May 31, 2011

Masun kasvatusta - Growing the Belly

"Tuhansia vuosi asitten kissoja pidettiin jumalina. Kissat eivät ole milloinkaan unohtaneet sitä."

"Thousands of years ago, cats were worshipped as gods. Cats have never forgotten this."



Anteeksi, mollaan sinua muuten vaan. Onhan se masun kasvatus rankkaa.

Sorry, just mocking you for fun. I know how hard it is to grow the belly.

Meidän pikku-kisu oli vähän liian varomaton kevään ahkerien vierailijoiden kanssa. Nyt sitten odotellaan pikku-väkeä saapuvaksi.

Our little Kitty-cat was not being careful when all these young men were visiting in the spring. Now we are looking forward to having little-kitties arriving!

Tämänkö takia minut piti herättää?

Is this why you woke me up?

Eli kohta meillä kuuluu pikkutassujen tepsutusta!

Soon we will have little paws running all over the house!

Esikoista odottavat ei vielä tiedä kuinka paljon työtä sieltä tulee :)

Those expecting their first do not yet know how much work kitties bring :)

May 24, 2011

A Day In Our Lives

Often people say that they cannot imagine how our lives work here. What do you eat? Which language do you speak? What about school for your kids? Do you have a house?

They might have an overly romantic picture of the life here, or they might be terrified of the idea of living in Central Asia (where is that anyway?).

Our live is pretty much a normal, every day life of a family with three kids. Or not. I am not a very good judge of that, I guess. I mean, for me, our life is normal. But on the other hand, we have lived abroad for most of our married lives!

So I thought I would share one day of our lives with you. Because I cannot remember what happened yesterday, I will talk about today.

I woke up about 5.30 when our fan started to make funny noise. I checked our bed side light switch. When the light is off, the switch has a little red light on...but not now. It means the electricity was off. Our fan was connected to the battery line, but the batteries were not strong enough to keep it going, hence the funny noise.

I am totally useless in such an early hour, so my husband got up and turned the fan off. Then he disappeared into the kitchen, and left the house around 6.15 am as he does every Tuesday: Men's Accountability Group. Or I think he did: I had no memory of this as I fell back asleep. A friend had come for a visit last night and we were sitting in the kitchen, chatting, up till 10.30 pm. Too late, but really fun.

Around 6.30 my son woke me up by patting my arm, not so gently. He was up and HUNGRY. I told him to go to the kitchen and ask papa to give him breakfast. 'But papa is not here!' he said. Oh yes, the Tuesday morning. I told him to go find an apple, find bread, find anything. He came back; he had not found any bread (I put it in the fridge because now the weather is getting hot and it keeps better in the fridge but he did not know it), and the only apple had a brown SPOT on it, so he could not eat it. 'Can't you eat it around the spot?' I asked hoping that he would disappear for another half an hour, but I gave up, I was too awake already.

Then our baby girl woke up. She is 21 months already, but she is my baby! I got her ready and dressed for breakfast. When I got outside to go to the kitchen with the two (our oldest daughter was still sleeping) I noticed a 2 liter jar of milk on the veranda. I had thought I heard someone calling earlier, but I was too busy with kids to go out to check it. We have just started to buy milk from a neighbor lady. They have a new cow who gives lots of milk; 8 liters a day. It is much much cheaper to buy 'village' milk, 0.43 euro/liter, than carton milk in a shop, which is 1.40 euro/liter. We use about 2 liters a day, so we buy milk from milk sellers that come from villages to the city to sell milk and yogurt, and pasteurize it at home. It is nice to support a neighbor into a little milk business, so we buy from them now.

I fed the kids some breakfast. I often make porridge (hot cereal), or bread and cheese. A very basic Finnish breakfast. Then we went back to the main house to wake up the sleeping beauty and to pick up the house. Our children have few chores in the morning that they need to do before they can invite their friends to play. My son quickly made his bed and brushed his teeth so that he can play before the school starts. He run to the neighbor to take the milk money, and started to play with his friends in our yard.

