Friday, October 30, 2009

Dinner at the Old Mill in Ternopil, Ukraine

Last night Tom and I were taken out to dinner by Sasha and his lovely wife, Luda. Sasha is the director of the school here in Ternopil. We were treated to an incredible meal in a Ukrainian restaurant. All of the decorations were antiques and the wait staff dresses in traditional Ukrainian attire.

Tom and I were issued a challenge right off the bat. The appetizer was sala with bread and garlic. We have both tried sala before so that was not new. The challenge from Sasha was: would we be willing to eat it again or face being put on Sasha's black list?! We both passed with flying colors. Sala is basically bacon fat. This particular restaurant melts it into a spread with various spices and all you have to do is put a layer of it on the fresh bread, top that layer with thinly sliced garlic and then enjoy!

After the appetizer of bread and sala we had green borsht:

Our green borscht was presented in the this freshly baked bread!

The yellow is just of bit of butter... once it was stirred it was sooo tasty!!

Take notice of the ceramic cup with no handles. That was our drinking glass. The small wicker container shaped like a shoe held the silverware. Tom had salmon steak with Ternopil potatoes and I had cabbage rolls. It was a great meal, very filling and beautifully presented.

And the time with Sasha and Luda... Priceless!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A quarantine in Ternopil

We just found out last night about this quarantine here in the city. We saw store clerks yesterday wearing masks and that was our first clue. Late last night we were told to close the windows due to the spraying that was going on. We were told that the buses and trains are no longer running in and out of the city. We are hoping that we will still make our plane on Saturday... keep us in your prayers!


УНІАН (www.unian.net)

28.10.2009 13:04
Flu is in Ukraine

In Ternopil a quarantine is prolonged because of high level of prevalence of flu and acute respiratory viral infection.

The press office of the city council disclosed to an UNIAN correspondent, the relevant decision was made today at the regular session of city extraordinary antiepidemic commission under chairmanship of deputy city chairman on social issues Roman Legkiy.

During the session the head state sanitary inspector of Ternopil Volodymyr Panichev said that as of October 27 level of prevalence of acute respiratory viral infection and diseases similar to flu in the city makes up 255.5 per 10 thousands of population.


УНІАН (www.unian.net)

29.10.2009 11:48
Educational institutions are closed in two Oblasts because of flu

The quarantine in educational institutions is announced in the Ternopil and Ivano-Frankovsk Oblasts because of spreading of flu.

The Propaganda Center of the Directorate of the Emergency Ministry disclosed to UNIAN that education is suspended in 10 universities, 11 vocational training colleges and colleges in the Ternopil Oblast of Ukraine and in Ternopil from October 28.

The relevant decrees were issued by heads of the educational institutional institutions because of growth of number of flu and ARD cases. As of 22.00 pm, October 28, 244.5 ill people per 10 thousands of population are registered.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

thought for today

You don't really see the world if you only look through your own window.
Ukrainian Proverb

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

check out the details...



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This little house is the dining hall... there are three houses on this property. I love the paint job on this one. Even though this is a university it has a "home" feel to it!

Monday, October 26, 2009

in the classroom...




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Here are a few shots from the classroom where Tom is teaching. The flags on the wall represent the nations of the 11 students attending the school. There are 3 students from Sacramento, California...they are all immigrants to the US from former Soviet Union countries and their English is much better than their Russian! The students range in age from 18-45.

Tom and I are here with 11 students, and 7 staff members in this 3 story house. Everyone seems to be in good spirits despite the fact that yesterday it was announced that the water would be turned off for two days here in this region for maintenance. Last night there was a mad dash to gather up as many buckets, tubs, large pitchers and bowls to hold water for cleaning up and even more important flushing the toilets! Some of the bathrooms have been made off limits to force people to use the outdoor toilet. Our bedroom has its own bathroom so we have a tub and a bucket filled with water. Just another ordinary day here in the former Soviet Union!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

UT Air
















Tom and I flew on UT Air for our Moscow, Russia to Lvov, Ukraine leg of our trip to Ternopil, Ukraine. We flew on an ATR-72 Twin-turboprop aircraft. It was the smallest plane we have ever been on for an international flight. It was noisy but the ride was smooth and it was less than a 3 hour flight!

