Thursday, November 30, 2006
last year's tree
this year's tree!
Christmas Tree- yesterday Tom came home with a small artificial tree. He found the tree in a little store where they sell children’s shoes. The guy only had three trees. Tom decided he better buy one before they were all gone! Since this is our first tree here in Russia, we can truly say (as the Sharps always do) “this is the best Christmas tree we’ve ever had!”
Christmas cookies- Spencer was able to pick up a package from the post office by himself. He said that the postal workers got a kick out of his passport. He has lost all his baby fat since that photo was taken and he always gets a comment or two when someone looks at it. It was exciting to receive Christmas cookies on the same day that Tom brought home a tree.
(Thanks Mom, for lovingly preparing this special gift for us!)
Christmas ornaments- We left most of our ornaments in storage in the states. Tom has begun making some small ones for the tree we have. The small burgundy hearts look great against the green of the tree. I can take another photo once we get all the ornaments on the tree.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Slavic came by to print out something that was supposed to have been emailed to one of us but we could not find what he was looking for.
I went over to help Brenna with her knitting. She is getting faster. Today we were together for 30 minutes and she did 3 rows with minimal help from me. She had done two rows on her own this week and she only dropped one stitch. And fortunately it was an easy mistake to fix. It is so great to watch her excitement grow about the scarf she is making. She is doing at 8 what I could not do until I was 10!
Tom and I were on the bus together going to school and he decided that he was going to get off at the depo and purchase our monthly passes for December. He left his briefcase with me and said he would be right back. However, the bus left without him. I knew he would catch the next one so I took his briefcase on to school for him. It was funny to hear the teachers fuss about Tom "making me carry his books to class". Tom got an earful from Madina and Tonya when he arrived just two minutes after me! We passed each other as I was on my way to the old campus... his class meets at the new. It was funny we met back in highschool... and today was the first day I ever carried his books to class!
Nathan and I both keep notes on language mistakes people make. Today my teacher was trying to say "If". In Russian it would be "yeslee". What she ended up saying was "if-lee". She laughed at herself and we went on.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
I could hear the conversation in the living room that Tom was having with Olya and Lena about the pasta maker.
They were surprised to find out that the machine Tom is using to make his new beads with is actually supposed to be used in the kitchen. Who would think of such a thing!
Olya was impressed with how Tom's angels came out and she suggested that he make them into magnets. It is a great idea. People love to buy little gifts for New Year's.
Monday, November 27, 2006
front of invitation
We had to cut back the guest list to only 50 people. This was very difficult as we have gotten to know many people since moving here. But, we have to stick to the budget for the cost of the dinner.
I met with the caterer on Thanksgiving Day... it is not a holiday here so she was working. And I picked up some decorations from Maj-Lis. She has table cloths and materials for curtains in a large variety of colors. I was able to find the burgundy that I like and now all I need is silver ribbon to decorate the columns at church. It feels like everything is coming together!
Sunday, November 26, 2006
Ukraine marks 73rd anniversary of famine
By MARA D. BELLABY,
Associated Press WriterSat Nov 25, 4:24 PM ET
Holding candles and standing silent, thousands massed on a fog-shrouded square Saturday to mourn 10 million Ukrainians killed by a famine orchestrated by Soviet leader Josef Stalin — an ordeal many insisted must be recognized as genocide.
Some 33,000 people died every day during the 1932-33 famine, wiping out a third of Ukraine's population in a calamity known here as Holodomor — Death by Hunger. Cases of cannibalism were widespread as desperation deepened. Those who resisted were shot or sent to Siberia.
"I do not ask — I demand that the Ukrainian parliament recognize Holodomor as genocide," President Viktor Yushchenko told the crowd on Mykhaylivska Square in a short address followed by a minute of silence and the tolling of bells.
Stalin provoked the famine to coerce peasants into giving up their private farms and joining agriculture collectives being formed across the Soviet Union.
Villages were ordered to provide the state with set amounts of grain, but the demands typically exceeded crop yields. As village after village failed to meet their quotas, officials seized all food and residents were barred from leaving — condemning them to starve.
