On to finishing the pre-assignment visit...
So, after the extra two days in Amsterdam, we finally get to Atyrau. The flight is fairly simple, only about 5 hours (that means some great travel for future reference ;) )
The airport reminded me so much of when we lived in Maracaibo, Venezuela. It was small with only two stations open for checking passports and getting your bags, etc...
no carts to haul all that extra luggage we took. It was pretty funny to see my husband and I running back forth with the bags that we could carry!
I can't imagine going there the next time...
picture: myself, two kids, 3 suitcases (big), 3 carry-ons (small) and a dog and cat.
How about we do not even go there yet, ok?
(breath, om, going to my happy place, breath)
We were greeted by a few fellow colleagues of my husband and taken to the camp. It is close to the airport so that was good seeing as we were tired from all of our journey.
We stayed in the guest house, which was similar to a hotel, but much more comfortable. The ladies from the camp, who are wives of the men my husband will be working with, had put in a lovely basket filled with goodies and fruits, water and pops in the refrigerator...it was a nice welcome seeing as we were tired and just wanted to relax for the evening to get ready for the next day.
The next day came and I was greeted by 3 ladies that were a sort of welcome committee for me. They took me around to the different grocery stores and even a flower shop! Boy, how did they know I needed to see that flower shop?!
I thought it funny, though, that they took me to about 4 different grocery stores, but I really found them all to generally have the same things! I wanted to tell them that I am used to this kind of shopping after living overseas almost 8 years now, and that most sights that they thought might take some getting used to, do not surprise me. I wanted to tell them that it is ok with how the meat and fish look in the cases...
how can it not look ok to me...at least they were in semi refrigerated cases...
I mean, I usually buy my chicken and fish off a street vendor, yep...all out in the open!
They were quite generous with their time and their advice, so I just let them lead me around.
We had an afternoon tea where I was introduced to a few more ladies.
Truthfully, I think living on a camp will be the hardest felt by me. I think our children will relish in the freedom of walking/biking/scootering to school and friend's houses. I think my husband will still get up and go to work like anywhere...but for me, well, it will be different and probably take some adjusting of being around the same people every day, all day.
I will stick to my routine, though...and they have a beautiful "club" on the camp to help me do that. There is an indoor lap pool (YEA!!!!!) and an outdoor pool, as well (weather permitting obviously!). They have 2 nice indoor hard court tennis courts, a workout room, small library, restaurant and social area. It seems like life will work itself out there, and I will find my way. I always do!
The housing is quite nice. Though we are not sure which townhouse we are actually moving into, it really does not matter much. They are all exactly the same, so we are waiting for a final decision on which one it will be.
The school was great. It is quite small with combining of classes, but it was really well presented. The headmaster was very informative, honest and gave it to us as we liked it...straight forward! We heard of the benefits, like opportunity for specialized attention due to the small class sizes, to the faults, like the language program. At least this way we know what we are headed into...we already bought the Rosetta Stone French Course 1 for our son that is loving learning the French language this year! (His 12th birthday is this Tuesday by the way!)
All in all, I think this will be a great opportunity for our kids and for some great travel. I am trying not to get too overwhelmed by the "fish bowl" effect of living on a camp where everyone wants to know your business. I have my plan set in motion. I know what I want to get out of this experience, and though I am always open to changing my plan, I will stick to it and have fun in the process.
There are going to be some great travels from here!
Now, can anyone tell me how to continue blogging in a country that I believe blocks blogger? :(
Yes folks, that is a big downside...I tried to blog there, but I couldn't open my page! So, if anyone has any tips, please pass them along! I don't want to update everyone only every 6 months?! I promise to figure out a way once I get there...
but look for more crazy packing stories coming up! It all starts tomorrow with packing the air shipment! Off I go to organize! (Agh, I could use you right now Gabriela!!)