I AM STILL ALIVE

So what does it mean to take a year off?
I hope to answer that question more as time goes on - but for now I thought it would be good to let you know where I am and what I'm doing.
I've been in London for 2 weeks supply teaching. This week I'm going to Scotland for a short break as it is mid term break here. I then have another week and a half of teaching in London before heading south - first stop Zambia.

September 2007 Monthly Update

Plans

The plans I have made for the next few months look like this:
September: Teaching English in Rzhyshchiv and getting ready to leave Ukraine – plus a short visit to Kyrgyzstan at the end of the month.
October: Teaching in London
November: Visiting my cousin in Zambia and helping out on the farm they manage there
December: I arrive in Australia a little before Christmas

Boys Boys Boys

Last week 7 lads packed into the van and we headed north of Kyiv and camped by the huge expanse of water that is the Dnipr River. We had an absolutely beautiful place to camp, and we enjoyed bonding together cooking, eating, swimming, fishing, reading, singing, playing Frisbee and King of the Mountain. Jesse, the youngest, being the self declared winner of King of the Mountain.

Ukrainian Centre for Foreign Languages

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August 2007 Monthly Update

ON TOP OF UKRAINE

Last Sunday Sergei and I stood on top of Ukraine. Mt Hoverla is Ukraine’s highest peak standing at just 2061 metres. It was a steep but fairly quick climb (1 ½ hrs up). We climbed in heavy fog and when we reached the top there was very strong cold wind and we could only see about 15 metres in any direction. So I’ll have to go back again another time. Six of us have just been away for 9 days. We camped in tents and cooked our own food over the fire and washed in the river. It was a good time visiting some cities and learning more of their history as well as just enjoying the beauty of creation in the mountains. It really reminded me of New Zealand. We visited an amazing castle in Kamyanets Podilsky. There we caught up with my friend Irina. I also spent one day across the border in Romania, it was good to see the Marianciuc family again – those who were there. Then on the way home through Lviv we caught up with Natasha and Alyosha whose wedding I was at recently. They showed us some new spots in Lviv and I like that city even more.

RUTH AND JON

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Late July 2006 Monthly Update REJOICE WITH ME . . .

It has been far too long since I have written – let me share with you some of the highlights of the last few weeks.

AUSSIE TEAM
The group of 9 from Australia that spent 2 ½ weeks with us were truly amazing and a blessing. It was great to have young boys who just got involved and made friends with the young guys here. Everyone gave of themselves relationally and went home the richer for it. I am thankful for every member of the team. You are all special to me. And Rzhyshchiv is glad you came.

JON AND RUFUS
My sister and my ‘brother from another mother’ have been absolutely great to have around. They have kept the house running while I have been flat out as well as one-armed. They have initiated some awesome discussions that have helped me think deeply through issues. And I have just appreciated their friendship. They will leave in about 3 weeks and that will go far too fast for me.

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June Monthly Update 2007

Rural Ukraine Foreign Language Services
The registration process I believe is almost complete. I am just a few steps away from being able to operate a business here in Ukraine. This brings a small amount of paper work and other admin tasks. But it also will open the door to many opportunities. 
The lessons are going really well. They are really diverse. I have one student who wants to master the use of the pluperfect tense (yes I had to look that one up). And I have some students who tentatively answer the question “How are you today?” I had a great incident last week when Luda decided to be adventurous answering that question and replied, “I am beautiful thank you.” No one blinked an eye until I translated her answer. Then her husband Yura continued to tease her for the rest of the lesson. Yura has perfected saying “thanks for comin’” when I leave their place each Thursday.

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And the winners are . . . !!!

Thanks for submitting an entry or showing an interest in the logo competition. I took all the entries to the sports director and he chose a combination of two designed by Keryn Reddel and Ben Clarke. They will both receive their Ukrainian dolls in the post in the next couple of weeks.
I will post a picture of the sports uniforms when they arrive here in Rzhyshchiv – they were just ordered and paid for today.

The final entry is the shield attached (the first one).

Jono
Keep Looking Up

July Monthly Update 2007

Weddings in the West
This week is crazy. During the middle of setting up camp, I’m driving Thursday night to L’viv in Western Ukraine. My friend Natalie is getting married on Friday, and I will then drive home again Friday night. I have known Natalie for a long time and she is a good friend.

My Scottish mate Simbo is getting married two days later, a little further west in Poland. Unfortunately it clashes with other things so I cannot go.

Graduations

June is graduation month for the local Technicums. This year Sergei, Sasha and Nadia completed their diplomas. Sergei will work through the summer and then sometime in autumn will commence his compulsory military service. Sasha is from another town. He may be living with me for the summer – is still making up his mind. He hopes to enter university in the autumn. He is a mature young man. I would like to get to know him better. Nadia has finished a chef’s course. She makes great cakes. She is one of my English students and I don’t know what her plans are for the coming year.

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