Friday, October 23, 2009

on our way to Ternopil

Tom and I are traveling this weekend for him to teach at University of the Nations at the base in Ternopil, Ukraine. (up near the Polish border!)

We finished the first leg of our trip and are in Moscow. Tomorrow, bright and early, we fly to Lvov, Ukraine and then when we get there we will have to get on a bus to go to Ternopil.

Keep us in your thoughts and prayers!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

UN Report:

I found this article on the Russia Today website...

Russia becomes largest market for Afghan heroin

22 October, 2009, 13:02

Russia has become the biggest consumer of Afghan heroin with 21% of all the drug consumed in the world, as of the latest UN Office on Drugs and Crime report “Addiction, Crime and Insurgency” published on October 21.

According to the report, no less than 70 tons of heroin were trafficked to Russia in 2008 – that’s three times more than to the US and Canada together, and much more than previously estimated.

Russia's Federal Drug Control Service Head, Viktor Ivanov, stated that over 180 Afghan drug cartels were busy trafficking opiates to the Russian Federation. He pointed out that most of them are operating in Afghan provinces that are under the control of coalition forces in Afghanistan, and therefore lie in their zone of responsibility.

“About 2-2.5 million people [in Russia] are drug users… and 90% of drug-dependent people use Afghan opiates,” Ivanov told RT.

Over the last 10 years, the quantity of drug addicts in Russia skyrocketed tenfold, claiming 30,000-40,000 lives annually.

Meanwhile, Afghanistan remains the world leader in opiate production with 92% of all global opium poppy cultivation. This market is valued at $65 billion. It involves 15 million addicts, of which 100,000 people die every year.


An Afghan policeman shows six and a half tonnes of drugs to be set on fire during an anti-narcotics ceremony in the outskirts of Kabul (AFP Photo / Massoud Hossaini)
Widespread corruption and the lack of enforcement results in the interception of only 2% of the trafficked Afghan opiates, while in Colombia up to 36% is being seized.

The UNODC report estimates the main consumer markets in Europe consist of 3.1 million heroin users.

A decade ago, the Taliban earned $75-100 million annually by putting a tithe tax on opium poppy cultivation. Starting from 2005, the Taliban and terrorist groups in Afghanistan have boosted income up to $90-160 million per year from simply taxing opium production and trade.

The smuggling of Afghan opiates is fueling addiction and drug use along trafficking routes in Central Asia, as well as spreading diseases, the report says.

Though the production of opium in Afghanistan has fallen by some 10% in 2009, the opium in storage is enough to satisfy the worldwide demand fully for two years.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has named opiate production in Afghanistan the major threat to the national security of Russia and discussed the issue during the meetings with the US President Barack Obama and the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, saying the efforts of the West to counter drug trafficking in Afghanistan are insufficient.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

thought for today


When you are content to be simply yourself and don't compare or compete, everybody will respect you.

Lao Tzu

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

more photos from the conference

Here is Anya translating for Tom. She is a university student there in Novorossisk.


A glimpse of the attendees taking notes...

The buidling where the conference was held...

A small taste of the view that we had up there in the mountains. We were short on time and didn't get in any sight seeing this trip. Tom had to get back home to teach the final session on Words that Hurt Words that Heal. Maybe next time!



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Monday, October 19, 2009

Russian Mothers of Preschoolers Conference




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From the dining hall to the conference room everything was decorated for the event. It was held at a campsite not far from the city of Novorossisk.

The photo with the large ball was taken during the ice breaker game. The ball was tossed about the room and if you caught it then you had to answer the question your hand landed on!

We had a great time there... and hopefully as I get rested I will get some more photos up for you to enjoy.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

heading off to the Russian National MOPS Convention!

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Leah Aleyeva, the National Director of MOPS for Russia, (pictured above) asked Tom to speak on "Words That Hurt and Words That Heal" this week at the Russian National MOPS Convention. Leah also requested that both of us speak on "How to Survive in a Marriage with an Alcoholic." She believes that this topic is much needed here in Russia and is hoping that the women will be eager to take what they learn and pass it on to the moms in their groups.
We are not sure how many women will be in attendance. Two representatives from each MOPS group are allowed to attend. There are a total of 50 MOPS groups registered here in Russia. Our group in Krasnodar is #50!


