Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Less Than Two Weeks

(These pictures are a little out of chronological order, but I just found them and had to share!)

Just before graduation (I mean frighteningly close to graduation!) construction crews worked like mad to finish the new main building and surrounding area. 

The before pictures are on June 4th, and the after pictures are only 12 days later on June 16th.

Before:

After:

Before:

After:

p.s. I like the affect of the before pictures being in kind of bad lighting and the after pictures just glowing in good lighting (not on purpose, I promise!). It's just like when they do before and after pictures when someone loses weight. :-)

Turbo Catch-up Attempt 4

Jon and I are always in awe at how many cranes are at the 2017 World's Fair grounds in Astana! What a building project! Whenever Jon and I try to count the cranes, we usually loose count or interest before we're done and give up. The 2017 World's Fair grounds are just across the street from Nazarbayev University. It's fascinating to watch as the buildings seem to constantly pop up.

William, enjoying his gelato, maybe a little too much.


We found some gummy teeth at one of the stores. Of course, they kept the children entertained for some time while waiting at the bus stop.



Kate and James seemed to really enjoy doing a little summer school this summer.


Oh, my rough and tumble boys! When I heard James had broken the bulb in Bruce's lamp from accidentally knocking it down, I was a little annoyed. They insisted on cleaning it up, though. Great. However, later when I realized it was an energy saving bulb, I got a little worried. Aren't those bulbs filled with something toxic? Sigh.

Bruce, being cute on the playground.


And, what a safety-minded playground it is (insert eye roll here)! :0



Bricks by the wall so children may climb up and fall one floor down to the parking lot below.


Kate and I got our hair cut together again. Kate chose to try bangs.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Astana Days

On Saturday, July 4th we visited some Astana Days celebrations near the Khan Shatyr. We had SO much fun!

First, we visited an arts festival. That part was ok. It was somewhat interesting and amusing because it was so quirky.


Actors were dressed up in artsy-fartsy costumes



There were plenty of cut-out pictures to shove your face into. Oh, boy!




And, these wire dresses were classic!



The children liked playing with the ball mazes.


This one wins the prize for the creepiest costume we saw!


Our favorite part of Astana Days was visiting the Kazakh Heritage Festival (I don't know if that's what it was called, but that's what I just named it for the sake of the blog.) ;)


Men and women in traditional Kazakh clothing


There was a whole area on AstroTurf of several different types of these rocking animals.



My favorite picture!



Brucie, bored to tears while Jon and I shopped in one of the Kazakh yurts (their traditional tents/homes).


Posing with Kazakh props in a yurt


Souvenirs


More traditional clothing




We watched some traditional Kazakh games (similar to what you might see at a renaissance festival, but we enjoyed them more). These men are trying to wrestle each other off their horses. (I didn't get a good picture if a yurt, but you can see some in the background of this pic.)



Sadly, it started to rain during the games, so we left early and did more shopping in the yurts. These were beautifully crafted Kazakh dolls in traditional clothing.


I'm really not into dolls anymore, especially for display, but these were gorgeous, so we got this pair.

Kazakhs love falconry! It's part of their culture. Kate and James were thrilled to see this falcon by the first aid yurt.

Cool flags near the entrance/exit.

On the bus.

We had so much fun at Astana Days on Saturday, we decided to go again the following Monday. It was SO crowded and wasn't nearly as fun because there were so many people around. So, we decided to go grocery shopping nearby instead, then just go home. Look at all those people coming in and out of Khan Shatyr!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Independence Day Celebration

On Friday, July 3rd, the United States Embassy hosted an Independence Day party! It was a day early (instead of July 4th) because Astana was having a celebration that weekend. 

The party was SO much fun, even when it rained on and off! It was wonderful to have the camaraderie of fellow Americans (speaking English!), eating potluck foods at a barbeque with hot dogs and hamburgers. It felt just like a 4th of July celebration at home!!!

The ice cream cart and giant bouncy toy made the children think they were in heaven.




William enjoyed his ice cream so much that he didn't even notice that he was eating the napkin! Extra fiber! :-)


On the bouncy toy




They gave all of the children an American flag and had them march in a little parade. (Jon and I had to smile, though, because the band was playing a Russian's children song for the parade.)



Our sweet lambs with their American flags. They are SO proud to own their own! (And, I guess we adopted a Kazakh boy. He just decided to join our picture. Look at William's face -- he looks so confused. Haha!)


As we started home ater the party, we noticed that the embassy was displaying a Kazakh yurt (traditional tent/home). Probably for Astana Days, which started the following day.
Inside: