Hello from the Homeowners

Well I suppose that’s the big news for us this month.
We have just bought a house here!

Although we thought the process would be a long one, in the end it was rather painless. There were a few hiccups along the way, but then everything came through in the end & it kinda doesn’t yet seem real. We are excited that is a clear direction we are now heading in & plan to be here now for 3-5 (or longer) years.

The house has been well built (brick) with a level underneath. It has 3 bedrooms, and bathroom & kitchen of sorts. It also has a garage with a ‘summer kitchen’ on the back of it. There is plenty of land at the back with fruit trees & plenty of space for a big lawn & garden. It overlooks the river & with another storey on top it would be a fantastic view!

It is in the town Rzhyshchiv (hour south of Kiev) and just up the road from my brother’s house. Our plan is to go back most weekends, and maybe get the garden etc. under control, while waiting for warmer weather to do any major alterations. We think it would make sense to stay here for our summer holidays (July & Aug) to work on the house. So anyone up for a real summer holiday (up to 40 degrees with a beach down the road) you would be most welcome to join us? We would then try to travel to NZ for the southern hemisphere summer later on next year.

Although we will carry on here in Kiev teaching for the next year or so, our plans are to shift out there in a couple of years & maybe start an internet café & takeaway business.

It was an interesting if not a bit scary process in paying for the house. We withdrew $60,000 US dollars from the bank & gave it to the guy. First time I have ever (& probably last) seen that kind of money! So with our savings from London & a little help from the bank of Mum & Dad we have entered the booming Ukrainian real estate industry!

Is still keeping us busy. It can get interesting at times with the mix of so many cultures, and languages, but on the whole we are enjoying our jobs. We have made some good friends with some of the staff, and we always have things to do & places to go. Life seems rather busy!

Jon has been invited to join a band here called “Kroke’. They have already produced 2 albums & play a pop/country style of music. They had a concert here in Kiev a couple of weeks ago & then we travelled (overnight by train – heaps of fun) to Lviv the next weekend for another concert. It is great music & a really cool group of people. You can get a small glimpse of it on our website. (Or order a CD from us!)

We had our first snow yesterday…rather cool setting off fireworks (for Guy Fawkes) wearing hat & gloves! I’m not so sure our excitement & fascination will still be around in a month or so when it becomes rather normal! We plan to make the most of the snow & have planned a week in the Carpathian mountains over Christmas relaxing & also a couple of days skiing.

Health System
Our friend Masha broke her leg a few weeks ago, which required a rather major operation. It was an interesting experience for us to witness first-hand the health system. For the 2 weeks she was in hospital most nights we visited her after work with dinner. There is little or no help (unless friends or relatives provide it) with food, eating & other things like that. She is on the way to recovery but it will be a slow process.

Jon is doing quite well in this area & manages to make himself understood in most situations. I am just realising how much effort I need to put in to get there. I am going to give it a good shot though.

We are enjoying living over here (although there are times we get homesick) and really loving making friends with some great people. So if you have itchy feet & want to see a bit of the world, there’s a spare bed here & a great country to explore & people to meet.

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