Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Freezing the Goods

It's summer in Ukraine which means lots of fresh fruits and veggies!! It's such a relief because there were many disappointing things about the fruits and veggies in the wintertime. It's nice to have your pick of the freshly grown produce now, sometimes grown just outside of Kharkov!

Since moving here, we've noticed there are many things we think and do differently from Ukrainians. For example, we buy fruit (sometimes frozen) all year round. They wouldn't dream of doing that. In fact, when it comes to almost anything, if it's not made in Kharkov, they turn their nose up at it. I bought lids for the jars I'll be using to can tomatoes and the lady who was selling them said, "These are good... these are bad." When we asked what the difference was between them she simply said (pointing to the good ones) "These were made in Kharkov" and (pointing to the "bad" ones), "These were made in Poltava" (another city in Ukraine). And the list of differences between our cultures just goes on and on.

One thing they do here that I've tried doing this year is freezing produce to have in the winter. You see, they may not buy produce from Poland or anywhere else outside of Kharkov, but they've also thought to plan ahead and can or freeze in the summer. So, in following their example, I have been berry shopping and have myself a little stash of berries for the winter months ahead. Berries are also really cheap right now, which is so wonderful! I flash froze each of them individually, then stuck them in my freezer bags (compliments of Legacy's care packages, thank you!) to store in the freezer.

The season for cherries and raspberries are just about over here, so I'm glad we were able to get them when we did. I'm very proud of my little stash of raspberries, blueberries and cherries!

On a side note: David and I are leaving today to go on holiday in Italy! We are very excited to get away for a little bit and have fun seeing the sights of Italy. We'll be traveling around 7 different cities with our friends from New Zealand, Dan and Tarryn Pratt, in just 12 days. So, keep us in your prayers as we travel and as soon as we get back I'll post some pictures from our adventures!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Life just got a little bit easier!

After just over 8 months of walking around the city, we are happy to announce we finally have a car! It is a light blue Hyundai Accent, 2008. It's a new car, which is great because it means we have warranty that goes with it, if anything should go wrong. Our friend, Vetali, is a mechanic and helped us find it. Cars are pretty expensive around here, even for used cars. But we were able to find a deal at the Hyundai dealership that we couldn't pass up. After finding the car, he and his wife Galina worked hard to help us get all the paperwork sorted. We are so blessed to have friends like them here!!!

Needless to say, we are now spoiled and are LOVING the convenience. The first night we had our car, we drove to the grocery store. It was so different I felt like I no longer lived in Kharkov. It was just so easy and fast! Imagine this: driving to the grocery store, getting your groceries, packing them in your trunk (or boot), and then driving them home. I'm smiling as I write this because it's so wonderful! No more blisters or sore arms... and energy to spare!

Of course, we won't be driving everywhere like we did in the states. Our teammates apartments are still close enough to walk to and sometimes traffic is bad enough, it's just easier to walk or take the metro instead. The main blessing of having the car will be for when we will have to carry a lot home. It will also be nice in the winter to not have to fight the cold as much.

Several of you have asked about the driving here. It is pretty crazy, yes. For the most part, if it looks like they can get away with it, they'll do it (i.e. driving on the wrong side of the road, running lights, etc.). So, we're learning the rules and then learning how to drive with other cars who don't abide by those rules. Now is the best time of year for us to be learning as the roads are all in pretty good condition. In the winter everything is icy, then when spring comes there are pot holes everywhere. The pot holes are dangerous by themselves, but then there are the cars swerving to avoid the pot holes. Hopefully, come winter, we'll be a little more prepared to deal with "the worst."

I've also posted some pictures of our car. As you can see, we've already had it loaded to the max with our teammates. Even though it's small, Denyce, Malachi, and Silas all fit in the back seat pretty well!

So, for us, life just got a little bit easier and we are very happy about that!