Usually I start a load of laundry after breakfast. Our washing machine is a top-loader, but I need to manage the water manually. I use hot water for the first round, but then I turn it off so that the kitchen would not run out of hot water. Cold water is enough to rinse the load of clothes. Well, in the summer we never get really cold water. Our water tank is high up in a tower, unprotected from the sun. So it bakes the whole day in the Central Asian sunshine and delivers nice luke warm water.

My house help did not come today, because it is her mother's birthday. She asked for a day off, and I was happy to do it. I was going to visit her mom for lunch.

I try to start 'school' at 9. I sit on the sofa with children and read for them. I have been reading Bible stories for them chronologically. I use my Bible, or children's Bible. After the story the children will draw a picture about the story. Sometimes I print ready coloring pages that I find in the net. For example it was easier to color ready pictures about the Ten Commandments than try to draw a picture for each one ourselves.

My baby loves school time and insist that she does everything exactly like her big brother and sister. If they have a work book, she wants a work book (an old coloring book will do). If they draw, she will draw. If they get the privilege to use markers, she wants to use markers. Luckily they are washable, from USA.

Today we read about 'Line Symmetry' in a Math book, and then we took paper, folded it in two, and cut out shapes that have a line of symmetry in them...hearts, butterflies, ladybugs, fish, lizards, a sword...It kept us nice and busy. I have to keep an eye on our youngest she found matches in the bathroom! Luckily she does not know how to light them.

Mean while two men were installing a satellite dish onto our roof. Now we can watch Central Asian channels...I like it for language and culture.

After snack time my son had play time with his friends, and my older daughter continued her school. She has started to play the piano, and today she was practicing to draw the bass clef and the notes on musical lines.

We had sandwiches for lunch and then I left for the birthday party. I took my son with me so that I could go to bazaar afterwards and buy him new sandals. The old ones were worn through the bottom! The baby took a nap and daughter got her cherished time with Donald Ducks.

I enjoyed the time visiting the birthday lady. We sat on the floor, around a tablecloth, drank tea and ate Osh. We looked through some old photos. I am finally learning the members of this big, large family!

The bazaar was hot! Luckily most of it is covered, but it is a crowded, busy place. I usually avoid taking children with me, but I knew it would be special for my son to go...and anyway I did not want to end up with too small sandals for him! On the way to the spot where they sell sandals, someone stopped us. 'Hello, how are you doing?', she asked. I answered politely, trying to place her into my contacts. 'She must be confusing me with some other foreign lady', I thought, as it often happens. Even though we foreign ladies in our city all look very different, I regularly am stopped by people whom I have never met and who think I am that lady with five kids (wrong!), or that lady whose husband has blond hair (wrong!). She asked about my son's arm, and then I remembered her; the nurse from the hospital! It was very nice of her to greet us and ask how we are doing. It is very Central Asian!

We climbed on the third floor of a building in the center of bazaar where the plastic sandals are sold. We bought sandals for my son, my husband and my daughter. They are very handy to wear around the yard, quick to put on, quick to kick off. The most expensive pair was 2 euros.

I enjoyed looking at the fresh fruit and vegetables that is being sold in the bazaar. Cherries, early apricots, little green onions, cauliflower, even lemons. I did not want to carry much because we had to walk in the heat, so I just bought little bananas.

The kids were very excited about their new sandals and wanted to show them for their friends! My husband took a little walk to the school bazaar to buy a pack of playing cards for my son and his best friend. The little boys here play all day long with tiny cards, trying to win as many as they can. My son spends lots of time learning to master the moves in order to win lots of them!

