Friday, April 23, 2021

Asya's big concert

Asya is going to play at a concert where children do solo parts with a chamber orchestra. For a while we thought it wouldn't happen because of quarantine, but now it's going to be on Sunday! She's been going to practices and getting ready. Today her teacher sent me this audio clip from rehearsal.

Her piece is a very emotional, very Ukrainian melody. Even if you can't understand the words of the dialogue, you can see the emotions here:

Please pray for Asya, and if you're in Kherson, come hear her. 

Monday, March 22, 2021


 So much has happened lately, I hardly know what to write. I'll try listing some of it.

  • Both Raia and Asya won awards for their music: Raia with her teacher's ensemble, Asya as a solo. One group that Raia is in also won in Bulgaria!
  • Raia got a drastic haircut, here are before and after photos. (Snow in February and snow on Bogdan's birthday.)

  • Our older kids went to a wonderful apologetics conference.
  • There was a fire at our church. More on that below.
  • Will and I finished getting our residency and registering for this year! (Other document adventures are still in progress.)
  • Will's still figuring out arthritis treatment. He had more blood work done and will go back to the doctor this week.
Last week, late Saturday night or early Sunday morning the center of the church building caught fire. The whole sound system burned and the auditorium was left blackened and stinking. No people were hurt, though, and things are repairable and replaceable. It is wonderful to see how everyone is pulling together to work on recovery, sending money, and making sure that church life goes on here. I just realised that another blessing of quarantine is that online services are a normal part of life now. We can't meet in the church for a while, so we're back to online, just like we were exactly a year ago. Even though the cameras burned, they still know how to make this work. The Sunday school rooms are undamaged, so the kids can go to their classes as usual. Parents who come with them can sit together and watch the video in one room, while everyone else watches from home. We got to help with some of the initial cleanup, and now more professional restoration is going full force. (When I came home from church and told Will the information in that last sentence I mixed metaphors across two languages: "Work is boiling как муравейник.)

We're very thankful for God's blessings in this church and for all the love and support that we see pouring in. Please pray for the restoration work.

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Happy birthday, Bogdan!

Bogdan's TENTH birthday was March 12th. We really had a lot of fun celebrating. He wanted to go to the petting zoo at the mall. Out of all of us, only Jaan had been there. Jaan's friends work there, so Jaan knows all the animals' names and personalities and how to approach them. I was surprised that Bogdan was a little overly cautious at first. He actually didn't want to touch any of the animals. Later he warmed up to them and fed and petted everything he could get his hands on. At lunchtime we fed ourselves at MacDonald's--all that animal feeding had made us hungry! Then we went back to the animals again.

Bogdan wanted one of the porcupine quills, and he was trying to move the porcupine to get a tiny one that had dropped. Jaan's friend said that the one he was trying to get was more like a hair than a quill, and he ran back to bring out a real quill for Bogdan. It's the size of a pencil!

Get ready for lots of photos....

I loved how the first thing Bogdan did when we got home was to start drawing from our photos. Then he and I made brownies while the girls were at music/art lessons. When they came home I know I took photos of us singing happy birthday to Bogdan, but I don't know where those went? At the end of the day, I said that if the birthday boy had as much fun as I did, then his birthday was a success. And I think he did.

Saturday, February 27, 2021

Documents and more (again)

Last time I wrote here, we had turned everything in to renew our residency. Then we got a phone call saying that they weren't sure they could process our applications because of an address problem. Our churches prayed, we prayed, the migration bosses had a meeting, we got some more papers, and then we went in to discuss. It turned out that my residency card was already ready. The added papers were enough for my file, so they gave me my card, and I'm done with this step. (Next will be reregistration, which also has some complications this time.) As for Will: he wrote and wrote and wrote. The lady was so nice to sit there, help him figure out what they wanted him to say, and dictate every letter. It all had to be in his handwriting, in good Ukrainian. Russian is easy for us, and Ukrainian is no problem to understand, but writing it is a different story. They decided that they will process his application and give him a new card, but he has to get an apostile from America. They're willing to add that to his file later, though, whenever it comes in, which is really good. So, he's waiting for his card, then reregistration, then a few other things....

He wrote SO much that day!

