Monday, June 26, 2006

It's a scorcher!

Well, today didn't even pretend to be mild. From the first moment we walked outdoors it was "Whew!" brow-mopping hot. Yesterday, sitting in the sun during the morning service I got my first sunburn of this trip, today I got a taste of smothering heat. The climate here is about equal to Ohio, but an Ohio without air conditioning where we have to walk everywhere. Mariupol is so beautiful this time of year. I love the big shady trees and the lovely flower gardens growing in the most unlikely places. They make the whole adventure of walking around the town, in whatever temperatures, enjoyable.

Our day started off perfectly. After a blessed 10 hours of sleep, we woke at eight in time to shower and breakfast with everyone staying at Tim and Mina's house: Brandon, Katie, Becca, and the family. Mina had eggs, bacon, toast, strawberries, tea, and juice for us. We then walked to the church building where I met with the Ladies' Bible class, and James met with the youth group. For two hours, I bonded with Ukrainian women who I had know for such a short time. We laughed, sang, read scriptures, and cried together, encouraging and teaching each other. It was wonderful.

After Bible class, James and I needed to go to downtown Mariupol to buy our tickets to Moscow for this weekend. Brandon, Katie, and others decided to go with us. We decided to meet in a little basement pizzeria after James and I picked up our visa's at the Burow's. Unfortunately we didn't remember the door code. We sat there for several minutes as we took turns trying alternate combinations while the neighbors watched with growing suspicion. We thought we would have to wait for someone to come along and open the door, when I hit the correct combination, and the door swung open. Back at the pizzeria, most were done eating and decided to go on while we waited for those finishing up. They left us with a borrowed cell phone, but left before we realized that it was locked with a pin number. James bolted out the restaurant door after them and disappeared. Becca realized that she didn't have enough to pay the bill for her table, and left to go to the bank. Valya and Katya went home for bus fare. That left me alone in the basement of a Ukrainian pizzeria trying to convince the waitress that someone would be returning with money. James returned and bailed me out. Then Katya and Valya returned, but no Becca. Valya pointed off to the east where she had seen Becca taking off at a run for the bank. We waited on the corner for another ten minutes when we saw Becca approaching from the west. Our only likely conclusion is that she circled the earth. We are still amazed.

Suddenly, the sky erupted in thunder. We were in for a drenching. We boarded the bus for downtown and three hours after we had originally set off, we arrived in downtown Mariupol. We visited the optometrist to get little Sasha glasses, the travel agency to get tickets for James and I, and the Univermag (indoor market) to get suprizes for Isaac and Adam. And then it was time to go home. Walking home from the our bus stop, the cannals of water were so wide and difficult to cross that we had to meander further uphill to find narrower streams to step over. I gracefully cleared a small stream just right so that I ungracefully stepped in a small mud slick, and before anyone knew what was happening, I was down on one knee in the mud and water. Fun. My clothes will wash. My dignity wasn't worth that much anyway. My cream colored, crocheted handbag will never be the same.

At six o' clock, we joined Brandon and Katie and their visit to little Sasha and his parents. We had a nice evening with them and ate dinner at the restarant where Tatyana, Sasha's mother, works. We are increasingly impressed with the improvement of apartments and restaurants as "remont" (remodeling) is the new big craze. The little room where we ate dinner had a fish tank built into the wall, perky sea green wallpaper, inset ceiling lights, and an ornate stone waterfall at one end of the room. We ate Ukrainian pizza, drank black current juice, and enjoyed ice cream decorated with bitter chocolate dust and colored coconut confetti. We again found ourselves in a half translated, half untranslated sea of conversation in two languages. We chatted about Ukrainian "football", politics, and literature and gave gifts that we had brought from America. This trip has tested and stretched our Russian skills for sure!

Unbelievable that it has only been three days in Ukraine! Our days have been so full and so rich. What a blessing.

-Andrea

3 comments:

  1. To think that you went through 2 whole years in absolute training for slip ups and that sort of thing...through some of the harshest weather and all that practice results in you busting it, and you weren't even on ice. I think we are all out of practice when we come right down to it....or wait a second...a fuzzy memory comes back....I think that i recall that the first few weeks in Russia had you doing all sorts of clumsy things...welcome back to Eastern Europe, Andrea.

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  2. Dad & Mom K6:09 PM

    Praise the LORD!
    Praise the name of the LORD;
    Praise Him, O servants of the LORD,
    You who stand in the house of the LORD, In the courts of the house of our God!
    Praise the LORD, for the LORD is good; Sing praises to His name, for it is lovely.
    For the LORD has chosen Jacob for Himself, Israel for His own possession.
    For I know that the LORD is great
    And that our Lord is above all gods.
    Whatever the LORD pleases, He does, In heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deeps.
    Ps 135:1-6

    Hello Dear Ones,
    We LOVE following your days so closely. Its becomming our daily pattern to sit and read aloud your ejournal. Thank you.
    You sound good and positive and strong. Give our love and greetings to four dear family of Christ there. We will have to wait until His time for us to truely get to know them.
    We love you and are proud of you! You are hourly in our prayers.

    Dad & Mom K

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  3. dad & mom9:10 PM

    But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.
    Heb 10:38-39
    We hope that you are well and cared for. All is well here. Brady is having a great week at work. The Boswells (Jrs & Srs) all stayed with us Monday night. The teens are out on the banks of the Matanuska as I type this. And Titus is sleeping.
    We love you and miss you.
    d & M

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