22 February 2008

The Crimea is our destination tomorrow. The plan is to rise early and make the 14 drive in one day. I say the plan, so if we schedule leaving by 6 a.m. we might get out of here by 9. Leah will be here to hold down the fort as she's working in Kiev. It may be volunteer work, but it still is treated as a job and they need her. Praise the Lord for the opportunity.

The Crimea is a peninsula in the Black Sea on the southern edge of Ukraine. It used to belong to Russia, but Khrushchev had a Ukrainian wife and so they gifted it to Ukraine. Nonetheless, it still remains rather autonomous with their own government and capitol city Simferopol. The village of Nikolaevka sits on the western side of the Crimea and was our first mission home. It is the head village of what, in Soviet times, was a collective farm over seven other villages. The population is about 4,000 and it sits right on the Black Sea. The land there is quite flat (farmland, grapes and sunflowers) and uninteresting, but on the opposite side from us (on the east) there are lovely mountains. Occasionally we get over there.

When I say village, that word here, true to form is synonymous with backwards, behind the times, out of the loop. When we moved there in 1994 we heated with a wood/coal burning stove. Our first winter was pretty chilly inside, not so much from the cold weather, but from Jeff learning how to manage a good fire. Of course, I used my feminine rights and would nudge him (the man of the house) out of bed on the cold mornings to go start the fire again before we all had to face the frosty house. By the second winter he had it pretty well figured out. There really is an art to building a fire that will last all night long. Pretty sharp guy!

Well, since I have to finish packing, I will make this short, but while there I will tell you more about our early experiences in Nikolaevka. Oh, that is, remember I said village, if we have a good enough internet connection. That is always a big question. Too-taloo!

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