Mom’s visit to Russia Day 7

By Bonnie Pandya

Last night I made my chickpea dish.  It turned out very good.  At the end I added some sour cream, parsley and chopped green onions and everyone loved it.  It went well with the grilled chicken.  Tara, the flight surgeon made fries and a salad, The others brought desert, oh yes, I had a pkg. of cold pack cheddar cheese that went along with the bread Suni brought back from breakfast.   Before we ate, we all made a toast to Suni and Aki, even though he wasn’t there yet.  They presented them with some sort of certificate award they made up.  I didn’t get to see it yet but I took a picture of it.

“with degree”

Then we all had a glass of stout beer, with a shot glass of Bailey’s that we dropped in the beer and drank up fast.  It was pretty good.

“It was pretty good.”

We all went into cottage 3 and sat around the big table and ate.  Aki, his wife and little 3 yr. old son came in to join us.  They just came in from Moscow.  After Aki came in he got an award too. I guess there will be a lot more rewards handed out to them before they fly.

That darn Suni, I was wondering where she was so long and here she comes while the chicken was grilling, with wet hair.  She had to jog to the lake and take a swim.  Has to do all the things she likes before going up.  I don’t blame her.  After eating, Mark, the Army astronaut, said there was going to be a polycom with Houston to go over her assignment in space.  So around 9 she went down in Sheps bar with Aki and had the polycom.  I helped clean up the kitchen with Tara then went into the cottage to write about the Bolshoi tour.  Swannie came in and asked if I wanted to listen in to the call and get a little background of what Suni does. I went down to Sheps bar and watched.

She and Aki were talking to mission control about what they were going to do on the ISS.  After arrival, there were to have medical exams with ground control quite a number of times because you do not feel so good for a couple of days, then it will be once a week.  They went over the time line and are expected to do science 35 hrs./week. Suni and Aki will be doing an EVA and also they all have to put supplies away and do a host of other things.  There is no time wasted or just playing around.  Everything has to be done according to schedule.  Suni and Aki insisted that the science part isn’t going to happen as planned due to everything else they have to do.  Dina said she didn’t want them to miss a lunch or dinner because there was a timeline.  It’s craziness.  Every minute is accounted for and everyone is busy.  Joe will be handing things over to Suni at first because he has been up there and knows what’s going on.  Anyway, I can’t explain everything but it was very interesting.  These people from NASA get orders from others who in turn hand down orders to the crew.  It’s all politics and they have to produce so much science and write reports on everything they do so there is really no time wasted or for just playing around.  It is all serious business.  Suni is psyched to go but told them in no uncertain words what SHE will be doing.  So now, they are going to have another one one from Baikonur before she leaves.  Swannie was explaining everything to me but by this time I took out my hearing aids and had a hard time to hear him.

The others came down after the polycom which lasted about 2 1/2 hrs. with various groups talking to them from mission control.  I didn’t see the first part but only about 45 min at the end.  So now everyone was excited about watching the soccer game between Italy and Germany.  After a while I went to bed because I was coughing and tired out.  I went up and read my book for a while and finally fell asleep.  My nose is running  and dripping in the back so I was coughing a lot.  I will get some cough medicine from one of the Dr’s Friday.

Friday, June 29

I got up around 9 and Suni was already out jogging.,  No swimming today., it’s raining.  Weather is in 60’s and colder.  The doctor is coming over pretty soon to check me out.  I breathed some steam, and then took a shower and packed up my suitcase.  We sat around for a little while looking at Gorby’s pictures when he was a little baby.  So cute, no wonder why she loves him so much.  Everyone here knows Gorby.  The Russians love him but of course he was on his best behavior while he was here. Suni knows she spoiled him but he was the only one with her for quite a while.  Well, like she says, it is what it is……He is her baby…….

Vadim, one of the Russian drivers has been here since I was breathing steam.  He is making soup.  I’ve taken pictures so you will see.

Vadim and his soup.

He brought cut up lamb in a big covered pot and tons of vegetables, tomatoes, potatoes, onions, garlic, carrots, parsley, dill, and so much more.  Washed everything real good and cut everything up to just the right size.  He has three pots of soup boiling away on the stove and he is still chopping.  I need room to make mac and cheese.  Suni got her cookie dough batter together for her chocolate chip cookies with macadamia nuts.  Everyone is cooking for the big party tonight.  Around 50 to 60 people.  I hope it dries out otherwise I don’t know where everyone will be.  I also have two dozen sausages to cook up and a pkg of samosas.  Suni just went out with one of the other drivers, to get some more stuff.  Someone else is bringing in the beer since the beer fairy left for the US.  I am writing and as soon as there is room in the kitchen I will start the mac and cheese.  After a while we will go to the office here in Star City and give the girls a few little gifts I brought with me.  I see one burner on the stove is free so I better get busy.

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