Farmers in Ukraine, which was the breadbasket of the U.S.S.R., fiercely resisted and bore the brunt of the man-made disaster.
Russia's government has warned the leaders of this former Soviet republic against using the term genocide, saying the event should not be "politicized." Some Ukrainian lawmakers agreed, proposing it be termed a "tragedy" instead.
The Kremlin argues Stalin's campaign did not specifically target Ukrainians and also affected Russians and Kazakhs. But historians say the overwhelming majority of victims were Ukrainian, and the famine coincided with Stalin's effort to crush growing Ukrainian nationalism.
Yushchenko appealed to Russia to "stand by our side" and recognize the mass starvation as genocide. "With this high example, demonstrate the human empathy that is inherent to the Russian people," he said.
"How can it be called anything but genocide," said Kateryna Kryvenko, 78, who recalled crying at the feet of Soviet officials as they ransacked her family's village home, carting off what little food her family had managed to hide under a floorboard. She said authorities took everything, and her father and three brothers and sisters died.
During the Soviet era, the mass starvation was a closely guarded state secret, but information trickled out over the years.
Ten nations, including the United States, recognize the famine as genocide, a crime under international law defined as the deliberate and systematic destruction of a racial, political or cultural group.
Ukraine's parliament speaker, Oleksandr Moroz, said Saturday that he supports recognizing the mass starvation as genocide and said the president's bill calling for that designation would come before parliament this week.
Some lawmakers from Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych's Russia-leaning Party of Regions suggested adopting a more moderate term, but party member Taras Chornovil predicted the president's version would pass.
Yanukovych joined Yushchenko in Saturday's commemoration, which included a silent procession by people carrying white banners representing every Ukrainian region. Black ribbons hung from the banners.
"The tragedy is of such a scale that it is hard to even imagine," said Oksana Yatsyuk, 18.
Saturday, November 25, 2006
I found a CD that Nathan thought Michelle had taken back to Canada with her by mistake. I also found some jewelry that I had been looking for and some belts.
Finally after searching through all of the boxes that had not been unpacked since we moved here to Russia I found our wedding photos. And guess where they were?
That's right "the Last place I looked!"
One of the things Tom realized as we have looked at family photos is how happy we all are. We have pictures of people being tickled, people laughing, riding on roller coasters and so on. We have had fun over the course of 25 years. And we hope to have a lot more fun in the years to come.
Friday, November 24, 2006
by Spencer Sharp
Daddy and Nathan were sick today and I needed to go to a party at the Watsons. I didn't really know how to get there by bus so I had to take a taxi alone because my mom was already at the party. So anyways, I asked the taxi driver if he "was available" and he said "yes, of course" and he asked where we were going and I gave him the street address. Then I got into the taxi and sat on the left side behind the driver.
As we were going there was a checkpoint we had to go through where the police were stopping people. As soon as we stopped I felt fear because I remembered that I had my pocket knife in my right pocket. And thought that might be a problem if I was asked to get out and was searched. Luckily, the police just asked to see the driver's official documents. The driver was allowed to go without paying a fine because all of his documents were legit. While we were searching for the Watson's house we passed Car World and we found the address and he asked me if that was correct and I told him I thought so. And he waited to leave until I was inside. The taxi driver was polite to me even though I am a teenager and the ride was only 60 rubles (about $2.40) which wasn't bad.
Thursday, November 23, 2006
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
I spent time with Brenna again helping her to knit. She is doing very well. I don't think I could have learned at 8 years old. I was 10 when I started.
Tom is still battling his cold. He stayed home from school and worked on the banquet invitations. They look wonderful. He is making some heart shaped beads to embellish them. When he finishes I will post a photo.
We watched the Muppet Christmas Carol tonight. Nathan and Spencer are already in bed. They both wake up so early.
I am grateful to Melissa for a pumpkin cookie recipe. Spencer and I tasted the cookies at her house today and they were yummy! I know that Tom and Nathan will enjoy them too.
