Autumn 2009

Summer is slowly fading away as the days get shorter and there is a bit of a nip in the air!

We are still getting some very lovely days and like the wise ant we are trying to get our place in order to hunker down for winter.

This summer has been productive in a different number of ways. Here’s what we have been up to…


We have started to clean up the front of our house and Tom & Jon built a really nice stone wall. Based on an idea we got in Italy we have put fake terracotta planters on the top of this with a box hedge in them. We really like the look of this & hope it will last the winter or someone stealing them!! Sasha then made us the very lovely iron gates complete with the lights on the top of the pillars. We are hoping to concrete this area in the next week or so, and tile the steps up to our house to finish it all off.

We have also started 2 other projects – downstairs & upstairs. Downstairs is just a small room we will gib and carpet – it will become Jon’s studio. Upstairs is a bit more of a major project. Tom & Igor have knocked out the front side and rebuilt a straight wall, made stairs & sorted out the floor. We are hoping to have 2 bedrooms and a toilet up there. This will really extend the usefulness of our house and having people to stay.

It is great to be living in our own house, enjoying the view and working with our hands to improve it.


We had a week in Crimea making the most of the beach and beautiful scenery, exploring a Genoese Fortress, going up a 1300m cable car, playing cards & generally having fun. We have also spent this summer reading (see my blog for a list & reviews) and chilling out with BBQ’s and friends. It has been good.


Jon has started working with a few people from our church, helping them out with learning guitar etc. They are coming over every second Saturday night for a practice and a jam. We are hoping this will be a good time for growth and community building.

School & Study

Jon is back to school & driving 2-3 hours a day, which is tiring, but he is enjoying living at home, rather than in an apartment. He has moved down to teach Year 5 this year (stealing all my plans from last year) and enjoying his new class. I am still studying (have been since July – second Semester in NZ) and I will finish in 3 weeks time. I am not sure what I will do during the NZ summer holidays (Nov – Feb) but probably will include some painting upstairs etc & maybe some language lessons. I will also continue with the 2 students that I have started to teach 2 afternoons a week. They are the 2 oldest in a missionary family that home school, so I am taking them for Science & Social Studies. I am really enjoying this and it keeps my teaching fresh.


We took the plunge and got a dog that had been rescued off the streets in Kiev. He was a very quiet dog that loved to sleep – named him Dozer. Unfortunately he didn’t last even a week before he went “walkies”. I think someone liked the look of him. As a consolation prize though, I was given a kitten called Dumpy (affectionately known as Dumpster) for my birthday. She has survived so far!

Looking ahead

We are praying about and want to start actively working toward becoming part of Christian camping here in Ukraine. This is one idea that initially drew us to this country, and we would like to pursue it. We are trying to find out what is currently here in this country, but would like to manage a camp where we would run outreach holiday camps for children, school camps with team building and problem solving the main focus, and have a great facility for other organizations/churches to hire. Will keep you posted as we forge ahead in this area.

Just a simple glimpse into what we are up to.

Hope this finds you well.

God Bless,

Ruth-Ellen & Jon Pirini

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