Monthly Newsletter March 2010


A while ago I watched the movie Julie and Julia. I’ve discovered how therapeutic cooking can be. On the odd occasion that I don’t eat up the road at Ruth and Jon’s, I’ve enjoyed trying to cook with a bit of creativity. Last week I decided to make bread. It came out perfectly. Nice fresh homemade bread – it rose so high it nearly hit the top of the oven. So today I tried again. Igor and I ate a slice of the rocks I produced. What went wrong? I don’t know. I used the same recipe, same ingredients. I tried to copy exactly the same methods as last time – but this time it all went pear shaped.

I think tomorrow I’ll bake a cake.


It’s hard to believe that we are less than three months away from completing our second year. We have 79 students at last count.

Our new replacement teacher, Zhenya, has fitted in like a glove and I am thankful. Sveta has made it back to NZ for a second year of music study and Simbo and Asia have had a baby girl all safe and sound and praising God.

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Monthly Newsletter February 2010


My flat mate (house mate) Igor commented that he was very happy to have a real winter. That means lots of snow and lots of cold temperatures. When I asked him why, he said it felt right to have a cold winter, not a mild one. Weak answer!

Highlights of this ‘real winter’ include:

  • Frozen pipes – mine and many of my friends
  • Buying more thermal underwear – I now own a pair of ‘stockings for men without socks’
  • My van hasn’t gone anywhere in well over a month
  • Taking about 15 minutes to get ready to go
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Monthly Newsletter January 2010


As I write, we are nearing the end of our two week New Year and Christmas break. Yes, New Year comes first in Ukraine and is a big celebration. Christmas is January 7th and the evening of the 6th is a special family celebration with a tradition of eating twelve different dishes.

UTSIM has been running for 1 ½ years now. We look ahead to the following things for 2010:

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Monthly Newsletter December 2009


As a child I enjoyed reading the Chronicles of Narnia. Being from the southern hemisphere I never fully understood the terrible feeling the children felt knowing that the White Witch of Narnia made it always winter but never Christmas. We grow up with the expectation that certain things should always go hand in hand. Here people expect snow with winter. But we are yet to see snow this winter which is very unusual. We all have expectations for Christmas holidays. We have expectations for New Year. We have our own expectations in friendships, work situations, service in shops and restaurants. And we feel grieved when our expectations are not met. This is natural. Sometimes it is helpful. I have expectations of my workers and if they constantly fall short it is my job to draw their attention to their responsibilities. But often our expectations are unrealistic, selfish or both. We focus on what we expect from life and those around us rather than what we can give to others.

May I grow to give more and expect less. Ouch – that can be a hard lesson.

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Monthly Newsletter November 2009

November Monthly Update 2009


Life is a funny thing. I went to Moldova to visit a friend for our midterm break. I went to an international motocross event, a christening, a 25th wedding anniversary, spoke at a conference on citizenship and played an Australian didgeridoo. I really liked Moldova. Although there are some similarities to Ukraine – there are many distinct differences. I really enjoyed the people I met and the outlook on life which they have. They are a small country – a bit like NZ. They don’t seem to be too important to the ‘big wigs’ so they just get on with life where they are. I really liked the friendly optimistic attitude I encountered everywhere I went. Thanks to Tanya and her family for being wonderful hosts and

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Rzhyshchiv a part of Ukraine

28 June 013 I was born and grew up in a splendid beautiful small town. It was and is the most pleasant place for me. In this place there are many nice houses with various courtyards. Rzhyshchivites cherish the place of their childhood because of love and their memories. Rzhyshchiv is situated on two hills and between them, on a corner of the Dniper River. Here local citizens have a great opportunity to go by boat with their families to adjacent islands. They can have a wonderful rest there in the summer, because of the sand and the river; and interesting mushrooming in the autumn, generally on weekends. There are a lot of ‘holes-in-the-wall’ and also a bazaar. You will find two museums there: the Tripolye Culture Museum and the Museum of Regional Studies. Here is a gallery where photographs and paintings by local artists are exhibited. There are two childcare centres, two schools, a lot of hobby groups and four higher education establishments. And if you visit any house you will find generosity and hospitality. You will be given a variety of Ukrainian dishes and be regaled with folk songs.

Come to our little town, you won’t regret it. Open Rzhyshchiv a part of Ukraine for yourself.


This was written by Oksana B. (used with permission)


1 May 006 What do you know about Rzhyshchiv? It’s a really beautiful town!

Cities, like people, are not like each other. Some of them – bright, immediately catch the eyes. Others – not visible, are like a shy girl who hides in the garden.

But if you look into their soul – their long history, then you will see their diamond originality and the greatness of their founders’ acts. Rzhyshchiv extends into the picturesque bay of the Dnipro. Once here, you involuntary think how long did the nature work to create a deep ditch in the valley, so perfectly adapted to life.

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