It’s hard to believe that I’ve almost been at the Bigoon’s for 7 days. These days have been wonderful! I hope to take home the things that I have learned from this humble family and apply them in my own family. Part of me will always be here in Ukraine. This journey has been difficult, but it has also been rewarding. I’ve already stated how sad I am that I haven’t learned a lot of Russian. I speak English (naturally), Spanish, and some Chinese. I’ve also studied some Italian & French. Of course none of these languages help me much in Ukraine, right? WRONG! Would you believe that my host, Mama Bigoon, studied Spanish 30 years ago and still remembers it to this day??? I am thrilled to say that we can communicate without a translator! How amazing that I would be speaking Spanish in Ukraine. I never would have thought it possible. I didn’t get to go see Kristina today, which was sad. This morning I went to the Central Renick (spelling?) where they have several stands selling things. It’s very similar to the night markets that are in Taiwan – except this market is in the morning only. I bought some sparkly pink nail polish to paint Kristina’s nails and some white clothing for my Mother-in-law to make some blessing/Temple clothing for the kids. To learn more about the Temple, click HERE. It was VERY cold outside today. I haven’t had to wear my coat much this whole trip – but I really needed it today. In fact, before I left the house, Mama Bigoon encouraged me to take my coat. I told her that it was sunny outside – and that it would surely warm up as the day went on. How wrong I was. I can’t remember the last time I was that cold and the Central Renick is an outdoor affair. Yeah. I won’t make that mistake again. Starting tomorrow I will be wearing my coat and my new stylish hat everywhere I go. J I went with the Sister missionaries to visit Yulia and her grandmother. We sang about 10 hymns before the spiritual thought. I’ve never seen people who love the church hymns as much as the people in Ukraine. They want to sing them all the time and their favorite hymn is “Angels We Have Heard On High”, which they sing year-round. J Yulia’s house is the most primitive that I have seen. And yet, like all the LDS people that I’ve met here – they are happy. Yulia’s babushka (grandma) made us a tasty lunch of soup (everything from her own garden), bread, and blinchiki (spelling?) which are very tasty Ukrainian pancakes – similar to crepes. Their hospitality was amazing. There was another woman there, 94 years old, who I assumed was Yulia’s great grandmother. Come to find out – she isn’t related to them at all, she’s a poor, blind woman with no family around and Yulia’s grandmother has taken her in and cares for her – such kindness and generosity! I hope that I can help people the way that Yulia’s family has done. When it was time to go to the orphanage this afternoon, I wasn’t feeling very well, so I stayed inside and took a nap. I don’t like taking chances by possibly being sick and giving it to the children at the orphanage, but I was sad to not have seen Kristina at all today. After some rest, I am feeling better and plan on going tomorrow morning. Tonight I went grocery shopping with Galia. I am going to make dinner for she and her Mama and the sister missionaries on Sunday. When we got home, Mama Bigoon made us some fried potatoes. Oh. My. Goodness. They were amazing! She said she wished she would have known that I liked them and then she would have been making them for me everyday. What a sweet woman. I bought ingredients for brownie sundaes and made them tonight for Galia & her Mom. They LOVED them. It’s interesting that they don’t have brownie mixes or cake mixes here. They had some brownies (shaped like muffins) in the bakery section and those are what we used – they were tasty! I bought some chocolate syrup – which is unheard of here to use, even though they sell it. Galia was excited about the chocolate syrup. She LOVES chocolate.
I went to see Kristina this morning. She looked well - no chicken pox, at least visibly. I asked one of her caretakers (a very nice blonde lady) and she said she hasn't seen any chicken pox on her yet, so that's good. I plan to pick her up from the orphanage next wednesday, so I pray she won't get it before then. My translator said that if she contracts the chicken pox, we will HAVE to wait 5-7 days before we can leave. I pray that she will be happy and healthy next wednesday when I go to take her home. As for the visit itself, it went pretty well. She ate most of an orange before deciding it would be more fun to smear it all over the glass door. *sigh* Sometimes I feel my patience is waning with her, which frustrates me because it can be after only 10 minutes of my visit with her! And being alone here doesn't help. I'm looking forward to being home with my husband - this "single parenting" isn't easy!
This afternoon I went with the Sister Missionaries to teach Vittali, a very nice man who is genuinely interested in the gospel of Jesus Christ. We talked about how families can be eternal families. After a wonderful visit with him, we went to get Sharma (that yummy chicken wrap I've mentioned before). Tonight we're going to see "Taming of the Shrew" at the theatre with members of the branch. I'm very excited to see it!
Tomorrow I will be singing in church and after church, Mama Bigoon has arranged a musical program for me to sing for the members of the branch. That should be fun. And tomorrow night I will be making an Italian dinner for the Bigoon family. It's hard to believe that on Tuesday morning our 10 day wait will be over! So on Monday I will go with my translator, Oksana, to Artemovsk to get the ball rolling on some paper. I don't know when I'll be able to blog after today - but I will do my best. And now, here are some pictures! Enjoy!
Mama Bigoon making me potatoes!
This is in the area I'm meeting with her now.
I bring Kristina a juicebox at every visit. I'm concerned that she's not getting enough to drink - because Ukrainians don't drink much, except for alcohol.
Kristina isn't really pulling my hair or slapping me now, but she's being destructive with other objects, like this poor leaf. I hope to be able to teach her to NOT do this sort of thing.
We love the juicebox!
dark picture of goats that they use to "cut the grass". Driving down the road you will see 3 or 4 goats tied to a stake in the ground and they're eating away at the grass.