My old card, just before I turned it in

Other than that, our kids have gotten over their colds and were glad to get out again, after staying home for a week. The music school used a recording of Asya for a little "concert" online; Bogdan's teacher played in the third song there, too.

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Quieter now

We've made big progress on documents. I have everything for my residency renewal turned in. Will's lost paper is found. He can pick it up, get insurance, and submit his documents tomorrow. That's a huge relief! We're still not done, but this is all really good. Also, it's actually only a little bit later than it should have been, although that doesn't matter during quarantine.

Also, Will's making progress with his health, too, after some trouble. He has a specific arthritis diagnosis now. On the day that he was headed to Kyiv, we found out that the headaches he was having were from high blood pressure, caused by an arthritis medicine. He also had a blood sugar spike. That meant he had to see a diabetes doctor and start eating like she said and go for more testing. The further testing showed the spike was also a fluke caused by medicine. No diabetes! So, now he's monitoring his blood pressure--it's staying down--and trying another medicine. We're cautiously optimistic. He'll go back for followup to see how he's handling these medicines in about a month. 

On the day of his Kyiv trip, Will went to our local apteka [pharmacy] for them to check his blood pressure. That's how we found out it was high. They were very worried about him! Later, when I went back to get blood pressure medicine, and they asked if I'm his wife. (He always goes there, not me.) When I said yes, they said that they were very glad that I was getting him this medicine. And the next time he was in there, several days later, they were sure to ask how he's feeling and how his trip to Kyiv went.

Our kids have been doing music exams and recordings lately (one of those). Also, Asya and I were invited to an art exhibit and concert at our library. I was excited because Raia was supposed to play. The day before the event, they found out that the mayor was coming, though, so they changed the program completely. Asya and Bogdan's teachers played instead, and we did enjoy that, but I missed hearing Raia. It's been so long since we've been to any concerts; this one was tiny and not at the school, so it was allowed.

Winter seems to be ending now, but we've enjoyed it while it lasted. I liked having February seem like real winter this year, instead of just grey and mud! Unfortunately, half our family has mild colds. This has made us realise how long it's been since we've had any sickness at all, though, and we're so thankful. And that's all I can think of to write. Oh, I'm still really enjoying all the reading and writing I'm doing for the course I'm taking. And now, photos:

Sunday, February 07, 2021

Busy days

We've had a lot of good and bad, up and down lately. Most of it has centered around doctors and documents. Actually, every day except Monday last week included one or both of those two: lots of waiting in lines, signing papers. 

 If you're on Facebook, you'll know that Asya was diagnosed with shingles. She finished her course of medicine for it, and it's already almost gone. That's a big relief, after we were told it could take a really long time to heal. (Funny: when we were at the clinic, the doctor sighed about Asya's patronymic and all the strange names she was having to deal with that day. When we got home, we found out that our neighbours had had an appointment with the same doctor just before us. They were the other strange names.)

Will's back on his allergy treatment. He's also started trying to get a specific arthritis diagnosis and treatment. That has been a lot of testing, some really good results from a one-time steroid shot, and some headaches (literally) from another medicine. It's been amazing to see what the shot did for him; he's lived with this for so long that all of us had forgotten that there was any other option. We're still waiting on some test results and follow up appointments now. 

Documents... I don't even know what to say. We have made a definite step forward (registration). We still have many more, and we also have had some more steps added. Tomorrow Will is going to travel to Kyiv to get a "sworn affidavit" about his name. This time the embassy responded positively to his request for help right away, which is a small miracle after all the diplomatic negotiations we had to go through to renew passports. So, it's good that we're registered, bad that Will has to get extra help from Kyiv, good that they're willing to help. 

The very best part might be the relief we're feeling. All along we had been counting on the presidential declaration that foreigners who were legal last March would be legal all through quarantine. Then we started seeing articles like this, and we ourselves got hit with some serious fines on Wednesday. (Someone else paid them, because they were his fault, not ours.) So, we were very worried, because we're almost certainly going to be late with renewing residency. However, there's a new passport service centre here, and Will has already had several consultations with them. They reassured him that we'll be fine and even printed out a copy of the presidential declaration for him to take with him. 

Honestly, there's no way I can explain all the document stuff we have going on. We appreciate your prayers. Please keep praying, as we keeping slogging along on this very long road.

Random recent photos: