2014.06.16 - sleeping 2  2014.06.16 - sleeping 1

*This looks sweet and it looks like they are a set of cuddly, can’t be separated twins, doesn’t it?  Well, I say, “Ha!”  This scene?  This scene is as rare as hen’s teeth.  Freya had to wait until Daracha was asleep before climbing in beside her and under the covers.  Daracha does not like sharing her space with Freya.  And it is very likely that Freya climbed in next to Daracha in order to wake Daracha up or bug her in some way, but then Freya probably fell asleep before she was able to wake up Daracha.

2014.06.14 - snack time 5 2014.06.14 - snack time 1

2014.06.14 - snack time 4 2014.06.14 - snack time 3 2014.06.14 - snack time 2

2014.06.12 - chocolate 1 2014.06.12 - chocolate 2 2014.06.12 - chocolate 3

In all fairness, we did not do this in our Aberdeen kitchen.  Mostly because there was squat for counter space and because I prepared all of the our food on the kitchen table.  Also, the girls were younger and less able to control themselves in the “do not touch the shiny, sharp moving thing” department.

The girls love sitting on the kitchen counter and see it as a treat.  I see it as a way to 1) coral them and stop them from falling off of their chairs, 2) keep them as a captive audience on my terms so that I can get the job done and not be interrupted every. 30. seconds., and 3) the girls eat a hell of a lot more raw vegetables when they get to ‘steal’ them from my grasp.


Also, we get in some pretty great bonding time*, which doesn’t always happen with two at once.

2014.06.12 - counter 2 2014.06.12 - counter 12014.06.12 - counter 4

(*Ya.  Okay.  These pictures are only of Freya.  I think Daracha was having a nap.)

…bagpipes.  At least for two little girls, if you remember this post.  And the proof?  Well…take a look at the faces.

bagpipes 1bagpipes 3bagpipes 2

And by “a lot more”, I mean once every three months instead of once every six months.  This statistic has actually increased since moving to Atyrau. Let me tell you why.

The closest grocery store, Ramctop (pronounced Ramstor), is very, very close.  It is the most expensive of the grocery stores, but convenience is everything in temperatures of 38C, no car, and two two-year-olds.  I’m talking only a ten minute walk with said two-year-olds (which would be a four minute walk for anyone else).  However, the variety and the cuts of meat are — and I do not use this term lightly — appalling.

There are three choices of meat (if your meat does not include fish, which mine didn’t until I moved here):

  1. mutton,
  2. beef,
  3. whole, frozen chicken.

Lets’ address these one at a time:

  1. I’m sorry, but I wouldn’t touch mutton with a ten-foot pole.  I had it when I was younger and it was much too strong a flavour for me.  Perhaps that opinion will change one day.  Perhaps.
  2. I grew up on a beef farm.  I know what beef should look and taste like.  I’m pretty sure that what is being sold in that store is end-of-it’s-life dairy cow.  Whatever is being sold is not two-year-old steer.  And the cuts are cut with the grain, not against it.  (Who does that?)  Let me put it another way: after slow-cooking cubes of beef in a stew for eight hours, the meat was still tough.
  3. The chickens in this country are not happy chickens.  Jamie Oliver, the chickens need you.  I know this because the egg yolks are an anemic yellow, and, when thawed, the whole chickens often have bruising and discolouration on their breasts.  When cooked, the meat is…well, there are sections of it that sort-of disintegrate.  Usually within the breast meat.

But I know that there must be decent cuts of meat out there and chickens that are at least a little happy.  I know this because the food in the restaurants is — on the whole — superb.  I need to check out the other markets, but that will have to wait until the girls are in nursery. (More on that in another post.)

Which doesn’t actually bring me back to the fish, but I have to get back to that topic somehow.

What Ramctop does have is many varieties of frozen fish.  The real meat choices are so dire that I’ve resorted to cooking fish about once every tw0- to three-weeks.  This makes my husband and Freya very happy, for they love to eat fish.  Daracha and I, not so much.  C’est la vie.

And, so, the girls had their first foray into the world of smelly, stinky, slippery, make-momma-dry-boak,  fish.

2014.06.10 - fish 4 2014.06.10 - fish 3 2014.06.10 - fish 2 2014.06.10 - fish 1

Our fourth day in Atyrau (two months ago).  It’s too hot and sunny to take my very pale, Scottish girls out into the mid-day sun, so I thought we’d pretend to be outside by colouring on the balcony/fire escape/housing for six-or-so air conditioning fans.

2014.06.10 - colouring on the balcony 2

Even then, I think it was too hot for Freya*.  Either that, or she was thinking very deep thoughts.  Don’t you wish you could know what thoughts they are thinking?

2014.06.10 - colouring on the balcony 3

Saying that, one of my daughters is much more transparent than the other.

2014.06.10 - colouring on the balcony 1

(*In two months’ time, the girls have gone from crying, with real tears, “it’s too hot.  I don’t want to go outside!” to “It’s nice and warm” when out on the pavement in 38C.)


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