Thursday, January 13, 2011

repost: not a story for the faint-hearted

~originally posted 9/28/2009~

i thought i knew what to expect for getting my kids all set up to attend pre-school here. i knew lucas would need a bookbag for his clothes, diapers, and naptime blanket. i figured rachel might need some pencils and general school supplies (she's actually going to have some school books). i knew there would be paperwork to fill out with our contact information (and i still don't have our home number memorized). i thought it would be a good idea to teach rachel the words for "teacher" and "potty" in our new language. and i'd probably have to dig through our important papers folder for their shot records.

well, i was right on, all except for that last one. no shot record necessary. these people wanted something much more... tangible.

they wanted my children's poop. well, they didn't want it. they wanted it taken to the doctor to have a test run on it to check for some kind of bacteria. the kids are due to start on thursday, so time was running out. i had to get that poop.

last night was the big event. since lucas is in diapers, his was easy. not pleasant, but easy. i wrapped his in a paper towel labeled with his name, put that in a ziplock bag, put that in another ziplock bag, and put it in the fridge. miraculously, at about the same time, rachel had to potty. it took a lot of convincing for her to not flush the potty. she has a habit of forgetting to flush, so i've been on her about it. she was one confused kid.

i won't go into detail. the poop was extracted from the toilet. it was quickly placed in a labeled paper towel, in a bag, in a bag, in the fridge. i was this close to taking pictures. then i actually thought about it.

the new contents in my fridge would only be "good" (let that sink in for a minute) for 24 hours. so after lunch today, i took out the double-bagged ziplock bags... put them both in another ziplock bag,* and put them in my vera bradley purse. i was going to do this on my own. (with the language barrier and all, i don't do many things on my own anymore).

(i was kind of half-hoping someone would mug me, just so they could see what was in my purse.)

i boarded the mini-bus, bound for the doctor's office. i've never been to the doctor here. it's a world full of words i'm not familiar with. i knew how to say "my children are starting school and i want the gaita test." i walked in, said it, was understood, but then the lady started talking back and i was instantly lost.

i then got the privilege of taking my special delivery package (now in 3 ziplock bags in case you lost count) back to the lab myself. i then got to say my sentence again. the lady told me i needed a paper from the front.

i went back to the front. i hadn't rehearsed this sentence. so i just said "paper?" the lady totally got me, and then spoke some more. after way too long, i realized she needed my kids' names, birthdays, and she was also trying to tell me the cost. i did eventually figure all this out... just not too gracefully.

i then re-delivered my package containing the academic dreams of my children with the proper paper. the lady said, "bir saat." one hour. can do.

i meandered around a couple city blocks, found a cute and cheap winter shirt for rachel, and came back. i had absolutely no idea how to ask if the test was done. and the lady at the desk was not the same lady. i waited in the bunch of people (there are no lines here) and said what i thought would pass for "is the gaita test finished?" i got the blankest stare i've ever gotten, and then heard the words that i say about 62 times a day come out of the lady's mouth, "i don't understand." i tried several different combinations. "gaita test, now, here, finished?" [nothing] "finish? to finish? finished?" [nope] then another lady next to me asked in very broken english what i wanted. i almost kissed her on the mouth. i really had to hold myself back. turns out, i could have just gone back to the lab instead of having 13 people push in front of me and letting them all hear my language skills.

anyway, i now have the papers i need to turn in to the school regarding my children's poop. unfortunately, i can't read the papers. so they may be saying, "these children are toxic and must be quarantined in siberia." but that will be another story for another day.

*ziplock bags are like gold here. i actually wash, rinse, and re-use them.


Jessica said...

What a story! I imagine that these are bags that you didn't wash and reuse.

Joy for the Seasons said...

Gave me such a good chuckle! God bless you for all you been through there. My grandma used to wash out ziploc bags, bread bags, saran wrap, you name it. :)