Here is the recipe she uses from www.verybestbaking.com
Old-Fashioned Soft Pumpkin Cookies
Preparation - 10 min Cooking - 18 min Cooling Time - 2 min cooling
Yields - 36 cookies
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
1 cup LIBBY'S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 Glaze (recipe follows)
PREHEAT oven to 350° F. Grease baking sheets.
COMBINE flour, baking soda, baking power, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in medium bowl. beat sugar and butter in large mixer bowl until well blended. Beat in pumpkin, egg and vanilla extract until smooth. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto prepared baking sheets.
BAKE for 15 to 18 minutes or until edges are firm. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Drizzle Glaze over cookies.
COMBINE 2 cups sifted powdered sugar, 3 tablespoons milk, 1 tablespoon melted butter and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract in small bowl until smooth.
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Alexei stopped by tonight to ask questions about our anniversary banquet. He wanted to know what we want to happen that night and how long it should last. I told him I was scared of what might take place that night. I don’t normally like surprises. The good thing is that Alexei doesn’t either!
Monday, November 20, 2006
Wreaths, Christmas trees, ornaments, Stars, Angels, Santa Claus, garland, ribbons. Tom and I also saw pig figurines in Santa suits. Not just a few but many of them. I forgot to ask at school today if there is some significance to the pig figure. But, there must be something, right?
Today I picked up some canned sweet potatos from Joy. I realized 5 years ago when Tom and I had our 20th anniversary in Hawaii that the thing I wanted the most for Thanksgiving was Sweet potato pie. I found one in a market there and was thrilled. For Nathan Thanksgiving is stuffing... we all have an idea of what Thanksgiving meals have to include. Don't you?
Thanks to Mom and Dad for the Christmas package. Everyone is thrilled with their gifts! We love you both!
Sunday, November 19, 2006
Tom has a sore throat. He is taking it easy today, drinking tea and sore throat medicine.
Spencer and Andrew found out yesterday that the ice rink is not open yet so no skating for them.
Nathan had a great time at the English club. They talked about Thanksgiving and had a meal prepared. He came home raving about having had stuffing. Simple joys!
Tom and I watched "Capote" last night. I am interested in reading his book "In Cold Blood". Maybe just because of the Kansas connection. It doesn't sound like something I would want to read otherwise. Tom remembers that his grandparents gave him a copy in his teens. He thought it was a great book.
I wish we would have made it out to church today. Valodia and Tim are back from their trip to the states and it wold have been great to hear Valodia's impressions of America. Or at least of Arizona!
Saturday, November 18, 2006
Here is another photo from yesterday. A few of the kids from the orphanage hard at work on the frames for the their photos.
Nathan is going to an English Club today to help with learning English.
Spencer and Andrew are off at Krasnaya Ploshad. If things work out and the ice skating rink is open Spencer is hoping to start giving lessons.
Tom and I are starting to look forward to our 25th Anniversary. With the help of some friends we are putting together a banquet. We wish we were celebrating this day with all of you! Right now we are grateful that we still have both our sons living with us. It wouldn't be the same if one of them could not be here with us. Life is really going to change when Nathan leaves for university next year.
Friday, November 17, 2006
Spencer and I had to go to work again today. Just before we left Olya dropped Yanna off for us to watch her. It was hard to walk out the door! I fixed a bottle and Tom fed her while I finished making dinner for him and Nathan.
Nathan and Yanna had a little conversation while she was thinking about taking a nap. He read to her from the current book he is reading "Picture of Dorian Grey" She still wouldn't go to sleep!
Spencer is giving a lesson on how to fly an airplane! Tonight we had a more manageable number of kids to work with. The kids made frames for photos that Oksana had taken of them. They also made some teddy bear puppets with Judi. It was a great evening. We had our full team there tonight so the kids got a lot of attention. Donny, Blythe, Angela, Ted, Judi, Bill, Andrew, KaLynn, Bekka, Spencer, Okasana and me. I think it was almost 1 child per person. Last week it was just Spencer, Oksana and me with 40 kids!!!
