Friday, 31 August 2012

So Beth's clothes are locked in a shed. She has grown out of all the baby grows I packed.

But no matter! We just cut the feet off. She thinks this is great, but she is seven and a half months old and thus quite easily pleased. She looks equally excited about light switches, my nose, bits of wood and flinging herself backwards without warning.
Oh, where to start and what to say. I want to go to bed so this won't be a long or interesting one but i'm very aware that facebook stati do not a newsletter make. And i can't be bothered to write a newsletter so this will have to do.
John paid an insane man from Poland to drive him to Ukraine. Said man slept for 2 hours but drove for three days and nights, chain smoked (but won't eat white bread because it's bad for his lung cancer), pumped out eastern european dance music and force fed John cheese sandwiches. I'm not sure what to say about the journey, but the fact that the stress of it gave John stomach ulcers/ misc belly pain for days should help illustrate the impact that being held at customs for 7 hours can have on a boy.
After days of being fined for ridiculous stuff and arguing with people, John arrived in Vinnitsya. But our stuff somehow got classified as 'commercial' and thus was seized by local customs. Everything we own is now locked in a shed.

So after a week of Oksana marching about shouting at people, they've said that they know it's personal items but hey ho, we have to pay 30% customs tax on everything. They decide how much it's worth. We find out on Monday how much we have to pay to buy back things like third hand hoodies and a broken sofa.

Every annoying person with a modicum of power wields it with a mighty force. It's all about who has got the rubber stamp, the precious rubber stamp of dreams. And the papers, the legendary papers of faff and the loopholes of merry chase. The corruption and silliness of this part of the move have given us all a laugh.
I say 'laugh' I mean 'hysterical desperate cackling'.

Stupid stupid.

Oh well. Had a good pray yesterday and stopped feeling like at any moment I was going to strop off and humph my way back to England. Got some peace. And some trust. God is big and he loves us.

So...we get the keys to the transition home tomorrow. We've got 6 weeks before stuff kicks off (teams coming from America etc) so we're going to focus on
- making the house more clean and less uggers
- three Ukrainian lessons a week
- working out how to get around the city by ourselves like proper grownups

The team are lovely. Proper lovely, and Ukraine is actually very pretty and nice. I think that when we were here last time my mad pregnant hormone brain convinced me that Vinnitsya was full of pointy toothed high heeled witches wanting to beat me about the head with primitive cooking equipment.
It's actually a fairly normal, nice town with some shops and some parks and quite a lot of fountains. Feel a bit silly for panicking so much about moving here - it's somewhat pleasant.

Right I must retire to the boudoire. And don't worry about us - we're bunked up in a flat that's very nice with people who are very nice, and I completely overpacked for our plane trip here so actually me and Beth have LOADS of clothes! Hooray!

love you. xxxxxxxxxx

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Thank You

Beth has a question.

She'd like to know if 'aaaaah bada ajd da da da?'
The answer to this question must, for the time being, 
be given in the form of a kiss on the forehead 
because I have no idea what she's banging on about.

The soundtrack to this post is: The Rocket Summer 

I'm very nervous of writing this today. I'm actually feeling a little bit sick in my tummy about it, and that's because I recently became aware that lots more people than I thought read this blog. Including friends of John who i've never met and he's not seen in years. And peoples' sisters who live in Liverpool. And people i've met at a wedding.

The thing is, I work out what I think about life through this keyboard. When everything is going at crazy-pace I sit down here and do some tip tapping away at this laptop and hey presto! Slightly offensive rant!

Obviously, i'm a bit of a trying to follow Jesus person and i'm suddenly so so scared that people are reading this because oh my goodness how do I communicate Him and all that He is to the actual real life people who read this? It's like trying to squish a whale into a lunchbox.

What a terrible analogy. 

But it's a week until we leave and thus a blog update is in order, because there are some very important things to say before we leave. So be kind, because my brain that struggles to function at the best of times is being pulled apart by all the things I have to think about. I'd write you a list but it's boring unless you're me. The main thing that i'd like to do is say thank you.

We have been moving at the speed of light for the last 3 years, got used to living out of suitcases and in other peoples' houses and falling asleep on planes and making plans plans plans. At the same time we have always known that we're welcome in Lewes, that when we rock up unwashed, sleepy and pregnant we will be hugged until we feel ready to start running again. 

There are no words (I say that a lot, I should probably extend my vocabulary) for the stillness that comes when you know you're accepted when you fail and applauded when you win. That you can screw up, say the wrong thing, forget the birthday, insult the outfit, judge the intention, or just not be there and it doesn't matter - you're still home.

We've been panicking about that week's groceries and cash has quietly slipped through the letter box. I've been freaking about parenting things and have been inundated with reassurance and time off. My baby is clothed in things much cooler than I ever could have afforded (thanks Jola!). I've needed to vent and there's been bottomless cups of tea. I've needed to celebrate and there's been pubs and wine and so much laughing. I've needed to break and there's been listening ears and a trust in me and my ability to mend. I've wanted to help and people have let me try. I've been honest and I have not been abandoned.

How many people get to say that?

I was in church this Sunday and everywhere I looked there was someone who has held me together in some way - when the hurt was greater than the joy and when the joy upended the hurt.

And i'm not cut up about leaving all this treasure we've found in Lewes. I'm calm. And glad. Because when the last few years leave you with such sweetness and beauty, you don't bitch about leaving it behind, you say thank you.

Sing, Oh Daughter of Zion,
shout aloud, O Israel!
be glad and rejoice with all your heart,
O Daughter of Jerusalem!

The LORD has taken away your punishment,
he has turned back your enemy.
The LORD, the King of Israel, is with you;
never again will you fear any harm...

he will quiet you with his love.

...At that time I will gather you;
at that time I will bring you home.
Zeph 3:13