Farewell Kazakhstan

It has just gone 9am Kazakh time and I am writing this (ready to type up later) as I sit on the plane having just taken off from Astana airport. As we took to the air, after thinking a last “I really hope I’m on the right plane – well if I’m not it’s too late now”, I looked over to the window on my left to see if I recognised anything as the city slowly receded below me.

The first thing I spotted was the recently constructed glass Pyramid. I immediately searched for the Presidential Palace and as I began to think how different everything looked from up here I suddenly got a fantastic view straight down the promenade from the palace, past the fountains and gardens to a much shrunk Bayterek, past more fountains and gardens right down to the offices of KazMunaiGas at the end. It was only then that the sadness of leaving Astana and my friends after such a wonderfull two weeks really hit me.

I started to search for other points of reference and easily picked out the very tall building dubbed “the Disney castle” by Chris’ mum (which I have to say is very apt as the first thing I said when I saw it was that it looked just like a castle). Knowing this was near to Chris and Irina’s flat I then looked for that and although I can’t be one hundred percent certain I’m sure I managed to pick it out from the surrounding buildings – anyone who has been to Astana recently or seen pictures will know how many distinctive and striking buildings there are.

As the building slowly disappeared from view I thought a final farewell to my friends and the city that had become my home for the last two weeks. As the reality that I was going home to England and that I wouldn’t see Chris and Irina for another five and a half months (they are hopefully coming back for Christmas) hit me I realised how much I had needed this holiday.

It’s not that my life at home is bad in any way, on the contrary, I have many good things happening at the moment, some fantastic friends and a family that I love. It’s just that because of this I am always very busy and have a habit of cramming as much as I can into every spare second. Spending two weeks with just Chris and Irina (and some time with their friends and Irina’s family) was just soooo relaxing. There was no need to be constantly running around like a headless chicken trying to remember what I was supposed to be doing or who I was seeing. We just did whatever we felt like… We saw some sights, had some fun days out and sampled many restaurants, but we also spent time just chilling out and staying up until five in the morning (sometimes drinking vodka, sometimes not) talking and catching up, sleeping until midday and then spending the afternoon chatting some more. We even managed to get through the whole of Scrubs Season Six!

It was great to relax so fully and leave behind all the responsibilities of work etc. I would love to be able to take a little bit of holiday with me into ‘normal’ life. By this I mean that it would be nice not to go straight back into the high gear I was in previously and instead to slow down a notch or two and learn to take a few breaths inbetween activities.

I have pondered a while on this but am still unsure of quite how I might achieve it. I am hoping that this blog may be an aid by which I can take some time out each day to pause and reflect a while on how I am feeling and in turn learn a bit more about myself.

People also say there is nothing like commiting thoughts to paper (or in this case cyber space) for affirming one’s ideas plans and hopes for the future. As if by turning mental thoughts into physical words they somehow get imprinted onto our subconscious, therefore more easily accessible by our psyche and in turn more likely to come to pass.

So, I am going to give it a go anyway and be positive that it’s going to be a useful, hopefully fruitful and maybe even relaxing activity, not like the usual project that I so typically start with such enthusiasm before letting it slip by the wayside a few weeks down the line.

Having reached Kaliningrad safely and successfully boarding my connecting flight to London Gatwick I am now in the air for the last time before I touch down on home soil. My second meal of the day has just arrived and if I had some vodka I would raise my glass and propose a toast. As all I have is a cup of tea this will have to do – “here’s to a fantastic holiday that exceeded all my expectations and to dear friends, may we have many more good times together in the future.” 🙂

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