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

Tim on New Year’s Day http://t…

Category: Tim's Photos,TweetsChrisM @ 6:27 pm

Tim on New Year’s Day http://t.co/L7L1mE3a http://t.co/kBLsKRgN

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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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Nov 12 2010

Long Hair And T-Shirts

Category: Anna's Photos,FriendsChrisM @ 9:46 pm

Back on the 16th of April (a few days before my birthday) we all popped over to the Agnew’s residence, as we don’t get a lot of opportunities to catch up with each others’ news. I forgot to ask if it was OK to publish photos of our friends, so you will have to make do with just a photo of Anna and me. She is proudly wearing her “I love Wales” t-shirt, and by the looks of it, about to make a grab for something she isn’t supposed to. You may remember that last Christmas we spent Christmas Day at the Agnews, and had a great time; this year however, we will be spending Christmas and New Year back in Britain, and giving our friends a bit of piece and quiet 🙂 Looking back at these pictures, I’m still surprised at just how much Anna’s hair has grown in such a short amount of time!

Chris And Anna Merriman At The Agnews

Chris And Anna Merriman At The Agnews

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Sep 07 2010

Plane Tickets

Category: PersonalChrisM @ 10:41 pm

I am pretty sure that this post will end up working my anti-spam plugins overtime, but I was wondering if anybody knew of where to get good Astana <> Britain tickets – price wise? Back in 2006 ChrisD managed to find a return flight that was ridiculously cheap, something silly like two to three hundred pounds. Whenever we go back to the UK for Christmas/have family or friends over, we try to find the cheapest deals going, but never really get very far. We obviously try Travelocity, Expedia and LastMinute , and then once we’ve found the cheapest flights, check the airline’s own website, in case there are special offers on. For a short while, Air Astana had a great deal on return flights (but only from Kazakhstan and back again, not vice versa) but that offer expired. Anyway, does anyone have a tip of where to look, or alternative approaches to consider? Mum will be here in Astana in a little over two weeks, so it would be too late to save her money, but we are hoping to go back to Wales around Christmas/New Year time, so if we need to book well in advance for savings, now would probably be a good time to check, I’m assuming.

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Jan 20 2010

Nayelsa, Nayelsa!

Category: Anna's Photos,FriendsChrisM @ 4:58 pm

As promised, this post marks the first 2010 photos of Anna. The 3rd of January saw us still at Irina’s parents’ house, with Igor, Losha and Katya popping round to continue the New Years celebrations.

Oh, and “nayelsa” is a Russian informal word for “I’m full”. (Please no more food. Yes it is delicious, yes I love it, but seriously, my belt doesn’t have any more holes to make it bigger). Or something like that 🙂

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Jan 20 2010

Round Belly, Square Eyes

Category: Anna's PhotosChrisM @ 1:28 pm

One of my earliest New Years’ memories is being allowed to sit in the living room, watching cartoons on TV, and eating my breakfast cereal at the same time. It now sounds very silly, but back then, this seemed like the most extravagant of treats, and I can still remember watching Road Runner avoid Wile E. Coyote, whilst simultaneously trying not to spill and Shreddies or milk onto the living room carpet. Why this sudden recall of something that happened almost 25 years ago? I was just looking at the photo below, before uploading it, which features Anna having a special treat of watching her DVD and being allowed to eat at the same time 🙂

Anna Allowed To Eat And Watch TV (Christmas Treat)

Anna Allowed To Eat And Watch TV (Christmas Treat)

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Jan 19 2010

Soothing Singing

Category: Friends,VideosChrisM @ 4:00 am

Only a brief glimpse of Anna in these videos, the main stars are Lara and DanD’s kids who were singing for their supper. Actually I think it may have been a dress rehearsal for a performance they were due to give in their school for a New Year celebration, but it was appreciated anyway. Another fleeting shot of the Dombra Hero t-shirt again. It was designed and is sold by a friend of ours, and I’ve not written a post on it still, which is quite shameful. If you know anyone who is into their Guitar Hero games, or wants a slightly more intellectual chuckle than your run of the mill unoriginal Borat themed Kazakhstan clothing, check out the link. They deliver globally, with some even making their way to Afghanistan!

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Jan 18 2010

Opening Presents With Anna

Category: Anna's VideosChrisM @ 11:48 pm

As previously mentioned this was Anna’ first Christmas, and so we wanted to make sure she had a good day, even if she was totally oblivious to the date 🙂 We had a couple of presents for her to open on the 25th, a few more on New Year’s Day (which is celebrated a lot more over here), and we’re hoping to have a mini-belated-Christmas again once we arrive in Britain.
Anyway, these videos concentrate on Anna opening one of her presents – a match the animal to their hole jigsaw type of thing. As expected the wrapping and gift card were initially of a lot more interest, and as Irina had wrapped it, it took Anna a while to break into the securely packaged gift 🙂

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Jan 08 2010

Man Flashing Outside Our Window

Category: PicturesChrisM @ 9:21 am

Living on the fourth floor, it isn’t really that often that we tend to see people outside our windows. A couple of weeks before Christmas however, we noticed someone was hanging around our kitchen window. It turned out we were getting Xmas (well more likely New Year, as Christmas isn’t really observed in this Muslim country, certainly not the 25th December Western version) lights installed on the front of building.

Christmas Light Floating Man

Christmas Light Floating Man

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