tour of our surroundings.

Good night from Petro!

Waiting At the Airport

Today we leave for Petropavlovsk. The flight was supposed to leave at 9:20 am but is delayed tentatively until 1:45 pm. So right now we are hanging out at the Astana airport, trying to kill time. Jocelyne had taken the 'happy pills' already and is right now asleep on the bench. This is a very nice and clean airport, we found some space to hang out. Yannik is right now looking at episodes of Batman on the portable DVD.

Yesterday's post was brief because the Internet Cafe's computers would not save the data to the blog post. We had a very wonderful day with the Theriault family. Astana has alot of futuristic architecture. We took alot of photos and I hope to post them on the blog when able, so stay tuned. After posting yesterday's blog, we ate at a restaurant called 'Ali Baba'. We had ordered pasta and it was very good. The waiters and waittresses dressed in morrocan(?) costumes and we sat at a low table with no chairs so we sat on the floor. surrounded by cushions. The walk to the restaurant was very enjoyable. On the way, we saw kids playing at what seemed like a play park (there are plenty of those in Kaz too), we were told that they are exercise equipment! We found the people here very friendly with a sense of humour. They seem to be amused by us 'lost' tourists.

I'm going to head back now to see how Jocelyne is doing.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Warm wishes fromAstana!

Bonjour du Kazakhstan. We arrived safely and are having a great time with our fellow New Brunswickers and their beautiful new daughter. Ironically, we went to university together and have lots of common acquaintances. We spent the day sight seeying, enjoying cafes and even ice cream. Yannik is having great fun on lots of rides in one of the parks. The city is beautiful...very modern, clean and the people are great. We feel very comfortable here. Tomorrow morning we leave for Petro. We'll post again once we're all settled in.

PS - the happy pills did the trick...I actually enjoyed the flights and Yannik was great.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A last taste of Canadiana until October!

It turned out to be EXACTLY like Christmas Eve...we hardly slept! I woke up at 1:30 am only to find my darling husband playing with Yannik's new DS! I think he had been playing since 10:30!! Hmmm...wonder if Sven bought it for Yannik or for himself ;0)) 5:00 a.m., Yannik cried out. It turned out to be a pretty early morning. Hopefully we'll be able to snooze on the plane.

We still had a few errands to run this morning so I took the opportunity to indulge in a last Tim's before we leave! Oh, how I'll miss the coffee. As for Sven... he's been reading up on the tea over he can't wait. Perhaps I'll just have to become a tea drinker.. Sven would be very pleased.

Well...the next post should be from Kazakhstan! Thanks everyone for your thoughts and prayers! xxo Sven, Jocelyne and Yannik

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Twas the night before ...

The visas arrived this afternoon...We're all packed and ready to go! It really feels like Christmas Eve, hence the title for this post! Hopefully the three of us will be able to have a good night sleep ;0))

Sunday, July 19, 2009

merci Maman et Papa!!!

There has been quite a bit of running around these past few days. We wouldn't have been able to get everything organized without my parents. They came up for a few days to give up a helping hand. They cleaned, scrubbed, mowed the lawn, looked after Yannik, etc to allow us to pack and cross off alot of items off my famous lists!! Un gros gros merci!!! Thanks also to all of our friends and family for your support...those who have been inviting Yannik for a few hours, lending us everything but the kitchen sink for our trip. We are very touched by your willingness to help us out.

Now...for those of you who know me too famous lists... is a pic of what Sven has been dealing with ;0)) (and actually getting items crossed off as well!) I developped this rather nasty habit at work...and now Sven appreciates them...or not ;0))

Friday, July 17, 2009

a Canadian ready to travel!!

We couldn't resist buying him...He'll be our little ambassador with the kids over there! (We are only the second Canadian couple to adopt from Petropavlovsk.)

We are still waiting for our visas and passports to arrive. Have to admit, we are a little bit nervous... hopefully they will arrive on Monday.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Sven and I have been reading everyone's comments and would love to reply to your queries and comments, but noticed that some require an invite. We would love to get in touch and would appreciate an invite if possible. If you would like to do so, just double click on contact us - it directs you to our new e-mail address which we will be accessing from overseas.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Packing has begun

We're finding it a bit tricky packing for a child between the ages of 6 month to 4 years of age....of either gender! Hopefully there will at least be a few items that will be suitable and the rest will be donated to the orphanage.

I just had to include this picture of Sven packing my precious mattress topper. Since from numerous accounts, the beds in Kaz are pretty hard, we decided to try our luck packing a mattress topper thanks to those space saver bags that take out all the air... and guess really works!!! We're so pleased that we're now taking our pillows as well for some comforts of home. Just had to pass this tip along to those of you who will soon be travelling.

Things are coming along nicely... It's slightly overwhelming at times but we're smiling alot these days ;0)) One week from tomorrow, we leave for Kaz!!!!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

We've booked the tickets!!!!!!!!!

We are leaving July 22nd!!! and will be staying in Astana for a few days before heading off to Petrop. We're really excited since it will give us a few days in the capital city and hopefully visit a family from New Brunswick who is currently there. We also get the weekend to rest up before hopefully meeting the newest member of our family on Monday!!!!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Confirmation of travel dates!

The agency just advised us that our travel dates are now confirmed: we will be travelling to Petropavl any time between July 23rd and 26th! We're pretty excited as you can imagine!!!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Still awaiting confirmation of our travel date

Kaz still has not confirmed our travel date because of vacations. In the meantime, we are busy running around, picking up items and getting the room ready. Our agency told us that we would be arriving in Astana before going to Petro. Another couple from New Brunswick is currently there, so we are hoping that we will be able to meet up with them. We'll post again once we hear the official travel date.