“Desire nothing for thyself, seek nothing, be not anxious or envious. Man’s future and thy own fate must remain hidden from thee but live so that thou mayest be ready for anything.”

(War and Peace)


2009_0219chnhvplus0076This morning it was minus 17 outside when I woke up.

The sky is still blue and the sun is still there and we saw them both yesterday – it was really beautiful.

I found a jumbo box of fair dinkum cornflakes – oh I am so happy.

When it’s really cold the inside of your nostrils freeze.

Pris Gollan is a good cook – and all of her kids are growing up really fast.

I’m not sure if I’m more annoyed at having shoes stolen out of my van, or having the window with my silver fern and southern cross smashed.


2009_0219chnhvplus0081When I was in Australia last year, young blokes were all into drifting. Today I left them all for dead, but not something I wish to repeat in a hurry. We had heavy snow yesterday and another top up again last night. I drove home last night – carefully but with no real problems. So I decided to head down the hill this morning. Slowly and carefully does it. But the hill had a different idea. I started to skid. I tried to brake off and on, I tried to drive into deep snow. I managed to drive to one side, saw some large trees approaching, lost all control, missed the trees, got the front up on a bit of a slope and managed to slide the entire back of the van around and ended up parked totally perpendicular to the road. To say I was shaking would be an understatement.

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The silence of snow is truly amazing. I stopped working on the computer and looked out the window to see big, slow, heavy, swirling, individual flakes of snow, silently falling down down down. My office is on the third floor in the school here in Rzhyshchiv. I tried to take some photos – but you can’t see the action. Snow is so different from rain. It is so silent it is deafening. I don’t want to prepare lessons today. I want to stand at the window and wonder. It is a sight to behold. The wind catches the flakes, some appear to be going up, then they will spiral into a mini slow motion tornado, then again as always they fall down down down. And silently they make their bed upon the ground. Oh it’s a beauty that has to be seen. All of you antipodeans, come over here and visit. I know I encourage you to come in the summer, but some of you, come in the winter. You can help me teach English – but you can see the snow fall. You can wonder at the wonder of wonders.

I keep turning round to see out the window. It just got thicker and faster. Some of those flakes must be the size of a 20 cent piece. Words are not enough. I wish you could all see what I can see.

FEELING SICK (written on an airsickness bag)

On a plane

Oh the pain

40 hours

40 years

Going round and round

The carrousel

With no luggage

Travelling light

Less to carry

But you rush

What’s your hurry?

Got to get there

Then the next place

But the smile has left your face


Not this station

Got frustration?

Need elation?

Oh the pain

On this plane


2008_1018everybodydance0063Stuck in traffic! A rainy late Friday afternoon and I'm stuck in a propka. The name for a cork is the same word for a traffic jam. I see a sign for the metro system so I pull up on the footpath, park the van and head to the underground. 15 minutes later I'm waiting in the rain with some friends. I have a silly hat, a sign that says Lida for president, and I'm wondering why for the second time in a few weeks I forgot to bring a jumper when the weather is below 10 degrees. Eventually we hop on a bus and are transported to some weapons factory that has been converted into a TV studio.

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DSCF2914This is the Ukrainian acronym for my business. Yesterday we signed our first contract. Here is a photo of Katya - the first student to join our classes. We signed up four students yesterday and have another sign-up evening today. Classes will start next week, and I expect they will grow by word of mouth.

I'm not normally a nervous person. I have been more nervous at various times this week than I can remember in a long time. I am very much aware of my inabilities. I am thankful for the many people who have helped thus far.

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