18 Oct 2009


Zhibek on the right, her mother and sister

The train from Aktau to Aqtöbe took 26h. I slept most of the way. Still didn't feel like eating after being sick. So I didn't. The Kazakh lady across from me was a German teacher and spoke some English, and the girl above her was friendly too. They were both on their way to Almaty and got off about 2 hours before I did.

It was during this part of the trip that I started being ready to be home. I even started counting hours until I'd see mom in Kouvola. 88h at first. The thought of another 3 days in the train really wasn't fun. In that sense taking a train is better than flying. With a flight everything changes so quickly and before you know it you can be on the other side of the world and your mind takes a while to adjust. In a train the adjustment happens along the way. You can watch the miles go by, the scenery change, the people change. In the case of a long train ride the desire to get off and be done with it eventually becomes stronger than the homesickness for the place you just left.

But God reminded me of Jeremiah 29:11 and said there is hope. So I told Him I'd wait for that hope.

When we got to Aqtöbe I lifted my luggage out from under the bed and waited for everyone else to exit. Then I was going to try and lug the bags out to the station. Two russian ladies were there with me though and asked if anyone was meeting me and whether they could help me. So together we carried my things, along with theirs, down to the secure storage room. We had 4 hours before the Moscow train left. Tamara and Galina (my new friends) were going to walk around the city for a while. I told them I'd stay in the station since I still felt really weak and exhausted. So I walked up the stairs and thanked God for sending me these ladies and then asked him what I was supposed to do for the next 3 hours? I figured I'd find a corner and sit and sleep.

But as I walked through the station a girl walked toward me and asked in English whether I was Lahja! How random.. Aizhan had gotten in contact with her and asked if she could take care of me for the short time I was in their city :) So Zhibek took me to their beautiful home. I got to shower and we drank tea and had a meal and talked. It was so nice. Then she drove me around and showed me the different sights, like their Mega Center (identical to ours, the 4th one in Kazakhstan), and a beautiful mosque.
Back at the train station we met up with my ladies and then Zhibek helped me get my stuff on the train and get settled.

There really always is hope.

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