Well. It’s been one whole day in my new country: Kazakhstan! I finally got the work visa approved, and since you must have your visa in hand before you can fly, that took some time and doing. The Kazakhstan Embassy in Washington, D.C. does not accept mail, or other deliveries like Fed Ex or UPS. Because of this, you either have to GO there and take your documents in person and then go back a week later and pick them up (from ATLANTA), or, you have to pay for a courier service to do that for you. Easy decision, that one.
It was two full days (48 hours plus about 10 more) to get here, what with three flights and two lengthy layovers, one in Amsterdam and one in Almaty. Almaty is in Kazakhstan, and is one of its two largest cities. The other one is Astana. One is the capitol, and the other one is the largest city. I forget which is which, but I am sure I will learn.
The one funny thing in Almaty’s airport terminal, while I waited over eight hours on my next flight, was that workers came around prising up from the benches (where weary travelers were sitting, waiting on their flights), the CUSHIONS from the bench seats. ???? They did not ask any of us who were seated to move, but they scarfed the cushion right next to me…..? Interesting, I could not help but giggle over it.
The other thing I will get to learn is some Russian. Seriously. The other language they speak here (could not be just one, huh?) is Kazakh. *sigh* And, like Arabic, this one has another new alphabet, too.
Well. At least the apartment the school furnished is nice. It is pretty bare in the kitchen, which I will have to remedy, but it will certainly do, and it is free – a perk of the job. No complaints, believe me. I can buy a few dishes.
This morning, a colleague at the school who is named Georgia (! my home state, what a great good omen) came to take me shopping for a few necessities to get through the first week. The stores are only a couple of blocks away – no bus or taxi fares! The school is only about a mile and a half away, too – shared taxi should be reasonable, too.
My first dinner consisted of one of the new grains in the supermarket – I think wheat berries, plus carrots and potatoes. Root crops are very reasonably priced. Packaging is interesting. More glass jars than cans. Good for reusing. I like it, except for when (not if) I break one getting them home.
Yes, it is cold (15 degrees Fahrenheit), but the apartment is warm. Tomorrow is the first day at work, so I am excited enough to be uninterested in sleeping, darn it. Clothes laid out, Panama cell phone set to Kazakh time as my alarm clock/watch, since I forgot to pack any watches and the darn cheap thing does not work here in this country, anyway. Makes a good alarm clock, though, so I’m keeping it. I bought an electrical adapter today, so my laptop, tablet, Kindle reader, cell phone and tablet are all charged. Woo Hoo! New job, new life, here I come!