Friday, December 30, 2011

Safely in Ukraine ... Enjoying being at my new apartment.

I went to a large outdoor market, and the crowds that were there the day before New Year's eve we really overwhelming.

But, my Christmas tree is up and I am excited to be hosting a large New Year's eve party tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

24 hours

I'm at the Pittsburgh airport waiting for the first leg of my flight. In a mere 24 hours I will be resting in my apartment in L'viv. This I my first trip from the US to L'viv, and it is a long one (I flew directly from Mongolia the last time I was there). These long transcontinental flights will be a regular part of my life from here on out.

It amazes me that a generation ago when my professor Dr. Smith flew to Latin America, he sent a telegram announcing his arrival and then went without contacting home for months at a time. When his mother and father-in-law traveled to East Asia they packed their belongings in a trunk large enough to use as a coffin to be buried in after a lifetime of service never to return home.

It is a quick flight filled with near constant updates thanks to the Internet, today! Just amazed at how lucky I am to serve in a time and place where life is easy and easily connected back home.

Thursday, December 22, 2011


I can't believe that there is only one week separating me from Ukraine! And what a full week it will be!

Christmas is somewhere in there, as well as a Sunday night service I'll be preaching for at Warren First UMC. There are people to see, goodbyes to be said, gifts to wrap and unwrap and then pack away, more last minute items than could possibly fill two small suitcases, and packing up my sister and brother-in-law's house before they move (the same day I move!), and a thousand other details to focus on before I fly out.

And yet I'm oddly calm. My sister, a Physician Assistant, keeps checking my pulse to make sure I'm still here.

This Christmas season is an odd holiday time. I'm receiving the best gift ever - getting to go and fulfill my dreams with the support of my family, congregation, and denomination. My brother-in-law will take his dream job out in Illinios and my sister will happily find a new job in her field. We don't have a tree up, or really too many gifts stashed away - but this season we will celebrate well. We will follow that star wherever it takes us and find great joy in whatever lies ahead. Although we lack all the external, visible accoutrements of Christmas; I think we have found the real meaning. What a blessing that is.

Joy and Peace to you all as you find the meaning of this season.

Friday, December 2, 2011

apartment therapy

My friends in Ukraine are currently apartment hunting for the place where I'll live. We plan on signing for an apartment some time next week.

It's an odd adventure to apartment hunt by proxy. After my friends go to visit an apartment they will send me pictures and I find the address on a map to see if the location is good. There's a whole process that happens for each apartment, and its very time consuming. My friends are wonderfully patient and extravagantly generous with their time.

I've been a transient person for the last three years. I haven't lived in the same apartment for more than three consecutive months since January of 2009. I have lived with family, friends, and strangers; in rented rooms, luxurious apartments, and spare basements. It has been a wonderful journey. You don't know how much the kindness of others means until its all you have.

It will be good to have a (semi)permanent space. A place to make my own, to live in and love. A bedroom and bathroom where everything is just where I want it to be - it's odd how important these things become after a long time of not having them. I fully plan on throwing my suitcases over the balcony after I'm unpacked - I don't want to have to live out of a suitcase for years and years to come!

Hopefully in the next few days something great will work out. I'm certain that just the perfect place will appear.