Sunday, September 12, 2021

End of summer, beginning of autumn

(First of all, Jaan has his posvidka! He got it the day before his 18th birthday. Thank you for praying! All we have left now is registering him.)

The seasons change and school starts on the 1st of September here. Just before the end of summer we got a duck! Our beloved Shokoladka died in mid-August, and the kids begged for another good duck. It's not the right season for ducklings, but we found someone online who was selling a month-old flock, and we talked him in to letting us take just one. Of course, she thinks we're her flock now, but she's growing very fast and already getting a little less panicky when there's not a human in sight. Hopefully Bella/Lapochka will settle in to being a great little pet, just like Shokoladka was (and hopefully she really is a girl!).

So far, she's gone to the library with Bogdan and swimming with all of us. The last thing Bogdan wanted to do before school started was another trip to the river to swim, so we did that right at the end of summer and took the little duck with us.

(If I can get it off Will's phone, we have one like this
with me, too. Come back later to see it....)

And then school! This year we have...

Bogdan in 4th grade

Asya in 8th grade

Raia in 10/11th grade

Jaan in 12th!

Homeschooling is going beautifully so far. Art school is in full swing, and Raia is working there as well as studying. Individual lessons at music school started right away, and group lessons pick up in the week ahead of us now. Please pray for us as you think of us. School life is wonderful, but it is a lot to keep up with, and I so want to do well.

Also, in case I don't have time to update again before the 17th:

On September 17th I'll have scans and doctor appointments in Kyiv. This is standard follow up. (Remember last time I went was in January?) Please pray for my time there and for my travel to and from. Asya is also going to Kyiv at the same time. We had planned my clinic visit so that she and I could travel together for her to attend a Christian music festival, but then it just got too complicated to make our plans fit together. So, she's going with a group from the churches here, and I'm traveling and staying separately. Pray for Asya's travels and Will and the others at home then, too, please.

Monday, August 30, 2021


 Look at this amazing photo from a camping trip that Jaan just returned from. Those stars!

And then two more photos from the trip:

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Residency process (with update at the end)

I realised that I should probably clarify the process of getting residency here, so anyone who isn't as familiar with it as we are won't be confused. Foreigners who want to live in Ukraine have to gather a bunch of documents, depending on their reason for being here. Then they apply in another country for a D visa and come into Ukraine on that. It gives 90 days to apply for residency. Applying here means gathering another stack of papers, buying more insurance, and so on. We turn all that in, then wait about another two weeks to get the lovely "posvidka" (residency card). Once we have that, we have a month to register at an address, which is always complicated since we rent. Then we breathe a big sigh of relief. And we start over again a little less than a year later. If we can get the timing right, then at least we don't have to leave the country and do new visas; we can usually just renew here now. But all the other steps have to be repeated every year.

So the whole process is

  • Collect documents
  • D visa
  • Collect documents
  • Posvidka (residence card)
  • Registration
  • Sigh of relief

Jaan and Will got Jaan's D visa in Turkey and came back on August 1. Since then we've been collecting the next set of paperwork and trying to turn it in. We're still working on that; I'd really like to have it done before school starts on September 1.

Thanks for all your prayers!

UPDATE: It's all turned in.  Jaan got photographed and fingerprinted this morning, but they found a mistake in his passport translation, so Will and Bogdan went to the notary, then Will and I went back to the notary, and then we went back to turn in the fixed translation, and that's that for now.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Happy birthday to Ukraine!

I have so much that I want to write about, but I'll start with what's current: yesterday was Ukraine's Independence Day, and it was a big one, 30 years!

Our family started celebrating the evening before with a trip out to get ice cream and hear an outdoor concert by the philharmonic orchestra that Asya got to play with in the spring.

Then bright and early the next morning, Bogdan and I went downtown. All the bandura students from the different music schools were singing together at the morning prayer for Ukraine that opened the day's festivities. (Hah. This local news report completely skipped over all the beautiful children, but look who they caught singing the national anthem.) 

Video link (So beautiful!)

The bishop's huge purple cape fascinated Bogdan.

Then we paraded up to the central square, which was full of a display of army, police, fire equipment and more. It was all open for climbing and manned by very friendly soldiers/guards/firemen/etc. I have so very many photos of Bogdan there! Here are just a few. I did put a few on Facebook, too.

When I ran out of steam on the square (it was hot and I don't like war stuff), he and I went to a coffee shop to rest and call Asya. She came out, and the two of them explored everything again.

Then that evening Bogdan took part in another concert. He's been going to rehearsals and working hard for several weeks now, but there weren't enough chairs, so he just sang again, instead of playing. He was exhausted, though: two concerts in one day! This concert was almost right in our neighbourhood, so we had friends there with us, too. And pizza afterwards.

We came home to "blue" and yellow cake, and then crashed.

First thing this morning, though, Bogdan had his bandura out, learning new songs on his own. I guess he's ready for school to start now.

(As I write, Will and Jaan are waiting in line to get an answer about Jaan's residency application. We almost got everything turned in before the Independence Day break, but they didn't know what to do about insurance. Since Jaan's not 18 yet, he can't buy an insurance policy himself. Will bought insurance for him--it has Jaan's name on it--but they didn't know if they could accept it with Will as the buyer. Hopefully we can find out now, and they'll be able to turn everything in.)

Saturday, July 24, 2021


We've been working very hard to get the visa that Jaan will need for residency when he turns 18 in September. Tomorrow he and Will are flying to Turkey to apply. They'll be gone for a week, but their application appointment is on Monday. Please pray that everything will be just right on that day. So far, it's been really complicated, and there are still details that we're not sure about.

Planning this trip has reminded us of the last time we went to Turkey, when Jaan was 11 months old. I found the photos I posted back then, and I'm reposting them now. This was my favourite then and now it still is:

Jaan in the Blue Mosque, 2004

Friday, July 09, 2021

Happy campers

We're already at the last day of camp. I know our kids are having a wonderful time, but I've hardly seen them. The older three do sleep at home, but they leave before I'm awake and often come home after I'm asleep. At least I get to see Bogdan, and, yes, he tells me about camp as long as he can keep his eyes open in the evenings. The first three days were very rainy, so they did most of their activities indoors. Then the sun came out, and they had a water day. When photos with our kids show up in the parents' Viber group, I save them, so I'll share those here:

Tuesday, July 06, 2021

Concert season, part 2

 This is still from the folk music concert:

Then, the last concert was Asya's teacher's. It was also supposed to be outdoors, but rain was forecasted, so they let a very limited number of parents in to watch. I was the only one from our family in the audience. It was so good and so weird to be back in the school after all this time! For years I spent so much time there, and then all of a sudden we weren't even allowed to cross the threshold because of the pandemic. Asya and her friend played two duets, and Asya also played one song by herself. It was all lovely.

And I think that is the end of our concert season. Everyone is enjoying a break from lessons and concerts now.