Slip Sliding Away
We started our morning with breakfast with all of the families that were with us in Karaganda: the Makoskes the Fox-Shaddocks, the Brookses, and of course us! We ate at the American Bar and Grill and boy, did the food taste good. We had pancakes, omelets and oatmeal---maybe another time or place and the food would not have tasted that good, but for us today---it was delicious. We have such a connection with these families having lived through this experience, and we feel blessed to have such great new friends.
When we arrived home we began dressing the kids in layers and layers of clothes---we were going sledding with the Goulets, the Strausses, the Frances and the Ballous. They took us to a sledding park where we all rented innertubes. There were three heights of runs, but they were all pretty high and a good hike up. I stayed on the sidelines not anxious to risk re-injuring my shoulder, and taking care of Aliya, who amazingly slept for a good part of the trip.
The kids all had a ball---there was no fear on this sledding trip. They started out on the smaller hill, where they figured out they could hit a little jump and catch air everytime, but they quickly graduated to the steeper hills. They went up over and over. There was a large group of older boys/young men who would make a long train of innertubes. They would get so much momentum that they would get to the end of the run, go up a large embankment, catch a ton of air and land 6 feet down in the parking lot. We of course worried they would get hurt, but they were apparently okay since they did it over and over and over.
After about an hour, Mike Goulet set up a snack shack. He had a little burner to heat water for coffee and hot chocolate and there were snacks galore. By this time we had to turn the innertubes back in so the kids started down the hill on sleds that the Brookses brought over for them in January from New Hampshire, or sometimes on their rears. I caught Cassidy at one point trying to bury herself in the snow, and it dawned on me that she was too familiar with the beach, where she is always trying to bury herself---I suggested perhaps sand was better than snow, but she disagreed (imagine that!) and continued to bury herself. When we were all frozen, red-cheeked and a little tired, we loaded up and headed to the Goulets' house for a great spaghetti dinner. Between the five families, there were 16 children, so it was a loud and busy house!!
We had such a good time with old friends and getting to know new friends---we will leave Kazakhstan with deepened friendships and many new friends--and today, for that we feel so blessed! What a great day we had--the kids fell into bed with smiles on their faces! Each day of our experience has brought a different type of blessing for us all.