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Tom decided to take a treat to school for the teachers to taste. It was a blend of apple juice, cinnamon and vanilla. It tastes like the apple cider we are used to drinking from the states. I found it at the supermarket and our guys really like it. Tom said that the teachers enjoyed it. Arina said that she could drink 2 liters a day!
Spencer finally got an email from Igor. Igor and his family live in Crimea and he is studying with YWAM in Kiev. Spencer was excited to hear from him.
Nathan went to school early and the doors were locked. Charles saw him and invited him to come into his house to wait. It was cold and rainy today. Nathan was thrilled to see a large bookcase in the front room. Charles told Nathan he could choose something to borrow if he wanted. Nathan has never turned down an opportunity to read. He found a treasure to bring home!
We have some Christmas movies to enjoy tonight:
Santa Claus is Coming to Town
Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Popular here in Krasnodar, this newspaper has been mentioned in several of our lessons. While shopping at the supermarket I decided to pick up a copy to see what we could read. This weekly paper has a TV schedule inside, various articles and lots of ads!
* “Did Bush pay for Saddam's ropes?”
* a "photo fact" showing Putin practicing shooting at a firing range.
* People who “really” do earn $100,000.00 here in Russia.
* Madonna pictured holding her new son from Africa.
Someday we will be able to fully read the paper without using the dictionary but today is not that day!
***Special thanks to Bonnie and Randy from Eugene, Oregon for sending us a Christmas package our first Christmas card!
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Monday, November 13, 2006
There was a time to get to know each other...
A time to eat!
Becky had us sing hymns which many of us had not done in years. And we all got to hear about the work the other women are involved in. We came from different countries to be here. Germany, Sweden, Canada, Japan, Greece, and all over the US. Some of the women grew up in families that lived abroad. There seemed to be a running theme of not knowing how to answer the question "where are you from?"
I always pause over that question. My dad was in the military and we lived in England (where I was born), Maine, Massachusettes, Vermont, New York and Kansas. Tom and I have lived in Kansas and California.
I hope we get a chance to get together again. It was an enjoyable time to relax and speak a language that we are all completely comfortable with!
Sunday, November 12, 2006
At church today Spencer and I understood most of the sermon. Sasha spoke and he is very clear and doesn't talk too fast.
Ruslan led the service. It was my first time seeing him up front. Although, he and his wife Lilia have been at the church since July.
Valodia is speaking tonight at a church in Arizona. He is not feeling well and could use our prayers.
Ira walked up to me after church and gave me a big hug. She was looking for her buddy Tom and he didn't make it out this morning. He was not feeling well. It was so cute to look down and see this little girl's arms wrapped around my legs!
Saturday, November 11, 2006
We had meat and rice that we wrapped in lettuce leaves to eat.
Grilled sausage, crab and veggies. Along with a side dish of fried oysters.
It was funny to Spencer and I, that we, the non-seafood eating half of the family actually had seafood and enjoyed it!
Sonja gave an explaination of all the dishes before dinner.
Joseph (Choong Sung) gave a demonstration on how to prepare and eat the lettuce wrap!
Sonja taught us to make rice cakes. They were made from rice flour. And then steamed. Then we had different toppings to dip them in and eat!
After dinner we played a Korean game that was kind of like Sorry! It got a little competitive but I think everyone had a good time.
Donna made a pumpkin pie... she had also purchased a pumpkin from Slavic like we did back in October.
Poor Spencer tried to make a comment to garner sympathy for being a pastor's son. He told about one time when he stayed with Tom as he spoke for three services straight. Leigh, Charles's daughter asked "you only had to do that once??!" Joseph said that his father preached for "7 hours straight" one time and he and his four siblings had to sit through the whole thing...
Spencer didn't stand a chance in that crowd!
