Saturday, June 24, 2006

There is a woman who has been working at the internat lately, helping with the renovations the place in undregoing - painting and papering and such. I haven't even caught her name. She's an old woman, and the years are written all over her face in the lines that surround her dark eyes and the rest of her features. But she's a peppy old one, and saunters around at a good pace, her voice loud and boisterous . Often at luch she has races with Natasha (the director's 8ish-year-old daugther) to see who can finish first. These races usually end in an argument. She often talks to me about food, wondering what on earth we eat in America if we don't eat kasha (mush of some kind. I'm not even sure what it is, but it's a staple here). The fact that I live in Canada, not America, makes little difference to her. She even told me once that she thought Canada was a State in the USA. And even though she knows little of our culture, she somehow knows all about how we eat, and how the meat here in Ukraine is all-natural and so much better than what we have back home. That stuff you have there - she makes a face - it's no good. Ours is much better. And she urges me to take more: Dzheel - you're hardly eating anything! She also goes on about how she won't eat the cucumbers at the internat because they don't skin them. And who knows what kinds of dirt and contaminants are crawling on the outside of a cucumber. Or she tells me all about her trek around the market the other day, trying to find the right kind of cooking oil. She is one of the few Baptist people I've come across here who doesn't wonder about all the things my church back home allows. When she heard that I'm not Baptist, she simply wanted to know if we believe in and worship Jesus - that's the main thing. I was a little in awe of this, because most of the people want to know how my church back home is differnt from theirs. I like this woman, and the way she just goes on and on, hardly ever expecting any response from me. The way she rarely asks me questions, but just lets me listen to her talk.

The other day when I was walking to the store, a man down the street was shovelling hay into a pile with a pitch fork in his front yard. On my way back from the store he was sweeping his driveway - still only wearing nothing but slippers and a speedo, his large belly hanging over.

The old woman who lives in the house next to ours can often be seen out my window, puttering aound her yard wearing nothing but a bra under her apron, as well as a skirt. Her back is red and leathery. That was before they covered my window with reflective foil like paper to keep out the heat of the sun. I don't like how my window now offers no view, and little light. I have to sit in my room in the artificial light in the middle of the day.

In four weeks from today, Katie and I fly out of Ukraine. I cannot believe how fast time is winding down - where has the year gone? I'm still trying to process how little time I have left in this place, with these people, and trying to not just let the last few weeks slip away. The feeling is not unlike the one I had last summer before I came here, and I thought about how little time I had left at home. I'm not looking forward to saying goodbye, and I think I will be just as much as a wreck when I leave Melitopol as I was when I left Kitchener last August. It's all coming back around full circle. I like that.

You move too fast
or maybe I just move too slow

Thursday, June 15, 2006

At camp:
I was sitting there alone in the dark in the cold damp sand as I watched and listened to the beauty surrounding me. And it's all His. For us. For me. Watching an almost full moon sliding along through the misty patchy clouds, the light playing on the surface of the water. Now you see it, now it's gone. The sea so calm it hardly makes any sound at all, except for the quiet lapping, and the tinkling of thousands of tiny shells as the water tugs at them. The sound of a rain stick. This is the same sea that, just the other day, was turned brown and murky by the wind, churned into waves. But now all is calm and quiet. Watching the occasional flickering of silent lightning, orange-white on the horizon. Listening to the music coming from the chain of rocks jutting nearby into the sea. The sounds of guitar and a beautiful voice. Some of the songs familiar worship ones I recognise from back home. The group our "charasmatic" neighbours. I'm tempted to go over and ask if I can join them. Instead I stay in the damp where I am, singing along in English. The tears streaming down as I am overtaken by the beauty, by the stillness, by the quiet, by His love. His affirmation, His gentle assurance. Just what I was needing at that moment. I don't know how long I sat there, but the group singing nearby left and climbed the stairs back up the bank. Leaving me alone on the beach in the dark.