One month down! And this wave we are riding is just getting bigger and bigger and soon it has to break. I hope I’m standing on the board and not going to get crushed. We have over 40 students (I don’t know how many – new ones signing every week). We have taken the plunge and rented two rooms in Kaharlyk. This is a step of faith hoping that soon we will have enough students there to pay for it. Lyena is very quickly becoming a busy teacher, currently moving between Rzhyshchiv and Kaharlyk and teaching in both places. I need help. I’m teaching an almost full load as well as trying to manage the company.

And then there’s the government! The Ukrainian government loves changing laws, making new laws and generally trying to confuse the public and those who are appointed to supposedly carry out these new laws. Lately they have been having a big go at foreigners working in Ukraine. My work permit is up for renewal. There is now a list of 15 official documents I need for this. Natasha has done most of the work. I had to get my degree translated, another criminal check and the application fee for this has gone up 10 times the price of last year. It is now over $300 just to apply for a work permit. And they are telling me my degree might not be good enough because it doesn’t have some special stamp on the back of the certificate. “Can’t he just fly home and get that done?” – some people have no idea!

So why am I spending all my time working for UTSIM? What is the point? We had a great meeting with English teachers from around here last week. We are providing a service to the community that is wanted and appreciated. We are trying to be examples of a business that is professional, honest, polite and friendly.



If you are interested in art or music in any way then read on – and treat yourself.

Kroky (translates to ‘steps’)

This is the name of a band here in Ukraine who have been described as folk/jazz. My brother in law Jon has played with them at a few concerts. All the musicians are highly talented – one of the backup singers is currently studying music in NZ. You can listen to a sample online and then contact me if you would like to purchase either of their two albums. We have a very special offer for you. CDs are just Aus$10 plus $5 for postage and handling. But order both albums before Christmas and we’ll throw in the postage for free. Your contributions will help Kroky raise money so they can record again.


If you had never had of this before now – don’t worry it was new for me too. These artworks are truly amazing. A young lady of exceptional talent decided to try the medium of plasticine on glass for an effect that any boardroom would be proud to display. She has had one of her pieces on display in the lobby of the Riviera Hotel in Kyiv. I met Alla through my friends George and Irina and they are managing her overseas sales. Her artworks are not cheap – but they are exquisite – and you could become the envy of your friends being the first to own a plasticine artwork that looks like an oil painting. Maybe your company needs a facelift in the meeting room or the lobby. Look at it as a way to help as well as being original and taking the creative edge over your competitors. Check out http://www.vostryakova.com Look for the English translation and follow the link to contact Irina (or contact me) if you are interested in any purchases.


The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo Tolstoy is the long drawn out story of a man who gets sick and dies. But all the way through are very interesting comments on the egotistical nature of human beings. 3/5

Spud by John van de Ruit set in a South African boys’ school is hilariously funny. Not too much to learn but a great laugh. 3/5

I’ve just started Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger. It’s supposed to be a good book although its written in a very unusual style – haven’t got far enough to give it a good opinion.


To Natasha who is working overtime to get all of my documentation in order to have an extended work permit and temporary residency for another year

Love Jono

Keep Looking Up