Saturday, May 30, 2020

School is out

We finished our school year! It feels good to be done. All the end of the year stuff for music school was different this year, and, especially with Raia graduating, it took a lot of effort. Finishing art school is just fun and sad that it’s over; no exams there. And finishing at home is good. (I just realized that Bogdan finished 1st grade at music school, 2nd grade at home, and 3rd grade at art school. That amuses me, so I came back to add it here.)

Filming exams
Raia's art
Quarantine continues, but it is loosening up step by step. Our region is doing quite well, with very few cases of coronavirus. We still have to wear masks, but that's about it.

Last weekend some of the teens from church went on a picnic:

Then, on Sunday church reopened. Two of Asya's friends came home with us afterward. We stopped to take photos in the flowers on the way. Pictures don't show how beautiful it is right now.

We've been seeing a lot of my favourite birds. Usually they only fly over too high to really see, but one day Will and I saw a pair down low on the power lines. Then Bogdan and I saw another one the next morning right in front of our house. And today they were swooping over the flowers in the field. That was extra amazing: all their colours, plus the colours of the wildflowers!

Our friends found a baby crow:

And some other random photos:


Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Hedgehog season and other news

Last week Will and I saw a hedgehog on our evening walk. It had been a while since we'd encountered one. Back when we had a dacha, there were so many that it was hard to walk to the outhouse at night without tripping on them. Here, there just aren't as many around. The next morning Facebook showed me a memory of another one from the same day, 11 years ago. Then we went on our school nature walk that day and saw yet another one. It was in the grass right by the kids when I took the photo above; they could hear it crunching beetles. I told Asya that she and I should have reenacted the eleven-year-old photo.

Ukraine is slowly starting to come out of quarantine. We're in the first step of letting up, which is that stores and businesses can reopen, with precautions. It was a little early for this, but we met on Sunday with our American and Canadian/South African friends. It was very good to see each other after eight weeks. The only photo I took was a silly one of the girls begging for something, desert or a movie? I can't remember.

Also, art school is reopening for one month in groups small enough to fit inside the law, in masks, with temperature checks. So, I have a quiet house for the first time in months! While most of the rest of the world was pining for contact with people, I started needing People. Out. (Mostly I love having them home, and I have actually enjoyed that part of quarantine quite a bit, but it does eventually get old.) Bogdan is back at art for the first time right now, Will took him and will work in his office during class, Asya went with them to sit outside and talk with her friend who lives there, and Raia is on a walk with another friend; Jaan is quiet enough that he doesn't count. It's nice. Of course, there are three other children glued to the window to watch me. I'll join them outside soon. But for now I'm ignoring them. 

Monday, May 18, 2020

A Crimean Tatar fairy tale

Today is the day that Ukraine remembers the deportation of the Crimean Tatars. Because of our neighbours, that day has become important to us, too. (I wrote a little about this several years ago, too.) Yesterday our neighbourhood library sent out a link to a movie, a Crimean Tatar fairy tale. We watched it as part of school today. It is beautiful and sweet. As the library said, "A people's pain and their dreams are in their fairy tales." At the end, the dedushka in the movie tells the children just a little about the terrible time of the deportation; just enough to introduce the idea.

We're at that stage of language learning where we can't really understand much, but it's awfully fun to watch a movie, because of all the familiar words. Even Bogdan followed along with the audio, and he doesn't read fast enough to keep up with the subtitles. I couldn't find an English version of the whole movie, but here is the trailer with English:

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Happy Mother's Day!

Mother's Day hasn't really been celebrated here, so we've never really noticed it ourselves, and we often forget to say anything to our mothers about it. Sorry, Moms! We love you! Happy Mother's Day to you this year.

This morning I was sitting outside, almost ready to go inside and watch our online church service, when I heard someone pounding on a gate. Ours or the babushka next door? More pounding and then the sound of her fussing loudly. The other family here had a big iftar last night, so I thought it might be someone coming to get the outdoor cooking supplies and extra tables. I peeked out and saw Babushka G. grumping at someone from our church. He saw me and realized that he had the wrong gate. Then he pulled out three bouquets of flowers. Babushka G.'s face changed so suddenly that it was hilarious. Now he was such a good boy to bring me flowers! A quick happy Mother's Day to me and my girls from the church, and he was off. I was so surprised!

In the past few years our church has moved from March 8 to Mother's Day, but I really appreciate how they still take note of all women and girls, mothers, potential future mothers, spiritual mothers, everyone. And this year some of the men who have cars delivered flowers to all of us! If you watch the slide show near the end here, you can see some of us with our flowers. (There were a lot more photos sent in to the group later, and even though they didn't make it online, it was really good to see all the faces we've been missing in real life.)

Raia's artwork

Monday, May 04, 2020


We heard from my doctor. She says that the scan results are wonderful. The cancer is GONE! In almost exactly one year we have gone from Stage 4 to fully healed. Praise God!!! I don't even know how to celebrate something so wonderful.

The next followup will be a CT scan and checkup in Kyiv in three months.

Thank you so much to everyone who has helped, supported, given money, prayed for us, and loved us through this!