Thomas the Train

This week we pulled out some old DVD’s for the younger kids… it had been quite a while since Thomas was playing.  Neat to watch the eyes of a 2yr old as the toy trains choo-choo about on the screen.  I had my own reality version of Thomas this week, pulling stuff around in the mud.  The snow has melted and it feels like spring at the moment.  It’s been 10yrs since I’ve had to look down a muddy road and think to myself, “can i make it?”… For the guys out there, I’m going to post some truck pictures (insert Tim Allen “arh arh”).  After all the headache of importing my truck (still not finished the process), I’m so glad I brought it over.. it’s not only a reliable vehicle but I’m able to help others.

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dsc00048.JPG  Last night I went searching in Kiev for a Tire/Auto shop.  I struck gold!  This place was amazing, it was everything you’d find in America, but with 10x more employees on hand.  It had 10 bay doors to drive in, and all the gadgets you could want to service your vehicle.  I had blown my tire a few nights prior late at night in a small town (hit broken curb going 60mph), so I was driving without a spare.  I decided to replace the back two tires with snow tires.  It was all going well until I asked them to put anti-freeze in my radiator and change the oil… simple process right?  dsc00054.JPG  Two hours later, these guys were finishing up.  No joke, the took FOREVER on the oil and rad.  First they poured in some liquid cleaner stuff and had to wait 20 minutes for it to drip, drip, drip out.. then poured in the oil… check it, start truck, shut off truck, check it, little more oil, start truck, shut truck off… 20 times, no joke.  

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  This one guy was fixated on the radiator, i think he was happy to have a customer because he’d fill it up, squeeze some hoses (out gushes fluid), pour some more in, (repeat x’s 40).  I watched him for 45 minutes play with it.  I guess they wanted me to get my monies worth.  They do this a lot around here, if something is simple there are a few extra steps involved to help you justify the cost.  I just watched and was thankful they cared so dearly for my truck.  When I got the bill, I noticed the ‘labor’ charge was only 100UA, equivalent of $15 US… I figure with the amount of guys working on my truck last night it worked out to be about $2/hr per guy.  Don’t worry, they made up for it on the oil and tire charges.. ouch.  I tipped the rad guy, and encouraged him to find a hobby.

Well, enough truck talk.  The family is doing well, Deb and I have started doing our Russian classes together, that has been nice.  She is ahead of me (4-5 weeks more of classes) and helps me remain calm when considering the many insane gramatical requirements.  My vocabulary is around 300 words, we’re learning how to conjugate verbs and talk properly in short sentences.  I’m already having to ‘undo’ several sentences I thought I was crafting correctly.  The human brain is an amazing thing, I need to use it more.  What’s become a wonder to Deb and I is language itself.. we have a new perspective on our own English language, how it has formed, things we say without every thinking about it… It’s a wonder anyone ever learns english, it has to be the most diverse and complex language out there, these other languages are so structured and literal.  We were joking the other night with some other americans that we can carry on a conversation without ever meaning what we say literally.  For example, “Do you feel like breakfast? No, I think I’ll hit the hay in stead.” At least 50% of what we English speaking folks say is literally translated as something unintelligable… every day there is something that strikes us as funny, I should keep track of them.  I have a new appreciation for translators too, they have a tough job.  They not only have to translate actual words, but concepts, and interchange words that will fit the intent of the speaker.  So many english words won’t have a Russian counterpart, or even concept they’d understand.  Understanding the little Russian we do now helps me provide better English sentence structure when using a translator.    I’m supposed to be studying Russian right now, so I’d better get going.  Oh, I’m typing now in Russian, that has been a lot of fun to learn… I’m about as slow typing in Russian as my dad is in English, it’s pretty funny.

Still have guys working on our house, they’ve spent the last 3 weeks mudding/taping and now sanding one room, I can’t even go in there anymore without getting frustrated.  No matter how many times I give instruction they won’t follow.  They are taught ‘one way’ in school and they refuse to go against the ‘proper’ way of doing things.  So my walls now have 2 inches thick of plaster, I don’t even need to paint it, it’s already all white.   I took the three of them this week and showed them how to paint, they were confident in their reply that they knew how to paint… but when I asked one of them to show me with the roller, he dunked the roller in the pan, didn’t roll it first and proceeded to splash the wall with dripping paint coming from the soaking roller.  Maybe they thought I said, “have you guys ever ‘seen’ paint before.’  The answer everyone gives here is “yes we know”.. they are afraid to tell the truth, their experience is that if you say no, you may lose your job or not get the one you are trying to get.    They are good kids, and hopefully seeds are being sown.

Speaking of seeds sown, we are officially hosting the first Rz Christmas Dinner for the Mayor and city officials.   We are finalizing dates right now, but have the reception hall picked out and ready, and our church is meeting this coming Sunday night at our house for a planning time.  Pray for this would you? 

Pray for:

The Christmas/Gospel message to be clear and received.

Relationships/Trust in the community.

The church here to grow.

“That God in all things may be glorified.”  1 Pet 4:11

Sincerely,

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