So we have made it to Tashkent and finally have some time (and energy) to update our blog. It is Tuesday afternoon, just a little after 4pm local time - which makes it 3am in Oregon. We had quite the experience getting here - here's a few short tidbits....
* European airplanes at night are LOUD and bright (all the lights are on). They also serve full meals no matter what time of day and everyone buys the duty free items as the cart passes. Needless to say not very easy to get some sleep.
* We spent 18 hours in the Istanbul airport...we were so tired that Torri couldn't even update her facebook status correctly. We really slept at gate 207, not C-17 :) Oh well - we were very sleep deprived and thankful to at least have free internet to poke around and do useless things! Also very expensive - $8 for two cups of Lipton tea. CRAZY!!! But we did catch the last few minutes of the slam dunk contest - dubbed over in Turkish of course.
* Our arrival in Tashkent went well - just really early! Our flight finally landed at 3am - passport control, getting our bags and going through customs took about an hour and half. We made it to our hotel by 5am and were very ready for showers and a bed!!!
* Yesterday started around noon with a visit to the MTI office and a short tour of the orphanage. All the staff was great and very helpful. It was definitely tough getting going as we were so exhausted - but finally getting to see the kids was great! We both had huge smiles on our faces as we got to say hello to many of them. Can't wait to get started!!! We headed back to our hotel around 5pm and forced ourselves to stay awake till 7 - when we washed our face, brushed teeth, took our Ambien and went to bed!!!
* Today went really well. Our first official day in Tashkent and at the orphanage. Our hotel has free breakfast - which at first seemed impossible since the menu was in Russian. Fortunately we were able to communicate (and our looks probably helped) that we needed an English menu. We both had Rice cereal (not baby food), bread and cheese. Still a little wary to try coffee or tea for fear that it is made with local water and not bottled. We were picked up at 9am and headed to the orphanage - it takes about a half hour to get there. But we got started quickly once we arrived. From 10am-11:30 we lectured - starting today with typical development, how to control tone and starting in on facilitating motor development. We were able to work with some kids before lunch at 12:30. Then the afternoon was more hands on work. We had so much fun working with the kids and showing the staff how to facilitate their movement. We also had the chance to meet our first total sensory kiddo - definitely a hard concept to explain to the staff. But he was able to calm so nicely to some sensory techniques - I think the staff is starting to get the idea. Hopefully with more time, this will help.
Well - there's the update for 3 days worth of time. We did take some pictures today and hope to get them posted soon! Till next time we get to access the internet....
Torri & Stephanie