Saturday, March 22, 2014

Return to Cherkasy

Late Friday afternoon, Yuriy drove us back to Cherkasy.  Another nice car ride complete with leather seats, GPS, a little Enrique Iglesias and, of course, some serious passing of other cards on the road.  The best part about the ride was the gorgeous sunset that reminded me that the sky here is painted by the same great God who paints the sky at home.  And in the midst of continued turmoil within this country, He is the same good God who reigns sovereignly over the entire situation and calls each of these people by name.

Majestic.
While we love Kyiv and enjoyed our time there again, returning to our apartment in Cherkasy was a really good thing.  Like when you've been away from home for vacation and you're 5 minutes from home and it just feels right.  That's the feeling Adam and I both had returning to our little studio here. It's by no means home, but it's quaint and cozy and it's as close to home as we're going to get for a while so we're trying to make the best of it.

Saturday we had a morning visit with the kids.  Thankfully Kate was no longer sick and our whole family, as Max calls it when referring to the four of us, got to spend time together.  Max had this to give us when we arrived for our visit.  He wrote it by himself and was so proud to share it with us.

"so good"
We sat down and Max said to me, "You teach" which meant that he wanted to work on some more English.  Not sure I'm the most qualified of teachers, but I guess he's stuck with me for now.  He drew pictures and I helped him label them with the correct English spelling of the words.  What's fascinating to me is to watch him sound words out and assign them the letters he thinks are correct because it has helped me to understand Ukrainian a little bit better.  For example, he always wants to write the word "and" with an "e" instead of an "a" at the beginning.  After watching him consistently assign the wrong letter to a certain sound I began to be able to associate those sounds to the letters in their words (the phonetic spelling anyway).  I'm still far from fluency, but I've managed to pick up on a few things over time.

Counting to ensure he has 50 starts to represent each state.
Adding labels.
Yesterday my role doubled as I became a math teacher, too.  Suddenly, Max turns to me and says "mathematics."  I think he and I will get along quite nicely in the homework department.  Perhaps he will motivate his sisters as well.  One can hope.  So, we started with some basic math and then he asked me to write out some multiplication problems.  Not just your basic problems though, he wanted triple digit problems.  I was wishing for a calculator at that point.  I have to admit there were a couple times that in checking his answers I figured why bother, he's got them all mastered anyway.

Math facts with Mom.
While all this serious working was happening, Kate sat quietly by rocking out to "The Little Mermaid" soundtrack.  Schoolwork doesn't exactly get her as excited as it does Max.  This lack of interest is definitely not indicative of her knowledge of English though as there have been many times that she has corrected or helped Max with an English word or two.

"Who me?"
One advantage to a morning visit with the kids is that we have lots of time to get out and explore in the daylight after we leave the orphanage.  Yesterday that's exactly what we did.  We decided to make our way to the beach.  We were't exactly sure how to get there, but 3 miles later we were home and successful in finding water.

Beautiful beach.
 We try to include one adventure each day, which means either finding a new coffee destination, venturing out a new direction from our apartment or sampling a new variety of pastry.  Sometimes we get really crazy and do all three in one day...those are the best days in my book.  Pretty exciting, eh?  Tomorrow's adventure just may include a pizza outing.

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