Archive for May, 2014

Memorial Day and Ukraine’s triumph

Today is a very important holiday for Americans, for some it means remembering those who have given their ALL for our freedoms. Sadly for others it means BBQ and being outdoors in the fresh spring air. I am reminded that during all the wars that Americans have fought in, “All gave some, some gave ALL!” The family members who are left behind to grieve, remember that. So, today my husband and I put up our two American flags to show any passersby that we remember the sacrifice of others for what we often take for granted. We went out to stalk asparagus in the ditches and came home with a fresh batch. Life is good.

My American friend, who is an economist, wrote the following earlier to her friends about what she has been doing as an election observer.

“So economic nerd thoughts on today: 1) we take so much for granted, like indoor plumbing and power. Schools in this town had indoor plumbing, the villages did not. 2) The average monthly income here is about 200 to 300 per month. We are paying our interpreter and driver over 300 dollars for four days work. No wonder they love elections! 3) gasoline (or benzine as they call it) is about 6 dollars per gallon-and we complain about 4 dollar gas ( and keep in mInd the average income above) 4) cars in Kyiv were Audi, Saab, Benz, and upward from there in price. Cars in Khmelnytsky were Honda, Kia, and the like. Cars in Slovuta (where we are stationed) are Lada (ancient Soviet brand) and in the villages it is bicycles, horses and walking. Net result of all this trivia-I am so very blessed and should be more grateful than I usually am. Lesson learned!”

Thankfully Ukraine got the right person to do the job the first time around. If it had been under 50%, they would have had to go through more uncertainty and waiting for a second election again. I am glad they have the former boxer as mayor of Kyiv. Time is of essence for all the new leaders in Ukraine. I am glad my friend is safe, here is what she wrote:

Happy Memorial DAy and thanks to all my family that have served!

I have spent two full days touring the villages of west central Ukraine and it is interesting to see a monument to soldiers in EVERY one of them. One SMALL village of about 700 adults had a multiple memorials to the 200 plus + lost in WWII.
More economic and farming reflections tomorrow. Tonight I am just tired after two days of little sleep, rough roads, trying to think in another language!

So, that is what I am thinking today, I know it is far removed from anything having to do with Kazakhstan. However, Ukraine wants peace and so does KZ and also the US. Too much blood has been shed already.

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Watching the lead up to elections in Ukraine

Of course, there is nothing more hot than an election, especially in Ukraine. I lived in Ukraine during several other elections and there seemed to be nothing abnormal or extraordinary about them at the time. This year of 2014 is an exception. Why? Because it was finally the will of the people that said enough of the corruption and wanted the past president out. Seemed he was draining the money meant for the people and building up his own little palace north of Kyiv. Outrageous prices for things to make his place look luxurious and beautiful while his neighbors suffered in poverty. He did it in a very short amount of time so it seems that it was planned from the get-go to impoverish the nation of Ukraine so that they could easily fall victim to their northern neighbor.

However, things changed from six months ago when the people gathered on Krestshatik street in downtown Kyiv. Places so familiar to me I kept seeing from my former students and friends currently living in Ukraine. I missed the Orange Revolution and now I was missing all the action with this latest revolution against the president. Over one hundred people died because of snipers but it only enraged the Ukrainians to keep going to the streets. They were willing to risk their lives in order to have freedom from tyranny.

Now, the temporary president is asking all Ukrainians to pray for a healthy solution, one where they can keep their borders instead of caving to the pressure from the north. I don’t know about Crimea, that is a very strategic place and has gone through many battles. Why does Ukraine have to go through all this suffering? They already went through so much during WWII when the Nazis and the Soviets rampaged through their lands. That created the Partisans who fought both and they were mostly in the Chernobyl area, northern part of Ukraine. Then the Chernobyl disaster happened in 1986 (?) and the rest is history.

Lies can only go so far and then they have to meet up with the unvarnished truth. The people in Russia have had a LOT of propaganda fed them, they believe in their leader. They believe the lies. I pray for them as well as I watch the lead up to this very crucial election. We will know more after May 25th, this Sunday.

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Two steps forward, three steps back

Being laid up is not my cup of tea…that’s for sure. I have been out of the hospital for over a week but still not enough energy to get gardening or other necessary writing done. I will go to a benefit tomorrow to sell my book, booklet and other things. I will need my husband and my mom’s help to navigate this event. People know about my fall, they don’t know how frustrated I am with myself for not healing faster.

This too shall pass. I have to be patient with myself and the “progress” I am making. Others I saw yesterday were very sympathetic to my plight. However, I feel like for every step I take going forward, I am taking two steps that go backwards. Uffda! That is the frustrating part but I am glad for my family and their patience with me.

No matter where we are at, we should NEVER take our health or our energy level for granted. I did and I am more knowledgeable now. Every breath we breathe is not something to take for every day occurrence. It is a gift. Hopefully my readers know this already without having gone through a fall or some other “accident.”

Be thankful for the steps you are taking forward! Happy Mothers Day a day late!

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Victory Day in the former Soviet Union

I guess I could proclaim my own Victory Day after having taken a fall on April 22nd, the day before my hubbie’s birthday. Bad timing. I had all this energy to get things done because there is MUCH to get done and that can all change in the twinkling of an eye. I fell and ended up in ICU for four days and two weeks later, I was released from the hospital. I don’t take my energy level for granted anymore after having been zapped of it. It takes a while to heal and I am still in the recovery mode.

Tomorrow I will be in the graduation exercise and hope I can survive that, the hours of sitting listening to the guest speaker, the other speakers and then watching all the graduates cross the stage. However, I DO need some kind of formal function to go to. I hate sitting at home in bed with nothing to do. Actually, I have plenty to do but not the keenness of spirit or mind to get it done.

I’m glad that the second book is on the conveyor belt now and scheduled to come out on June 16th. That’s just in time for our all school’s reunion at the end of June. We shall see how many people venture to buy this book, similar to the first one I did of my hometown. Now it is about the important people who helped form my town. I think it is really good, I put a LOT of work into it. Eventually, people will see the value of it.

I am celebrating with Ukrainians during this day of Victory which happened many years ago. Things are changing in Ukraine, we are praying for the good of the whole country.

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