I'm happy to report that we arrived in Kazakhstan safely! Our eight(!) checked items even arrived with us. The trip over was eventful in its own way, and may get its own post in time, but not today. We're feeling fairly lost and disoriented right now, living in a country we've never visited with a language we don't speak, so I wanted to focus on the positive and write about some of the things we've accomplished here so far.
1. Changed Money: Math has never been my strong point, so I'm still struggling to convert tenge into dollars in my mind.
2. Got our cell phones more or less in working order: This was a multi-step process. We decided to use the phones we'd been using in the US after we terminated our Verizon contract. The Verizon employee who "helped" me terminate the contract told me the phones were already unlocked, and fortunately, that turned out to be true. We were taken yesterday to get SIM cards put in. We had to be told how to make calls--we needed to dial a prefix before the number, which, of course, we didn't know. Then today, a very kind university employee helped us set up the data on our phones. All that's left is figuring out voicemail!
3. Bought some very basic supplies for our apartment: These are truly basic, but worth something. Our apartment comes equipped, but only on a pretty basic level. For instance, I bought pasta yesterday, thinking that was a good staple food, only to realize today that I have nothing to strain it with. There will be a lot of scrambled eggs and cheese omelets in our future until our kitchen is more up to par.
4. Ordered a large bottle of water for the apartment: We don't want to have to tote bottled water around every day. Apparently, you can order a large bottle of water and then have it refilled on an as needed basis.
5. Got university ID's: A good thing to have.
6. Turned in most of our reimbursement paperwork: We were given a shipping allowance, but had to pay the money up front, to be reimbursed later. This turned out to be a sizable amount of money, and I'll be happy to get it back (that might merit its own celebratory post later on).
7. Picked up some of the boxes we shipped over here: The good news is that some of our boxes have already arrived. The bad news is that we haven't even been able to completely unpack our suitcases due to a lack of coat hangers in the apartment, so the addition of more stuff is mostly creating clutter and chaos right now.
So that's where we are so far! I hope to post pictures of something sometime soon. Maybe I can post some apartment pictures if I can shuffle some of the suitcases and boxes around.