Monday, November 14, 2011

Sophia's 9th Birthday

Saturday, 12 November 2011

We invited 12 kids to her birthday party--all the girls in the 3rd & 4th grade, plus 3 boys, plus her friend that goes to a local school. All but two RSVP'ed, and all but one showed up, so that was a pretty good turnout.

First, we met at the entrance to the movie theater at the Mega Mall, and went to watch the movie The Adventures of Tin-tin. You can look up movie times on-line, for the current day as well as the next two days, but when I looked up the times for most of the week, only the current day's would show. On the other pages, it would say something like, Wait for the administration to put the schedule up.

So I was nervous--for one week, Tin-tin had shown at 11:30, but what if today they changed the schedule?

Luckily, Tin-tin was showing, and at 11:30. I'd asked everyone to show up at 11, which was good, since, as usual, several people were late.

I bought the tickets--12 children's tickets plus 1 adult ticket--for about 5600 Tenge. That's about $38. Really nice price :) (And Sophia was free because it was her birthday.)

The movie was in Russian, but only a few of the children don't understand Russian, and of them, only one was bored. There's enough action in Tin-tin to follow the basic plot and be entertained. Kids' movies in general are easier to understand than adult movies.

After the movie, we walked back to my house, where I had them do a small scavenger hunt and then open presents while I made macaroni & cheese (imported from the US!) and chicken nuggets. Sophia's local friend was a bit shy, so I had her help me. She'd never seen macaroni and cheese before and appeared disgusted by the mixture when I poured in a huge slab of butter, some milk, and the powdery mixture.

Several of the Kazakhs hadn't had mac and cheese before, but they all liked it. The chicken nuggets were popular too (the frozen kind! now readily available in stores here).

Then I decorated the cake and brought it out and we sang "Happy Birthday." My apartment isn't tiny, but 13 kids is a lot. (The 11 who came, plus Sophia, plus the cousin of one of the girls.) And even though I'd bought some paper plates and had some plastic silverware, we were running out of those! Especially by the time cake and ice cream came along.

At this point they were pretty rowdy, getting in pillow fights, and so I was grateful that it was a rather warm day for mid-November in Astana. It was just 1 degree below 0 Celsius, and it was sunny and not windy. So I sent them outside to play Capture the Flag.

They were still happily playing when their parents came so I judge this party a success :) My house was messy, but we'd still managed to have a good party and for not too much money. And Sophia now had over 11 presents (because some kids gave her more than one thing).

The party ended at 4 pm; the last parent picked up at 4:30 pm; I spent half an hour cleaning the house, and then it was time to get ready for the Marine Corps Ball.

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