Jan 27 2012

Tickets, Laws, Jobs & Plans

Category: PersonalChrisM @ 1:28 pm

So, the plane tickets have been purchased. We will be leaving Britain in four weeks, and moving back to Astana. Our friend and her daughter have been looking after our flat (and more importantly, our cats!) whilst we are in Britain, so I’m assuming we will be living at Ira’s parents’ place for a while. Beyond the obvious logistics of the journey itself, we also need to think about all the little changes that will be required with Tim now adding to our Kazakh life! From car seats that will fit in the back of our car (no more passengers in the back for a while!), to budgeting our savings until Irina goes back to work again, planning for the future just got that little bit more complex 🙂 Well worth it though, obviously.
Other updates involve a law that I believe has just (?) passed over there that means my reporting of events that may occur in the country pretty much have to not deviate from any official press releases if you want to ensure that a) You’re not liable for prosecution (need to check if fines/prison or a combo are the punishments), and b) Any future visa applications are processed smoothly. Also, if any more work opportunities arose that involved the civil service/media department of the President, I’m thinking they’re not likely to employ someone with black marks against their name. Although I doubt I will be scouring the local job listings the minute I get back, I need to ensure I’m able to earn some money over there. That said, I haven’t done any voiceover work for them since before Anna was born. Anyway, if I was in the country on my own, knew the right people in uniform to get out of the country quickly should a problem arise, and I was basically braver, there could be a lot more information and links on this site.

Ikea Job Interview

For now, once we have settled into our own place and got some sort of routine in place, I’ll check if Interhouse still need me back to give English lessons, check the local scene for any crumbs of IT work that Itreco hasn’t already hoovered up ( 🙂 ) and if Dan finds his workforce temporarily saturated with workload, carry on freelancing/consulting there. Which reminds me, I need to make sure his better half received our birthday greetings.
We still need to sort a new pushchair, visa, baby supplies that are difficult/expensive to source in Kazakhstan and data housekeeping (backups for Anna & Tim’s photos, all our files on our drives, all Mum & John’s on theirs etc.) Must remember to avoid TGI Friday in Kiev airport this time around, unless most of the staff lost their jobs and were replaced by efficient/friendly people. A man can dream…

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Oct 27 2011

Falling Off And Fitting In

Category: PersonalChrisM @ 12:52 am

Yesterday Tim’s umbilical cord stump finally fell off, meaning putting his nappy on will be a lot quicker (they won’t need to be folded down around his now-forming tummy button) and I’ll not be convinced I’m torturing him each time we have a hug!
One of the other changes to everyday things due to the brilliant arrival of a new baby (still no middle name selected just yet) has been our car. Previously if I was driving, Irina would be in the passenger seat, and Anna’s car seat occupied one of the three seats in the back. Tim has a lie-flat car seat, which takes up two car seat spaces. So, if we drive somewhere as a family, we now have no spare seats for friends or family. As a Mondeo isn’t exactly a narrow car, we will just have to hope we can still properly fit Anna’s & Tim’s car seats into our slightly narrower car in Kazakhstan (Ford Mondeo vs Suzuki SX4).

Lizard Relaxing On A Sofa

If we have a couple of friends over, then trying to seat all everyone as well as the family, sofas run out of space now, as well! That said, I find lying on the floor actually helps if my back is aching. It would appear that my gym sessions earlier in the year didn’t do very much at all to strengthen the back muscles that invariably seem to get pulled when holding a baby for a few hours in a row. The furniture itself here in Clydach has largely escaped milky stains (and smells) so far, as Tim seems to dribble excess liquid onto his clothes, rather than with any great velocity. Famous last words!
The health visitor and midwife both seem to be perfectly happy with his progress, and Tim has already demonstrated baby boys’ ability to sprinkle surrounding furniture with wee. Karen (a great lady who we were also lucky enough to have around when Anna was born). Thankfully I’ve managed to avoid a shower so far.

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May 27 2009

Made Me Mad

Category: Kazakh Driving,PersonalChrisM @ 1:49 am

Walking back from our flat a couple of days ago, I saw a baby being carried by his/her mother in a car. This, sadly, isn’t too unusual in Kazakhstan, and I think I’ll have a few battles in the future when it comes to insisting that Anna is able to use her car seat over here when we get a lift.
Part of the problem is that the law in Astana (laxly enforced) only applies to the front seats as far as seat belts are concerned. This means that even if belts are fitted in the rear when the car was made, they are often ignored, left under the seats or in some truely kcufed up cases removed!
Anyway, back to my story… Not only was this small baby held loosely in her mother’s hands, she was actually sat/leant against the dashboard in the front! So we now have a baby inches away from the glass windscreen, should any accidents occur. But it didn’t end there, this car was an almost new Toyota (Camry? I didn’t notice the exact model), and I’d bet 100 dollars against your 5 that it had air bags.
This means that should even a relatively minor shunt occur, the air bag would… well, lets just say that that baby’s parents would most likely be grieving.
It doesn’t matter how many people tell me that there isn’t the culture of safety over here, or that people don’t consider things like seat belts & car seats for children as necessary/affordable, it does not take a fricking genius to look at the little bundle of joy in their arms and wonder what would happen if this car was crashed into, right now. Anyway, rant over, and just to show that this sort of problem is obviously not just restricted to Kazakhstan, here is a quick picture from failblog I noticed recently…

fail owned pwned pictures

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Jun 01 2007

You know you’ve been in Kazakhstan too long if…

Category: KazakhstanChrisM @ 10:33 am

Quite a funny list – a few of them apply to Almaty (the old capital) more than Astana. Here is a small extract, see below for the link to the original and full list.

…you think that car seats for kids are only used by overprotective parents with OCD.

…you find a recently cleaned street rather empty.

…you get scared/worried when the checkout lady smiles at you.

…you buy several of certain things in the supermarket because you expect a shortage.

…sitting in a car you think that pedestrians are careless maniacs jumping onto the crossing when the light is green for them.

…you forget something but unable to force yourself to go to the house with shoes on in spite of being in a hurry.

Have a read from the original – Bogar Harrison’s move to Kazakhstan , then check out her other posts, if you have not been there before…

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