Sunday, October 16, 2011

A stroll through the village

The weather was so beautiful the other day that Bella and I went for a stroll, camera in hand.
The path felt like it was lit by the sun bouncing off the trees and houses.

This is a beautiful time of year, and one that I have missed since being in tropical locations before we landed here in Atyrau, just about one year ago.
The colors are turning, bringing the beautiful Autumn reds and yellows:

The seed pods make a calm, rustling noise as the cool breezes rush through them.

Bella was surprisingly patient while I took my photos, but then again, she had fun with this cat that was frightened of her
The last of the roses are finishing up their blooms
and the butterflies are drinking their last sweet nectar before the cold winds and icy snowflakes begin to drop....
I hope Autumn lasts a little longer!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Nature's beauty

There have been some beautiful, sunny days here in Atyrau recently. The weather is certainly turning colder quite quickly. We have been lucky to have such sun around...though the last few days have been gray and dreary with dampness and rain in the air. The colder, winter months are upon us, knocking at the door.

Over the weekend I was able to capture a few pictures of creatures enjoying the last of the sunshine before the winter sets in.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

I'm full of surprises

This time I surprised my niece, my Goddaughter.
She was graduating from law school, and I decided to go to it.

Long story is that we have been a big support for her throughout her three years, and even before that, deciding whether or not to even go to law school. I have always felt that I missed a lot with my nieces, my big brother's girls. I have always been very close to them.
So, when the email came that ended with...
"Love you, miss you, especially next weekend"....referring to her graduation weekend, I sprang into action!

I had been looking for an opportunity to get away from Atyrau, seeing as we are not going away during fall break, which is when the children have off a week from school. Most families leave the camp and get out during these breaks. The school has them every 8 weeks....but this year, we are saving up vacation days for my husband to spend with us at Christmas, and staying in town. So when that email came...I jumped at the chance!
I am so lucky to have such a supportive husband. He was the first one to say, why don't you go?! I couldn't say no now!

So, off I went, through Amsterdam, to Detroit, Michigan, and on to Auburn Hills, Michigan, which is where my niece graduated from Cooley Law School.

The autumn colors were just starting to show, which is one of my favorite times to be in the US.

I got there a day earlier than the rest of my family, seeing as I had much to do. I had to get papers notarized for our upcoming remodel/addition to our house, My gray hair was badly calling to be covered up, my nails were in desperate need to be painted....
and of course, I had to do some shopping to fill our cupboards in Atyrau with all our favorite treats from the US.
So there I was, driving around the rolling hills and green grasses of Auburn Hills.

Once Saturday came, I waited to surprise them all. First, there was the graduate, her sister with her adorable 8 month old baby, that I couldn't wait to see again, my Sister in law, who is the only one who knew I was coming (well, I had to get directions and hotel info from somebody!), and my niece's boyfriend. Since my SIL knew, she was texting me as to where they were on their drive. When she let me know that they were pulling in to the parking lot, I made sure to be sitting with my back to the open windows.

My nieces saw me first...and the surprised look on their faces was precious. The one that was graduating said...
You know, I looked in the window and thought, hhmmm, that girl looks like my Aunt. Then I realized it was you! We all had tears in our eyes and the hugs were warm and wonderful!

Next up, my dad, mom, sister and her son. So, the nieces went to pick up my brother at the airport while I waited, again. They were letting me know where the next batch of family was because they were texting them, and then texting back to me. So, again, I knew when they were pulling into the parking lot. My dad walks in, and I was sitting on a couch. He looked towards me, then took a double take, fixed his glasses, bent forward and said, Oh my gosh, BG, what are you doing here?! It was another wonderful moment.
I sneaked out, walking behind him, to surprise my mom and sister while they were still outside in the car. My sister yelled into the phone conversation she was having, Oh my gosh, BG is here, and my mom jumped out of the car and wrapped me in her arms.

I didn't get to surprise my brother in person. My SIL had mistakenly mentioned, while talking to him on the phone while he was waiting for his flight to Detroit, that they had brought their bags into my room while waiting for their rooms to be ready. It was so cute...she put her hand over her mouth and we all just laughed at the surprise she had given away. He was still quite shocked, just not in person.

It was one of the sweetest moments to be able to do this. I am so happy that I was able to be a part of my family in this very special moment.
Congratulations to my niece!