Monthly Newsletter September 2010


Summer is over. I received an SMS that said “someone turned off summer”. We are having cool nights; the leaves are turning brown and even starting to fall. Holidays are over, school is back. You can feel, even smell the change in the air.

Change comes to us all. Sometimes we welcome it like a breath of fresh air. Other times we resist it – even detest it. But life goes in seasons and we must adjust. I can’t blindly refuse to acknowledge winter and go on wearing shorts and singlets just because I love summer.


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Monthly Newsletter August 2010


This road is old” “I believe I can fly” “Can I tell you something Uncle Jono?” “I’ve got a plan” “I don’t wanna sleep here, it’s boring” – quotes from Benji.

Today I read The Hungry Caterpillar to a little boy I’d just met and he wanted me to read it again.

I remember taking a bike ride in the western part of Brisbane about 17 years ago. Although I wasn’t exactly sure of where I was going – I had a policy of don’t turn around. There is a way ahead. Don’t put your hand to this plough and look back. Did I get lost? Well I’m here now so I guess I didn’t. It’s a matter of perspective. Sometimes along the path things make as much sense as the ramblings of a child. But when I listen to a child – I can listen to the words, or I can listen to the heart. Dostoyevsky said “The soul is healed by being with children”.

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Monthly Newsletter July 2010


This month has turned crazy. I feel too busy and too tired to write something inspirational, challenging, motivating or even funny. I can’t tell you all that is on my mind. I’m not sure I can even understand myself – but next month . . . .


There’s not a lot to talk about for UTSIM in the month of July. Basically the main activity is the documentation process required for some teachers who we are inviting to come and work with us in the coming school year. I have some documentation issues regarding my University degree. It has been lost in transit while I was sending it away to get an Apostil required for authentication here in Ukraine. I will need an authenticated replacement before September or October.



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Monthly Newsletter June 2010


One of the mobile phone companies in Ukraine is called “Life”. It is the company I use and most of my friends also use it as it has free calls between users. But last week Life was broken in Rzh for about 4-5 days. It was almost a minor catastrophe. We wondered how people ever managed to live and accomplish their daily lives before mobile phones. I couldn’t call my workers when I needed to. Social gatherings were hard to organise. It was eye-opening to see how much of our lives we have made dependent upon a piece of technology. It was also wonderful to realise that meaningful time spent with people, uninterrupted by telephones, is a lost art worth rediscovering

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Monthly Newsletter May 2010


I’ve got nothing to write. No great quotes, no special illustrations from life. It’s late and I’ve been sitting in front of the computer wondering what is special that I can share. The only thing I can think of is spring. Spring is pretty special here in Ukraine. After a long harsh winter – the waking up and coming to life of so many trees and flowers is special. But I thought that was a bit boring to share with you. Then I realised – it is only boring because we have made it boring. We live fast-paced, modern technological lives. We update our Facebook statuses, we listen to our iPods or play doodle jump on our iPhones . We forget to look at the grass, the flowers, the trees, the bugs, the bees, the river, the clouds etc. Spring is beautiful. On Friday night the trees on my street were so laden with white blossoms that in the headlights of my van I almost thought it was winter and the snow had returned. I hope I don’t get so busy or so distracted that I forget to enjoy the miracle of spring.

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Monthly Newsletter April 2010


A break! I am really glad to be having a one week break. I’m off to Poland later today and will drive to Hungary to visit Max and then back again via Vienna to take in the sights of a new city – a little rushed but something I am looking forward to.

Last week I finally made it to Chernihiv. I spent the time looking at available office space to feel the market there and had a really good chat with the owner of an English teaching school. They have been operating there for 15 years. Although I haven’t made a decision, we will probably not pursue a school there at this time; however I mean to keep in touch with the company I met there and maybe work together somehow in the future.

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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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