- Ukraine is a land constitutionally opposed to fans. Not Euro Cup fans, of which we saw many. Fans that would make a 5th or 6th floor apartment in high summer bearable without AC.
- We were told by our facilitator "there is no Russian word for funny". We began to understand that in a couple of days.
- There are lots of icons. Everywhere. That's great. Except for one store was selling them right next to paintings that could only be described as soft porn.
- Borscht is only marginally better there. Sorry Ukrainian friends. Beets aren't my thing.
- I may never eat pork again, having had my lifetime quota in one month.
- Ukraine tourism industry: appreciated that you decided two years ago to mark many streets and signs in downtown Kiev in both Cyrillic and transliterated English. Now consider telling the cashiers that it is not a sin for foreigners to not have exact change. And arrest the guys dressed in goofy costumes who accost the tourists for money in the form of "want to take a picture with me"?
- This is a land where I could not manage to buy unspoiled meat (other than pork) but could buy easily some of the best chocolate I've ever had.
- Never saw a Beer machine before. Now I have. (As in drop in your coins, press a button, and its Miller Time.)
- I know this will amuse some of you traddy folks: we went to the Roman Catholic co-Cathedral in Kiev, St Alexander's. They offer an English mass early on Sunday (thank you!). The hymnal: Gather. We laughed a bit--just unexpected.
- Speaking of St. Alexander's, its humbling to most Americans (including myself) when you read the Church history on the side of the nave: "We re-opened in 1994 after our pastor in 1939 was executed by Stalinists."
- ...But there were flowers by the ubiquitous statues of Lenin....
Well. We met many people we liked there, and to my mind, that was the strength of the country. Kiev was likable and interesting, and the Orthodox churches remarkable. Most of our time was in a small town mid-country, and that was more intense for a variety of reasons. I'll write about it someday, but not today, and probably not here.
The Cooper family (trying to adopt Harper) is still in process with their adoption. If you could continue to pray for them, that would be much appreciated. I will update you as I can.
We're swamped with adjusting to a new member of the family who cannot speak English, has some significant physical needs (he has CP) and is pretty overwhelmed by the change his life has taken. Mind you, he's doing well in many ways and is usually smiling. But it is a 24-7 job being "on" our kids right now. I'll do a better "welcome chic #5" post sometime--maybe at his baptism.
But I will try to hop in here, to stay connected and feel like I am not always in a new adoption bubble. So, for your ironic amusement: Britain holds contest to create a national anthem to Cheddar Cheese. (It isn't theological but too good not to pass along.)