The dinner was a joint effort...I gave ideas and my husband cooked! Children were playing in the yard...our swing is really popular among the neighbor kids. There is always an opportunity to teach manners and good behaviour. Tonight the 'boys' did not want to listen to the 'girls' and covered their ears when the girls tried to talk to them. It frustrated the girls and emotions were raised. We reminded that it is not polite to cover your ears when someone is trying to talk to you, and if they could not play nicely together, the game would end. We have very nice kids in our neighborhood, and little stir ups like this often dissolve quickly.

It took me an hour to do the dishes by hand and clean up the kitchen. I skipped watering the street and the yard. Watering is done to keep the dust down and cool the air around the house. Evenings are a nice time to see the neighbors on the street, but I did not have time to go out there tonight.

Usually I give the kids a quick shower after dinner. In the summer they tend to get all dusty and dirty and sweaty! It is also a good way to calm them down towards the bed time. Tonight they got to watch a show of Doctor Snuggles (an old, old show). Their bed time is at 8 pm, and they fall asleep pretty quick after a story book and some songs.

My husband wanted to visit a friend, but the friend was busy, so here we are, sitting at our computers, working and blogging. Evenings are a peaceful time to write emails, read stuff, and watch TV-shows!

That was one day here in our Central Asian lives. Tomorrow will be different, I just know it! I will bake Cinnamon rolls and we will have a guest for lunch.

May 20, 2011


Pihallamme on pieni pensasaiadan ympäröimä nurkkaus, joka on tarkoitettu kasvimaaksi. Aina välillä istutamme sinne kasviksia. Rakensimme sinne kompostilaatikon. Valmiina siellä kasvoi jo ihania ruusupensaita. Sitten siellä kasvoi jotain vihreää, jota en tunnistanut. Paikallisten ystävien avulla se selvisi: minttua!

Minttu leviää hyvin, ja meillä on jo aikamoinen penkillinen. Pari päivää sitten annoimme nipullisen yhdelle naapurille. Hetken kuluttua muutkin naapurit lähettivät lapsensa pyytämään minttua. Minttu kuulemma alentaa verenpainetta, ja koska puolella Keski-Aasiaa on korkea verenpaine, sitä käytetään teen seassa. En ole kuullut, että sitä muussa ruoanlaitossa käytettäisiin.

Enkä itsekään sille muuta käyttöä keksi. Tykkään minttuisesta jääkahvista, jota pääkaupungin eräässä kahvilassa voi ostaa, ja leipomiskaapista löytyy minttuöljyä, jolla voi maustaa mm. pikkuleipätaikinaa, mutta en ymmärrä miten tuosta vihreästä kasvista saisin tuon minttu-uutteen irti.

Tämän kasvin melkein nyhdin juurineen kasvimaalta. Onneksi vierailemassa oleva ystävä sen tunnisti ja kertoi sen olevan Melissaa....suomeksi kai sitruunamelissa.

Kun lehteä hieroo sormien välissä, siitä leviää ihan sitruunainen tuoksu.

Sitruunamelissan lehtiä olen laittanut jääteehen mauksi ja koristeeksi. Ystäväni uuttaa siitä kuumaa teetä itselleen.

Voisikohan sitä käyttää salaateissa tai ruokien mausteena? Melissa leviää myös oikein hyvin, ja sitä on meillä jo ympäri kasvimaata.

Ensimmäisen kerran päätin kuivatella minttua ja melissaa. Muutama varsi vain, katsotaan miten käy!

Kunhan se on kuivunut, murentelen sen purkkiin, ja heittelen teen joukkoon.
Jospa se verenpaine siitä laskisi :D

Ja kuulemma sitruunamelissan lehtiä voi käyttää kuivattuna tuoksupusseissa, laittaa vaikka vaatekaappiin levittämään hyvää mieltä. Ja tuoksua.

Onko sinulla vinkkejä yrttien käyttöön?

May 15, 2011


Our daughter and her friends chose the movie "Prince of Egypt" to finish a fun birthday celebration today. It is the story of Moses and the redemption, as told in Exodus, Old Testament.