Friday, November 10, 2006
Spencer and I returned to work today. We were back at the Detsky Proyut. It is a temporary shelter for children. Like a foster home, they can stay there for up to three years before they are sent back to their family or on to an orphanage. Oksana (from the BLTC) has been going there alone for the past month or so. We had a short planning meeting before going over to help her out tonight. She had told us before we walked over together that there were very few children there right now. Most of them went to the other location just outside of the city. As we were setting up, more and more children piled into the room. We had over 40 kids tonight. And there was three of us! Oksana called me when she got home and said that she had no idea where all of those kids came from. She thanked Spencer and I for helping her.
We had twenty little ones (2, 3, 4 year olds) and all we had for them were coloring sheets. I caught two of them fighting over an orange crayon. I asked them to stop and they looked at me with huge eyes. I am sure it does seem strange to a small child to have a foreigner speak to them in their own language! I complimented them on their coloring and one of the little boys stroked my hand and smiled. Tom thinks he was trying to show me that he could be gentle and not hit.
Next week we should have our full team and it will be easier to manage all the kids. The older ones need some type of physical activity along with craft time. Although, they were good helpers at the end. One boy (we think his name was Victor) got the broom and handed me the dustpan and we worked together and cleaned up the floor.
Another young man, Vasa, was grilling Spencer afterwards and I asked him why he wanted to know so much about us. He said he was just curious. I told him I thought he was a spy! He laughed hard and said “no” he was not a spy... he just wanted to have a time to get to know an American better. He kept on asking Spencer about where he came from and how many brothers and sisters he had. One little boy asked Spencer how old his brother is. Spencer told him 19. The boy said he could only count to 12 in English. Spencer asked to hear him and this boy did it perfectly. He could also say please and thank you. Before we moved to Russia that was about all we could say in Russian. “Please” and “Thank you!”
Thursday, November 09, 2006
It was a little different to have my eyes checked here. I had to read the eye chart in Russian! She didn't have the large machine that we are used to in the states. You know the one that you sit in front of and the doctor changes the lense choices by turning a dial. Instead, she put a pair of glasses on me that was capable of holding two sets of lenses. She manually changed the lenses and asked me which was better.
The eye exam cost 30 rubles ($1.12)
The frames were 730 rubles ($27.34)
The lenses were the most expensive part at 1250 rubles ($46.82)
I used the most recent exchange rate of 26.70 Rubles = 1 USD
So for a grand total of $75.28 I will be able to pick up my new glasses today at four in the afternoon!
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Most of the other teachers use: Mal-a-detz (well done!) or Ot-leetch-na (excellently, perfectly, extremely well) either way we are still being told we are doing a great job... it is just interesting to hear new words to express the same meaning!
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
We are grateful to have Slavic help us out with things like this. Next year we will know exactly what to do.
The talk at school was about who went to McDonalds and who didn't. Was it crowded when you were there? What did you order? Is it cheaper than the one on Moscow? Does it taste the same as in America?
When we were having the discussion Spencer was the only one in the room that had eaten in Moscow... here in Krasnodar and in America. He says that in Moscow, McDonalds was more expensive. But, McDonalds taste like McDonalds. One of our teachers who has a very busy schedule went there at 4am. McDonalds was taking a break and so she and her friends had to go back at 6am. They had been out dancing and then she was supposed to go teach an English class. Oh to be 23 again!
Our school director, Tanya, needs our prayers. Her mother is very ill and is not doing very well. Please keep her in you prayers.
Monday, November 06, 2006
Here is a link to see what our weather is like for the next several days: http://www.wunderground.com/global/stations/34929.html
At least it is not going to snow anytime soon. We don't feel as cold as we did last year. Coming here from California when it got below 60 degrees we thought that was freezing. Having experienced -35 last winter we have a new definition of cold!
Saturday, November 04, 2006
With the new wing of Krasnaya Ploshad finished, Spencer and I felt like we were back at South Coast Plaza wandering around! We found McDonalds and it had a line out front of at least 100 people. It was hard to calculate. We decided we would shop for a while and come back later.
