Countdown & Decisions

Well summer has gone…and the first half of our term this year completed. We have just got back from a week’s mid-term break and it is 37 days until we leave for NZ!


Since our building team have left the house progress has continued, but much more slowly. We have been back down to Rzhyshchiv every weekend this term and spent most of our time with paintbrushes in hand. It has been satisfying to see things to start to look like home. All the plumbing and electricity has been completed and most of the paint. Our kitchen has been ordered and we are getting excited about being able to live in our own house (even if it is just for the weekends at this stage – while we have jobs in Kiev). We feel really blessed with the workers God has provided for us, and the quality and attitude with which it has been achieved. It was only a year ago we bought this house…and at times it felt like we would never get it finished!


We have enjoyed starting the new school year with new classes. I am still teaching Year 5, and Jon teaching Year 6. As usual it has been interesting with new students and staff to adjust too, but seems like a very positive feel this year. We have applied for 10 weeks leave (3 weeks xmas holidays ++ 7 weeks extra) for our trip to New Zealand, and although we didn’t think we would be successful the school has been very accommodating and offered us 5 weeks paid leave…which we are seriously considering although we will have to cut our planned time a little shorter. The only other option would be to find 2 teachers to cover our time away (anyone want a 5-6 week stint in Ukraine?)


We have a very close friend here who has an amazing musical gift and a beautiful voice. We have encouraged her to get some training in this area, and she is in the midst of applying for a 1 year course at Excel Performing Arts Centre in Auckland, New Zealand. As you can imagine this is a huge step and big financial undertaking, but an absolute dream-come true. Check her audition out to see for yourself the ability she has. With an average wage here being about $7,000US per year this type of dream is basically unreachable. We are looking for sponsorship in this area, and we would love to see her dream come true and give her an opportunity of a lifetime.


We have been considering our future here and different decisions we have to make. We are now in a different phase of understanding the culture and language, and makes for some good discussions and soul-searching! This is by no means the promised land, but we have made some very good friends, and generally enjoy living here – although we do miss our friends and family in NZ! We are in the midst of applying for permanent residency which should make official documentation much easier for us in the future. The economic situation is looking rather interesting, as all American dollars seemed to have disappeared completely from the country. We are not sure what the future holds, but want to remain positive and just take each step as it comes. Our trip back to NZ will give us another perspective and maybe clarify some things.


During mid-term break we took the train to Budapest, Hungary. We went with my brother Jono, and enjoyed a couple of days in Budapest, and also hired a car for 3 days and enjoyed driving the countryside on great roads, soaking in thermal baths and generally relaxing. We also got new visas for Ukraine while we were there, which was the main reason for the trip. It is great just to be able to pop across the border to check out another European country.

Obviously we are looking forward to our trip home…we leave here on Dec 13th and arrive Auckland, New Zealand 7:35 am on Dec 15th. We will leave NZ on either 18th Jan or Feb… yet to decide. We are looking forward to catching up with everyone…let us know when it suits you best!

Until we meet again…

Ruth & Jon