Thursday, April 30, 2020

There and back again

The trip to Kyiv was really beautiful. Just before the sun came up we saw a big, beautiful fox. The countryside we went through, especially up closer to Kyiv, was some of the most beautiful I've ever seen: hilly, green village areas in full spring green and flowers.

But then the idyllic part ended. Everything in the clinic is weird and tightly controlled by quarentine measures. I passed out with blood draws and felt icky after that. Because my blood sugar was low, I started throwing up during the scans. If you have any idea of what PET CT scans are like, you can imagine. If not, I'll just say that immobilized, fully restrained, flat on your back in a tight space is not where you want to be while vomiting up many liters of water. The one bright spot was that everyone was wonderfully kind. I'm already sold on private clinics, but Lisod is better than any of them. 

I got out later than we had planned, the anti nausea shot apparently wasn't enough, and the way back was long and nightmarish. It was physically and mentally the hardest almost 24 hours I've been through. But I'm home. It's over. Now I've slept and eaten and am already enjoying school with the kids. Thank you for all your prayers. It will still be several days before we get results and hear what they mean.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Another PET scan

UPDATE: The clinic is open. We'll be leaving at 4:00 a.m.

I've been scheduled for another PET CT scan on April 28 at the place just outside Kyiv since before quarantine started. We've spent lots of time and energy over the past week figuring out how that could work out. (And lots of emotional energy mourning my trip to England and dreading the scan!) As it stands now, the clinic is still working. There are no trains, buses, or planes running, so we are going to pay a local pastor to drive me there. Hopefully he can rest while I'm in the clinic, and then we'll drive back the same day. Assuming the clinic is still working. Assuming that roads are open. They did write up an official document to help us get through road blocks. We'll see. Even if travel goes well, it's probably about a 7 hour drive each way. And four hours in the clinic for me (very unpleasant hours). And they're not sure they'll still be working then. There's a lot to pray about.

Friday, April 24, 2020


Ukraine's quarantine was extended, but the contests our art school is running online are wrapping up now. Please go vote for the work of the kids from our house by clicking the Like button on their pictures: Ася, Лютфие, Богдан, Нуруддин, and Уммухан. And thank you for voting! I wish you could see how excited they get over counting their votes every day. Don't tell the girls, but I think one and/or both of them might actually be headed for a prize.

We had a fun surprise the day before yesterday. One of Bogdan's art teachers happens to be the mother of Raia's friends:

She was out with her daughters and dropped in to see if Raia could walk with them. (Raia hasn't gone anywhere at all--and of our whole family--she's the extrovert, the one who suffers the most from social distancing. We were very glad for this little chance for her.) While we were all standing around, chatting informally, I noticed that the kids from the other family were staring, so I introduced this "aunt" formally, and then they understood who she was. Their reaction was like what would happen if a movie star had walked out of a film right into our yard. They're still talking about it.

From their walk
This is our spring break from homeschooling, but music school continues online. The past few days Asya has been working on perfecting an entry for a video contest. We've made bunches of videos and gotten feedback from her teacher. I think now we finally have something that will work.

And today is the first day of Ramadan. So, as we continue to celebrate Easter, our neighbours start their own special season.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Easter 2020

I was in the hospital for Easter last year. This year was way better, even though we couldn't go to church. It turns out that our kids have no memory of me being gone for the holiday last year; they didn't remember celebrating Easter at all. So, it was like our first time in two years, and it was especially sweet.

We had our special breakfast. Asya and Bogdan got everything ready pretty much by themselves.

Then we gathered to watch the online church service, but the electricity went out at church right when it was supposed to start. While we waited some painted and some read. After about an hour and a half, they got electricity and started. (Oh, vote for Asya and Bogdan's pictures, please. And scroll through to vote for all the kids of our house on other days. It's almost time for them to count and see who has the most.)

For our special lunch, I had requested food from a restaurant we all enjoy. The day before Easter we found out that it's closed, but Will found another place to order a similar meal, and it was delicious! Because of the delay with church starting, the food came while it was still going, so we moved outside with the computer and continued listening while we ate and then started playing.

The last part of the church service was a cute mother-daughter cookie baking class. Asya mixed up their recipe, and we had our own cookie class.

Asya and her friend went around to say Christ is risen and give treats to other neighbours as best they could, from a little distance. One neighbour was also brave enough to come over into our yard and bring us a kulich that she had blessed by herself, since they couldn't be blessed by priests this year.

In the evening I sat out in the street and watched the kids. Then Will and I went for a short walk. It was all very fun and relaxing. Such a wonderful way to celebrate Christ's resurrection! He is Risen!

Monday, April 13, 2020

Quick update; photos

I don't get much computer time these days. Either someone is doing school at the computer, having an online music lesson...or I'm outside. It is really beautiful out now. Over the past week I took each of our kids for a walk to see the flowers and get coffee or tea. Other than that, we just stay in our yard. And we're enjoying every single day of it.

The first two photos are from a little earlier, when it was still okay to go out in groups. We have done something special each time just before it was cut off. Our trip to the forest was just before that was made off-limits. I took the neighbour kids and ours out for a walk the evening before that became questionable. (We're not supposed to move around in groups of more than two people. There is an exception for adults accompanying children--who aren't allowed to be out alone at all--but it's supposed to be for essential business....)

And we're preparing our hearts for Easter. We were sad that the yearly procession of all the churches on Palm Sunday couldn't happen this year, but our church is doing a wonderful job of making online church good and fun.

Please be sure to vote for our art! Look for the names Ася, Лютфие, Богдан, Нуруддин, Уммухан. They love getting lots of likes.

Thursday, April 02, 2020

Art school at home

(Updated at the end.)

Music lesson
Ukrainian public schools are going to broadcast on TV. Our music school teachers have been working out their own versions of distance learning. Art school is private, so they can do what they want, and they're staying in touch, too. One of the teachers for the older classes has been doing a challenge where she sends a theme to draw each day. The kids send their pictures to her, and she posts them on Facebook each evening. They're keeping track of who gets the most likes. (Do you want to help us? Look for the name Ася.) At the end of quarantine there will be prizes.

Yesterday Bogdan's drawing teacher started something for the younger kids, too. She sent a video of herself drawing a beetle and asked them to join her. The little kids in our house did it all together and loved it. They couldn't wait for the next video to come out. Today was butterflies. Again, you can vote for the pictures with Facebook likes: Богдан, Лютфие, Нуруддин, and Уммухан with Ася are the best, of course. I didn't think the teacher would include the other kids, because they aren't in her classes, but she did, and they're very excited when anyone votes for them. Watch for their butterflies soon, too.

Bogdan usually draws a lot by himself, but I had noticed that he wasn't lately. Yesterday got him going again, and now he can't stop. After the beetle he made a whole set of other beetle drawings on his own. He has been missing art classes, but I think this is going to help him.

P.S. After I told you what names to look for, the butterflies came out without names. These are from our house: one, two three. (Bogdan didn't send any.)