Friday, May 22, 2009

Sharing About Ukraine

It's been a little while since our last post, so I thought I would write a few things I've been meaning to write for a while now. David still isn't letting me take pictures of his garden until the peppers start to grow. One peaked out of the soil yesterday, so I'm hoping to have pictures for you next week! But here are other random thoughts and bits of information about us or the culture here that I think you'll enjoy reading about.

Wedding Ring Finger
When we moved here in October, David and I switched our wedding rings from our left hand to our right hand. Our teammates had let us know before we came that was where Russians and Ukrainians wear their wedding bands. Last week our teacher enlightened us more. In Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus married couples wear their wedding bands on their right ring finger. If they wear the wedding band on their left hand it means their spouse is deceased, they are separated from their spouse, or they are divorced. Needless to say, I'm happy we had our rings on the right hand and we'll be keeping them there for the next 5 1/2 years!

Homemade Vanilla

As some of you know, we cannot find liquid vanilla extract/flavoring here in Ukraine. Up to this point our friends have brought it to us or sent it to us. Since we make almost everything from scratch, we go through vanilla fast. About a month ago, our friend from Legacy, Kipi, wrote a blog post about how she was making homemade vanilla. Right now I have four 70oml jars of vanilla in-the-making (it takes 3-6 months to diffuse the vanilla beans into the vodka). Here's a picture of how three of them are turning out. Needless to say, I'm very happy we found this recipe and I can't wait to try it out!
The vanilla on the far left is just starting (Day 1), next to it is vanilla on Day 2, and on the far right is the vanilla after 3 weeks. My first batch will be at the 3 month mark on July 31st. But, I'm hoping I'll be able to let it go 6 months. I'll let you know how it goes!

Shopping in the Outdoor Market
In my post about the items in our kitchen, I mentioned we had been talking to our language teacher about where she buys food. She does not trust the meat or milk products at the supermarkets and prefers produce from the outdoor market as well. Well, a couple weeks ago Denyce and I bought some produce and honey from some people on the street who have stands set up almost every day. It was very good in quality and yesterday we ventured out again, this time to a larger outdoor market to pick up some produce. There were numerous stands of people selling their produce. A lot of it was very fresh, we just had to keep your eye out for the best-looking stuff. They even offer samples, so that is good (although sometimes the sampling looks less than sanitary, so I just buy it, hoping it will be good). Sometimes the produce is washed and sometimes it isn't. If it's washed, it's usually more expensive. But if you don't buy it washed your run the risk of the produce being moldy and bad (the dirt covers a multitude of blemishes). Most of the produce is cheaper in the outdoor market and the things that are in season taste much better. Since summer is here, the produce will only get better as well. Our language teacher is keeping us in the loop of when to buy Ukrainian grown products as many of their imported goods aren't very tasty. Because we went yesterday (not on the weekend), they didn't have the meat out, so I'm planning to go back tomorrow (hopefully with our language teacher so she can show me who to buy meat from) to get that. We'll probably stick to buying our milk products at the grocery store, though.

The Russia
n Keyboard
Here's a picture (click on it to enlarge it) of our keyboard with Russian letter stickers on it. The red letters are Russian, blue are English. Even with the color differences, it's hard to type in Russian, but we're getting better with practice.

A New View
Here are some pictures of what we see out our balcony and windows. The pictures on the left were taken a couple months ago (either February or March) when we were in winter and the pictures on the right were taken today as we're in spring. I chose the prettier pictures of winter (the ones with snow on the ground), but still, we're glad the grey is gone for a while!


Mihills Family Blog said...

Hey you two...I love your new blog picture. Liv..I had to go check the progress of my vanilla after seeing your picture. I started my first one on 4/12 and it doesn't seem to be near as dark as your first one. Hope I didn't put too few beans into too much vodka!

Hope your trip to the market to buy meat turns out well. Can't wait to hear about it. It's hard to imagine buying meat in a market...but it will probably be better than what I buy at the grocery store.

Ya'll take you lots!


Joanna Ashlock said...

Hey guys! It's actually been a little while since I've read your blog so I had a lot to catch up on! I love the story about borrowing kids and agree with one of the comments: usually it's much easier here to run errands without them!

Thanks for sharing so much about the culture and your adjustments there. Even though they are struggles at times, it really makes it so relevant to those of us who really have no clue what's it's like to be out of the U.S.

And thanks for leaving comments on my blog, too. I'm teaching my students at school about blogging and I actually got to say, "I have friends from all over the world who read my blog!" They thought it was cool anyway!

Nathan asked me the other day when we would get to see you again. Once school is out next week, we'll have to skype ya'll again with the boys so they can say Hi.

Great new picture on your blog too!
Love and miss you!

Celice said...

Love the new header picture!
And what a great idea to make your own vanilla flavoring- I'm going to have to try that!
Hope you guys are doing well!

Mike and Lucy said...

Thanks for the great post! I especially like the comparison pictures from your windows. Look forward to getting back there with you guys! ~Dougle

Deanna said...

I love the new header picture! Thanks for sharing more cultural differences and pictures. It is very interesting! You know, after being married for almost 18 years, I'm not sure I could get my wedding ring off!

Jeanette said...

WONDERFUL! I love reading new posts from you guys!

Kirt said...

I like the comparison pictures - what a difference. That keyboard was just a little confusing!! It is almost a culture shock just looking at it.
I, too, like the new blog pic.
Love you.

Mike and Lucy said...

Hey, I like your new pic and color! And your post was very good. You guys do a good job breifly telling about interesting stuff. Sometimes I write too much. :) I miss you all; it will be great to hang out again when we get back and you can take me to the market and show me around!! Love you!

Toni Burns said...

Great post. I love picturing the things you talk about. Its a lot of fun to live in a foreign coutry (and at times really frustrating). I have had a few cultural experiences this week - hopefully I will get a chance to post them soon on my blog. I know everyone else is mentioning it but - I love the picture! Enjoy the meat market!

Melissa said...

Hey Olivia! I enjoyed the post. Makes me miss living in a different country. I remember the first time I went to a street market to buy fresh meat - I was so worried I was going to be ill after eating it. After a few trips to the market though I found that shopping became one of my favorite experiences! I enjoyed the pictures as well. It is kinda hard to believe you have already been there this long.

Anonymous said...

Your view is much better with the trees in bloom! I'm so glad things aren't so grey for you now. :)

Suzy Kyle

Jay said...

Thanks for the post and the great pictures. It is cool following your growth on the mission field.
Jay and Sherry

Zack said...

Hi Dave and Olivia! I too love the new look of y'all's blog here! Very cool! I'm so glad y'all are doing so well there and y'all are adjusting to the culture, learning the language, etc. Praying for y'all and your whole team! And thank you for visiting and commenting on my blog as well! It is always so good to hear from both of you! Y'all are such dear and awesome friends! Praying for all of you! Keep up the good work of making disciples! God bless. Grace and Peace.

Nancy said...

I just saw this blog post. While I'm at home I've been ignoring my LCU email as much as possible and apparently we are subscribed with our gmail account. It is okay, though, it was a nice surprise this morning! I really enjoyed the comparison pictures! Hopefully we'll get to see it sometime in the summer! Love you!!! Mom

Kipi said...

Love the new blog look and love seeing the winter/spring photos. I also love those bottles! Much more interesting than the one I'm using.

Favorite Teammate said...

Oh my goodness! This is so funny! And the pictures were so good. Thanks for writing about this.