Friday, March 17, 2017

What a week!

It's been very a very full week, with lots of good and lots of bad.

Good: I got to go to a seminar in Dnipro on Wednesday. It was for adoptive parents, social workers, and anyone who works with orphans and children from hard places. They call this subject "Pedagogy of Trauma." I believe that it's so important that when Alys has asked me about what training her workers need, I've told her that this is it, and when I heard that it was being offered in Dnipro, we all signed up. So... good: the beautiful drive there on Tuesday, the seminar itself, making new friends, and seeing old friends that I had no idea would be there.

Bad: our whole family was hit by a stomach plague, in just about the worst way possible. One parent was away from home and sick. The other was home alone, sick and taking care of sick kids. Enough said? I've never been so glad to come home before! When I was writing back and forth with kids at the orphanage this morning about why I couldn't visit them, I got this from one of the girls:

That describes exactly how I feel about missing them and this whole business of being sick.

We're slowly recovering already, though. Everyone is still a bit thin and wobbly, but Jaan just asked for food, and that was wonderful to hear. Tomorrow is supposed to be a very busy day. I think we'll all be back on our feet and ready for it.

Oh, the picture above was when we first saw the Kakhovskoe Reservoir on our way to Dnipro. I had forgotten how much I miss that "sea." I just showed the picture to our older kids and they asked if it's our sea. Yes, it is. (Hmm. I really laid it out badly. I might need to do some cropping to get better proportions there.)

Monday, March 13, 2017

Bogdan's birthday

Yesterday Bogdan turned SIX! He (and a certain mama) had wanted to celebrate with "shashlik in the woods," but when we saw the forecast for three days of cooler and drippy weather, we suggested the big indoor play place instead, and he enthusiastically agreed. So, after church we headed over there for pizza and lots of PLAY.

(Will was behind the camera the whole time. He did a great job with the photos, but didn't end up in any of them.)

And then, today, according to our family tradition, the new six-year-old had his first reading lesson. Actually, it was just his first lesson with me. He's already learned some at preschool classes. He's very ready, noticing letters everywhere, trying to write on his own, and desperate to be doing school with everyone else.

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Raia in Kyiv

Kamitra, who accompanied Oksana back from America, sent me these photos of the free day they had in Kyiv.

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Bits of news

(Edited later to add a few links.)

This is just a bunch of random bits thrown together.

First, a few pictures of Bogdan:

He learned to make blini!

Second, I didn't finish the marshrutka stories, and that's because the saga continues. Everything is pretty much business as usual. We even have a new route that goes through our neighbourhood. However, the dialogue goes on. There have been several city meetings scheduled to discuss it, but not enough council members show up for the meetings to happen. So, people go to the scheduled meetings, yell at each other, shove each other around, and go home. And we continue to ride for 3 hryvni, for now at least.

Thursday evening we said goodbye to Raia, and she left for Kyiv. Oksana was coming back from America, and Alys invited Raia to go along to meet her, keep her company in Kyiv and on the long trip back. They got back Sunday night. Bogdan was convinced that he was going to die without her, and I felt almost the same way, but we survived.

Everyone except me has been coughing and sniffling to various degrees, and we're all sick of it! At least Raia was the first to get it and the first to get well, so she was fine for her trip.

Saturday Will spent all day in Agape meetings, because the director was here to visit.

Last Monday I got to go visit some of the boys who have been transferred on from Tsyurupinsk to Dnepryani. The place where they live is not a nice place, and it can be emotionally quite hard to see them there and then leave, but we really had a great visit. We planned it so that we would be there during nap time and just wake a few of the boys up for some one on one time, instead of the whole crowd at once, and that worked really well. We pray that at least some of these boys will get to live in a home with a family soon.

Sasha, who is on the right above, was very excited to see the photos I had of our children. He has a hard time getting words out, especially when he's excited, so he just kept exclaiming and pointing to Jaan. It took a few minutes before I figured out that he actually recognised him and remembered him from the picnic in 2013! This was in 2013:

See how much Jaan has changed since then?
Oh, Jaan was in a little concert today. I posted a video of him and his teacher already. This is from just before the concert:

Okay. That's all for now.

Monday, March 06, 2017

Just cuteness

I love this picture of the culinary class that Asya goes to! That's Asya on the far left, in case you couldn't tell.

Taken from here

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Marshrutki, continued

After just long enough for people to calm down and get used to paying 5--I think it took about a day?--the court went and overturned the new fare. Now it's back down to 3. But again, the drivers are kind of on strike. Very few marshrutok are on the roads, and those that do come by are too loaded down to take more passengers. Some people are trying to pay 5 to be nice, and others are arguing. I hear that if you pay with bigger money you get change back as if you were paying 5, but if you offer 3, they take it.

We walked to church. (Why does this have to be at such a yucky time of year?!? February is just a gross month.) One bus did eventually pass us, but it was so loaded down that we laughed; it almost looked like it was dragging on the ground. Of course, taxi drivers are raising their prices, too. They had an official "icy roads" fare. I wonder what they call this one? The "you have no other option" fare? Lots of people are angry and frustrated all around, but I do see nice moments, too. A taxi driver brought Will and Jaan home yesterday for way less than we've ever been charged. Some bus drivers are insisting on giving full change, even when people don't want it.

I wonder if a compromise would work. What if the fare was changed to 4?

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Christmas fun day

On February 3 we finally got to do the annual Christmas day with the groups we work with at the orphanage. The main tradition every year is decorating cookies, but there's always more, too. We get to use the separate building behind the orphanage, so for the kids it even feels like an outing.

This year was the first time more of our family has been involved. Jaan, Raia, and Asya started the day off with a whole little concert. I was so proud of them. Just a few days before, I asked them if they wanted to do it, and they jumped into gear, pulling together a full program of solos and duets that they know. I think their friends thoroughly enjoyed it, too.

After the concert part, we started on crafts and cookies. Alys and our girls took kids one-on-one into the kitchen to decorate cookies, while the rest of us did crafts.

Then we played games, sang songs, ate lunch together, had tea and cookies, and told the Christmas story again with the flannelgraph. We laughed together when I was asking the kids for the names of the main characters in the story, and the answer I got was "Jesus, Joseph, and Maria Alekseyevna," one of their favourite nannies!