When they were laying down, I read them the song of Moses and Miriam in the chapter 15 in Exodus.

These verses were very inspiring to me:

"Who among gods is like you, O Lord?
Who is like you -
majestic in holiness,
awesome in glory,
working wonders?"

What a mighty God we have!
Have an awesome week.

May 12, 2011


Joskus taannoin kirjoitin verhoiluaikeistani iltojen ratoksi. Nuo illat ovat kauan sitten menneet, ja välillä täällä kävi melkein nolla-sähkö-tilanne, jossa yhdellä tunnilla päivässä ei ompelukonetta kerennyt ulkoiluttamaan kun piti pestä pyykkiä, imuroida ja muuta semmosta elintärkeää sen yhden tunnin aikana (tulipas pitkä lause).

Mutta olen saanut jotain aikaiseksi....Tässä oli yksi kohde: rapistunut valo - tai siis varjoverho. Nämä tämmöiset varjoverhot pitää huoneen lämpötilaa kesällä pari astetta viileämpänä, ja suojaa myös pölyltä jota vetävistä ikkunoista leijailee sisään jatkuvasti. Nyt oli aika ommella uusi verho.

Vanha oli siis kulunut ja reikäinen!
Katselen tästä ikkunasta kadulle päivittäin. Ikkuna on lähimpänä porttia ja siitä kurkistelen, että kuka siellä portilla taas kolkuttaa, ja näen kun lapset leikkivät naapurinlasten kanssa kotikadulla. Siitä myös näkee, jos lähellä on jotain mielenkiintoista meneillään, ja voin liittyä naisten seuraan vaihtamaan kuulumisia... jos aikaa on.

Verhoo siis heiluu aikalailla.

Tässä on uusi ja kaunis valo- ja varjoverho. Kangashan mulla oli ostettuna jo vuosi pari sitten, kuten mulla tapana on. Sain sen sitten ommeltua ja ripustettua. Verhojen ompelu mulla sujuu, eihän siinä kun suoraa ommelta...

Sitten seuraava verhoiluprojekti. Tässä on mun koulukaappi. Se on lasten koulunkäyntitavaroille, mutta on siellä omiakin papereita.

Kaikkea on kertynyt...Päiväkoti ja esikoulutarvikkeita...Värityskirjoja, tehtäväkirjoja, askartelutarvikkeet, perittyjä kerhotarvikkeita, kyniä, pelejä, tussit ylähyllyllä lapsilta suojassa, saippuakuplapurkit, koulukirjoja...

Jossain vaiheessa tykkäsin avoimista ikkunoista ja väreistä.

Nyt se alkoi näyttämään vaan niin sekavalta.

Ja uteliaat pikkuihmiset olivat sitä jatkuvasti avaamassa.

Tämä on paljon parempi:

Löysin onneksi basaarista sopivan puuvillakankaan. Pelkäsin vähän, etten vaaleaa kangasta löydä, koska täällä suositaan kirjavaa ja kukkia. Mutta tämä ohut puuvillainen alekangas oli just sopiva harmoniankaipuuseeni.

Luulin ensin, että siinä on harmaita raitoja, mutta kangas onkin vain ohennettu raidalliseksi, joten se on vähän läpikuultavaa.

Tätä ajattelin sinne keittiöön myös laittaa.

Eikö ole paljon parempi näky!

Kun sitä roinaa ei voinut poiskaan heittää, kaikkea tarttee vielä kauan, joten parempi se on sitten piilottaa!

Onnistuneista projekteista iloiten!

May 10, 2011

Kukkaa, vesipumppua ja tukanleikkuuta

Tällä kertaa kirjoittelen ihan hajanaisia ajatuksia sieltä täältä. Aloitin vahingossa englanniksi ja laitoin otsikoksi random thoughts. Sitten päätin kirjoittaa suomeksi, mutta en tiennyt, mikä random on suomeksi. Sille löytyi seuraavat suomennokset:

1.satunnainenPuhekieli, Tietojenkäsittely, Matematiikka

Mikään ei niistä kuvannut sitä,mitä halusin sanoa... "Hajanaisia, sieltä täältä poimittuja, sekalaisia". No, ehkä tuo irrallinen olisi ollut se paras.

