** Don't forget about the Yellow Hat Carnival on Wednesday. This week's theme, "First Date."
There’s a birthday this week inside the Yellow Hat which reminded me of some other birthday celebrations we had while we were in
I’ve mentioned, Sveta, our housekeeper previously, and soon, soon, I’ll do a post exclusively on her. In the meantime, I’ll tell you that she was about 36 when we hired her, and her life gave us fascinating insight into the life of the average Soviet person. When we moved to Kyiv in 2003, the
Sveta started working for us in September 2003. She cleaned and watched Big Girl while I continued my language lessons twice a week (I went to language training with Mr. YH in D.C. and the foundation gave a grant to spouses to continue language training in country). Both Sveta and Tetiana, my language teacher, endeared themselves to us very quickly. So when I found out that Sveta’s birthday was in January, I planned a surprise party for her before we left for our trip to
I love surprises! I try to listen to and make note of the things that people enjoy, want, or need so I know what would make great gifts later on- it’s so fun! And I was delighted to plan a little celebration for someone that I knew had made a lot of sacrifices in her life on behalf of others. One afternoon during my language lesson, I sent Sveta out to run an errand- I may have even had her go buy the ice cream! I had made some brownies so I could make brownie sundaes. We blew up some balloons and then brought her into the kitchen for the big “Sue-preeze!” Stunned about sums it up. She told us nothing like this had ever happened to her in her life (neither had that horrible haircut I had gotten...a memory for another time!).
Later, Yuri, her husband talked to us on the phone and thanked us for doing this for her. He said her eyes were as big as 5 kopecks (the largest coin in their currency) when she retold the afternoon’s events.
The following year, we told Sveta and Tetiana that we were going to go out for a little celebration and each of them thought it was to give them a chance to celebrate Big Girl’s January birthday with them before we went on our trip to
This year, we were prepared with gifts. I always had a crystal bud vase on the kitchen table with a single rose in it (there was a flower stand on the corner outside our building and I could get them for a dollar or so- I love the smell of non-florist roses and the fact that they always open!). Tetiana always commented on them, so I bought her a bud vase and gave her some hryvnia to buy herself a rose on the way home. We gave Sveta a Beatles CD which utterly delighted her. She couldn’t figure out how we knew she liked them, and we reminded her of a conversation she’d had with Mr. YH some time before; we had immediately ordered a CD to have on hand to give to her. When we parted ways that afternoon on the street, it seemed to me that years had been erased from their faces as they linked arms and walked down the main street of the city, smiling, talking, and laughing like school girls…I’ll treasure that vision forever.
when it is in your power to act. Proverbs 3:27
For other Monday's Memories, go here.