We purchased some movies:
Anna and the King
It’s A Wonderful Life
To Kill a Mockingbird
After we got our movies Spencer asked if we could try McDonalds again before going home. We got in a much shorter line than the one we had seen before. They were keeping the doors locked and only allowing groups of about 20 in at a time. We were in line outside the doors for about 10 minutes and then waited in lie to get our food about 5. We picked up four Big Mac’s, two orders of fries and two strawberry shakes. It cost 370 rubles. ($13.86)
We saw Christine and Murat (from the BLTC) and some people from KBC church were there too. Opening day of the first McDonalds in our city will only come once and we were there for it!
Spencer is watching movies from his childhood or "old Movies" as he calls them. Nathan is writing in his room. Tom just got up and I am checking today's news.
I got a call this morning telling me there was a warning issued to Americans not to be in places this weekend with large crowds. This is a holiday weekend. I found articles on demonstrations planned for today that were cancelled. Most of them say that the demonstrators plan on gathering anyway and the police are being told to be firm.
So I guess we will stay close to home this weekend!
Friday, November 03, 2006
Tom and I are here to help with Alcoholics/Addicts and their families. We never expected to have to make decisions about purchasing farm equipment. However, since the rehabilitation center we are affiliated with is located on a working farm, we need to be concerned with such things. Therefore, spending 20 minutes or so talking about purchasing a baler and another 15 talking about a shredder is vital. The farm is 40 % self-supporting. We would like to see it support itself 100%. Purchasing new equipment to help the farm run more efficiently is important. After purchasing the baler for example, they will be able to bale hay for others and make money through that avenue as well.
Tomorrow is a big day out at the rehab center. A butcher is coming to the farm to kill a bull and butcher it. Then they will take it to the market to sell. It takes two years for the livestock to be ready for sale. Tom M. told a story about having a book with a picture of an animal with dotted lines on it for where to cut the meat. He said that he went hunting and caught a deer but the deer didn’t come with dotted lines to show him where to cut. So he was happy that they hired a butcher and he doesn’t have to take his book out to the farm!
Thursday, November 02, 2006
Lee and Marilyn were in class with Tom and Ann this afternoon. Afterward they came home with Tom. Nathan and Spencer did a great job helping me with cleaning the kitchen and bathroom while I cooked.
When I was out today shopping at Krasnaya Ploshad, I saw where McDonalds is going in. Monday is a holiday here. McDonalds has chosen to open on Saturday just in time for the long weekend. Our family is not planning to go on opening weekend. I think we will wait awhile...maybe a week or two. Although we are interested in French fries and strawberry shakes!
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
We met Lee and Marilyn from Fresno, California. And even though we are “Southern” Californians and they are not, we ate with them anyway! Maj-Lis and Joy were also there and we all had a great time together.
Tom and I got there first and we looked around for the rest of the group. Joy had said which room we were going to be in but when we asked, there was no reservation under her name. So I took out my cell phone to call her. And she gave me a membership number to give to them. He heard me repeat the number back to her while I was on the phone and when I got off the phone he said that number was Brian’s. We realized that the BLTC must use this restaurant a lot!
Tom and I were at Madyar last year with Dave and Shari from Moscow back in January. Tonight both Tom and I tried new foods. I had a salad with duck, star fruit, cranberries and cucumbers. It was quite tasty. Tom ordered a hors d’oeuvre that was fried cheese with bacon wrapped around it. We also had Czechoslovakian flat bread with garlic sauce that everyone shared. The food was beautifully prepared and so good to eat.
Earlier in the afternoon, I had an interesting cultural experience when Judi H. and I went out for coffee after class. I asked for tea with honey and cream. I was told “no honey” and I said, “Fine, with cream then.” He said “no cream” and then asked if I wanted a latte. I asked if he could make a chai latte (tea) he said he could only make the latte with coffee. So, I had plain green tea.
We have had the experience here in Krasnodar of trying to special order a pizza you know, something exotic, like ham and mushroom. The ham pizza does not come with mushrooms... if you want mushrooms you have to order a different kind of pizza that is already prepared with mushrooms. We heard of others who tried to order ice cream a certain way with no luck. Food items come the way they are “packaged” with no exceptions.