Feb 14 2012

RT @EurasiaNet: Kazakhstan: Co…

Category: TweetsChrisM @ 6:07 pm

RT @EurasiaNet: Kazakhstan: Could Copyright Crackdown Be Next Frontier in Curbing Dissent?New legislation’s hobbled… http://t.co/LzfjGkIv

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Feb 14 2012

.RT @EurasiaNet: Kazakhstan: I…

Category: TweetsChrisM @ 5:58 pm

.RT @EurasiaNet: Kazakhstan: In Restive Oil Town, Astana’s Outreach Meets Anger: Officials…are trying to listen to… http://t.co/iKvP959w

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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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Jan 13 2012

Right Tool For The Job

Category: Amsterdam,Friends,Personal,WordPressChrisM @ 11:49 pm

Almost four weeks since this blog had a “proper” post on it. Since Christmas, New Year and Amsterdam all took my focus away from the blog, I tried to tweet photos or updates occasionally to keep some fresh content coming in. Anyway, back home now, though in a month or so we will all be moving back to Astana. I will try and post up the rest of Anna’s photos from last year, and also some info/pictures from the recent Amsterdam trip as soon as I can.
Before I forget, if anyone has noticed graphical glitches in the last few months, after a few WordPress core and plugin updates, please do let me know.

PDA Laptop Keyboard Right Tool For The Right Job

Anyway, I’ll be trying to use this netbook’s keyboard more often when adding to this site, and once Anna is at most one month behind in her photos, I’ll try posting Anna and Tim pictures within a week or so of them being taken. That way Ira’s family and friends can see Tim before he gets there, and once we move back to Kazakhstan, our family and friends back in the UK can keep an eye on the children in something closer to real time 🙂
When we are in Kazakhstan, Irina has some more maternity leave available, so it will be both of us looking after Tim and Anna a little longer. One possible direction to take would be me taking on more daytime work, and finding a nanny/childminder for a few days a week. The obvious field of work would be more IT based work, as this requires virtually no preparation time (beyond my normal techy-based idle research) compared to teaching English, my main other work when in Astana. Given regulations soon to come into force in Kazakhstan, I will not be able to write about some current topics of interest, but others who aren’t based in Central Asia have been doing a good job keeping people updated with links and thoughts. When fund management jobs were recently juggled around a little, KZBlog, eurasianet.org and neweurasia.net all caught some articles worth reading.
Anyway, I have not had any voice-over work since before Anna was born, and although there are definitely a lot more students who want extra lessons, the time spent preparing for each one can sometimes double time away from Anna (and now Tim). Fixing computers, installing new set ups and recovering from digital disasters also don’t require me to pay special attention to the (English) vocabulary spilling out of my mouth, lest I should pass on any bad habits to locals wanting to use English for academic or job related reasons! I just have to hope we can get a GPS sorted for our Kazakh car, as trying to find streets can take a long time in Astana, not only do you have the near gridlock achieved when traffic lights are turned off in favour of manual control, but with names actually changed fairly frequently, you want to spend your time away from home working on a errant computer, not battling against the massed 4x4s around the city!

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Jan 01 2012

I’m an hour early for the UK, …

Category: TweetsChrisM @ 5:04 am

I’m an hour early for the UK, five late for Kazakhstan & x hours early for America. Anyway, Happy New Year to everyone, hope it goes well 4u

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Dec 18 2011

Anna’s Photos – June 2011

Category: Anna's PhotosChrisM @ 6:18 am

Yes, I realize a few non-Anna pictures have slipped into the galleries. I need to go and check through the folders of pictures without Anna in them, to see if I’ve missed any good general shots of friends/family/Kazakhstan.

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Dec 17 2011

May 2011 – Anna’s Pics

Category: Anna's PhotosChrisM @ 6:06 pm

Pictures from May this year. Kazakh weather had already transformed from ice and snow to t-shirt weather.

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Dec 12 2011

Zen Working

Category: PersonalChrisM @ 1:46 am

When we return back to Kazakhstan, I will need to start considering how to use my time more carefully, and try to ensure I maximize earnings along the way. When Irina goes back to work, looking after Tim and Anna at the same time is likely to be pretty knackering at first, so I’ll need to try and set aside a few hours every couple of days where I can focus on work related tasks. I probably need to start thinking about changing the physical work environment a little as well. I had wanted a little whiteboard to write tasks to do, contacts to chase up etc., but as my PC is in the living room back in Astana, this adornment would not be welcome on the wall. In the end of the living room that we’ll call my office chairs are not a problem, however trying to type from a sofa or armchair is a bit impractical.

Office Chair

We currently have a dinner table seat at the desk, as the original proper office chair was broken when a couple of friends decided that it could take them both at the same time! It now permanently tilts all the way back. Even I had to agree that it looked messy. Rather than throw out a mostly functioning piece of furniture, we relocated it to the living room balcony, which is where people can smoke. Once Anna was able to walk though, I no longer had use of a comfy reclining seat on the balcony though, as Anna proved very early on that she had the dexterity to lock Daddy out!
Part of the problem is that any PCs/hardware I’m attempting to fix then competes for desk space with another couple of PCs and a printer, and all sorts of odds and ends. Maybe I should set up a very narrow study/office on the balcony!

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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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Oct 20 2011

Tim Has Arrived!

Category: Personal,Tim's PhotosChrisM @ 7:46 am

Excuse the lack of long posts recently. With Tim (obviously) arriving at an unknown time (7.46am, 20th October in the end), I’ve not been able to commit much time to just sitting down and writing about news from Kazakhstan or even catching up with Anna’s pictures. I’ll try and get some pictures of Tim up this weekend, but in the mean time check out Celt Photographic (John’s blog) for some pictures, or head on over to one of our facebook profiles.
There you go, wrote this on Friday and didn’t have time to finish it off or publish it, sorry.

I have included a few photos below taken straight from John’s blog…

OK, as with Anna, Tim had his domain name registered and a basic blog put in place shortly after his birth. Any posts on this blog that are photos or videos of him will be automatically imported to his site, for people who don’t want to visit for anything else. Weirdly enough, his site can be found at TimMerriman.com.
The date and time of this post has been recorded as Tim’s birthday.

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