Eikö ole kaunis kukka. Se on ihan SOOC (straight out of camera) eli en ole tehnyt kuvalle mitään muutoksia sen jälkeen kun se tietokoneelle sain laitettua. Tässä sen näkee, kuinka aamuaurinko valo on ihan lyömätön! Oikeastaan tässä vaiheessa se oli jo vähän liian voimakas (varjo), mutta silti.

Meillä on yks kukkapenkki, jonka kimpussa ollaan touhuttu jo monta vuotta. Ei siinä oikein mikään kasvanut. Kun yksi kevätmyrsky kaatoi sen vieressä kasvaneen kirsikkapuun, ajttelin, että lisävalo ja energia auttaisi, mutta ei sekään heti sinä vuonna tapahtunut. Nyt sieltä pukkailee kaikenlaista kukkaa. Me ollaan heitelty sinne monesta paketista siemeniä, ja joku tärppäsi ja vielä monivuotisena. Kun saavuimme kotiin viikon poissaolon jälkeen, kukat suorastaan ryöpsähtelevät sieltä päälle. Ihanaa! Nyt kun malttaisi pysähtyä tarkastamaan rikkaruohotilanteen päivittäin.

"Murphyn laki täällä päivää. Koska huomasin, että perheen pää ei ole paikalla, päätin laittaa vesipumpun poissa päiviltä. Itse asiassa täällä on kaksi pumppua, ja ne molemmat on nyt kaputt. Kun pumppu vielä aamulla toimi mainiosti, se sai nämä naiset huijattua pyykinpesuun, ja vettähän kului kolmen koneellisen kerran. Ja sitten lapsetkin kävivät suihkuissa mutaleikkien jälkeen. Nyt tämän viimeinen valvoja ei uskalla suihkuun, ettei vesi lopu kesken vaahdottamisen."

Koska ulkona on pimeää ja puutarhassa vaeltaa vapaana kolme kissaa ja kaksi kilpikonnaa sekä villilepakkoja, en halua lähteä sinne pumpun kanssa taistelemaan. Yksi vaihtoehto on odottaa aamua. Koska olen yksin kotona viisi päivää, harrastan terveellisiä ja järkeviä aikataulua; ylös kello 6, aikaisin nukkumaan. Mutten lapset saavat ylivallan ja mietin vielä iltapäivällä että miten pääsisi tästä päivästä niskan päälle ja mitä tekisi iltaruoaksi. Nyt mulla on iltaruoat pakkasessa ja aamuisin olen ensimmäisenä...vesitankkia täyttämässä. Jee. No, pääsee ainaski sinne suihkuun sitten.

Menetin aivan ihastuttavan kuvamahdollisuuden viime viikolla. Kävin eräässä kodissa, ja siellä oli vauvan hiustenleikkuu menossa. Ensimmäinen hiustenleikkuu on täällä iso juttu, ja hiukset haudataan puun alle. Perhe istui lattialla pöytäliinan ympärillä. 2,5 kk ikäinen poika oli niin hellyyttävä roikkuessaan äitinsä pitelemänä, isoäidin leikatessa saksilla mustaa tukkaa, joka tipahteli alle asetetulle kankaanpalalle. Ja sitä tukkaahan oli niinkuin metsänpeikolla konsanaan. Isoisä ehdotteli sähkökäyttöistä leikkuria, mutta naisväki, minä mukaan lukien, pelkäsi, että se voisi nappaista ihoakin. Kysyin luvan kuvanotolle, otin kameran laukustani ja tadaa, patteri oli loppunut. Ensi kerralla sitten!