Tom and I both feel honored to be able to participate in MOPS on a national level. The convention will last from today until Saturday... please keep us in your prayers!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

thought for today

Learn to face things as they come, and when they come, with calm deliberation. We may not be able to control events, but we can control our attitudes toward them.
One Day At A Time in Al-Anon



Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Praying Mantis...















As we were coming home from church on Sunday we came across this praying mantis. Tom got down on the sidewalk to get a photo up close. One of our neighbors saw us looking at something and came over to see what we were doing. When he saw the mantis on the ground he looked at him and asked "where did you fly in from my friend?" The mantis was not in a talking mood so we were left without an answer!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Russia Today















11 October, 2009, 16:25

The history of Russian fashion is to be unveiled as the brand new Fashion Museum is being prepared for opening in 2010, as part of the All-Russian Museum of Decorative and Applied Arts.

As the director of the new museum, Margarita Barzhanova, says, it has already collected over 40,000 costumes, from 15th Century dresses to modern clothing, fabric and embroidery samples, as well as sketches and photographs dated from the 19th and 20th Centuries. The museum has been collecting all these priceless pieces of fashion history since its foundation 125 years ago.

However there is a slight lack of contemporary fashion in the collection – it was last updated in 1987. The museum’s administration can only rely on “the free will of the fashion designers”.

“Now we are refilling the collection as fashion forges ahead. But we can only do it with the help of fashion designers. The artist is our main donor,”Barzhanova says.

The presentation of a special museum’s “Black and white” project, dedicated to the history of city costume, will open on October 16 to mark the official start of the Russian Fashion Week, which will pass through the capital from October 17 to October 23.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Oy! more graffitti

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Spelling, grammar and the message are all in question here. Goodness!

Thursday, October 08, 2009

in the arms of love...

As I was walking to my Russian lesson today I saw a little girl out near the playground with her grandfather. She was around 4 years old. She was clutching two baby dolls, one in each arm, close to her chest. One doll was white and the other black. That sight still makes me smile when I think back on it!

Perhaps, I was struck by the sight because when I was a little girl black dolls were hard to find. So, to see one in the arms of a little girl here in Russia was just priceless to me.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Thought for today

I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves. ~Anna Quindlen, "Enough Bookshelves," New York Times, 7 August 1991

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Cossacks on Parade




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We are not sure how frequently this happens... Sunday, while on Krasnaya street we happened upon this parade. A taste of Kuban (our state name) culture at its finest!

Monday, October 05, 2009

Strolling Krasnaya Street


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While strolling Krasnaya with some friends of ours we caught sight of this electric patrol car. It is amazing that 4 officers can actually fit inside. Granted, they are riding pretty low!

Friday, October 02, 2009

Convenience pack

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1 beet, 1 carrot and 2 small onions... this little set could be used as a starter kit for borscht or for a salad. Quite often we see people shopping for one meal at a time. It is great to see that our local supermarket is making shopping easier for its customers who shop in small quantities!

Thursday, October 01, 2009

it's all good in my 'hood!

Yesterday coming home from teaching I met up with my neighbor, Tanya, who is always feeding the stray cats outside of our building. She is not one of Tom's favorites because we have a lot of stray cats close to our building, due to the free food she provides, who have decided to use the boiler room as their cat box.

Tanya was filled with stories about cats needing to have surgery and how sorry she feels for them. As she was speaking another neighbor, a long distance trucker, walked up behind her carrying a crowbar. He asked me if she had offended me. I laughed and told him everything was fine. He pats the crowbar against his other hand, like they do in the movies, smiled really big and said "if she gives you any trouble just call me!"

We all laughed together and after listening to one more story about cats and discussing our kids, Tanya and I said our goodbyes and I came inside our building. As I reached the 3rd floor where the crowbar carrying truck driver lives with his family, I was just in time to see him having a conversation with his cat about going out of the house or staying in!