Maisema matkalla pääkaupungista meille.
Aamukuudelta, ja näkyy nuo takana siintävät vuoretkin.

May 6, 2011

...and then it is May already!

Wow. Last time I checked it was April. And we were heading into a very busy couple of weeks, I knew that. But then life throws couple of surprises on the way and it gets even more insane.

See this. It is the two beautifully formed bones of my sons's right arm. Wait, there is something wrong with them! Looks is...*gasp*...broken! No, they are b o t h broken!

Snip snap. I heard him cry and knew that he had hurt himself. You know, sometimes kids have this She is teasing me and I'm hoping you will come and give her a time out and me some chocolate-cry. And: If I cry louder than her I won't have consequences-cry. Or: It is so frustrating when the pieces of this Lego car do not go where they are supposed to go!-cry.

But this. It was "I was really hurt just now" kind of cry. He was in the yard, and we, parents, were in the kitchen in the back of the yard. Chatting, planning dinner. As soon as I got out and saw his arm I knew it was broken. It was obvious. The arm was bumpy. It was freaky. But because I am the mom I do not have the opportunity to freak in emergencies so I run him to the car and then inside to get some pain medicine while my husband made some phone calls.

We decided both go: it look so bad that we did not know what to expect. We quickly told all the million kids in the yard that the play time at our house was over. We threw our girls into the car. We left the two work men who had been painting our staircase outside to finish up in the yard. On the road we called our friends, told what happened and asked if we can drop off the girls and the house keys. Then we were trying to think who to call, asking where to go. There is a big hospital in the city, but we knew their x-ray machine did not work. There is a newer, probably more modern hospital, too, but it is not open in the evenings. We ended up going to the city center polyclinic, that has the only working x-ray in the city.

When we found the place and got the car parked (always an episode here, no signs, no neat parking lots), we run to the doctor's room. No electricity, no x-ray, we were told. I got upset. I might or might not have said few chosen words to a nurse who came in to check on us. Luckily I used a local language she does not know. I hope.

After about 20 minutes of waiting the electricity came back and we got his arm taken care of.
He had stopped crying in the car on the way to the polyclinic, and the only time he cried after that was when the bones were set to their places. We later heard that 4 of the people that knew of the accident immediately had all prayed that he would not feel pain.
God hears prayers.

The next day my son, who almost never naps anymore, took a three hour nap on the floor of the living room. I sneaked in, took pictures (he always denies any suggestions that he might have fallen asleep during his quiet time, so I needed proof), and covered him with a blanket.
The cast looks kinda uncomfortable. In this picture it is still a temporary cast, he had a full one put on after the control x-ray few days later.

By the way, the fancy purple and golden mattress on the floor is the Central Asian mattress where they sit and sleep.

Then to happier news: my daughter graduated with honors from a Finnish 2-kid 2-teacher kindergarten. Here she is, so delighted to hear the positive feedback and to be able to show us the art work she had done during the spring.

Then sad news: We had to say goodbyes to our friends, moving back home from Central Asia. The good side: it was a chance to have a wonderful farewell party with all of our friends at our home! I love organizing parties. But I miss them. Come back!

I did not have time to take many pictures at the party. In this one I had to blur the people as I did not ask their permission to publish it. But is was a gorgeous weather, too much good food and fun company!

Then we took a work trip as a family. This is early morning in the plane. Wonderful snow topped mountains!

Our kids, experienced travellers. Look at my youngest daughter, looks like she is comforting her big brother by patting him on the cast.

This is a perfect example of a toddler breakfast. I took her around the wonderful breakfast buffet table, asking 'Do you want this? What about that? Cheese? Bread? Cereal? Eggs? Cucumbers?' No, no, no. All she wanted was two pieces of some cold cuts.

After we arrived back home, I got sick.
And felt like this:

And I did not get well soon and still felt like this:

But I hope the medicine is working, at least I had the energy to blog tonight! I missed you! Do not stop reading just because I disappeared for ....too long!