Monday, 9 February 2009

Finsihed at last!

Our kitchen is finished at last - well at least the units are, we still need to tile and paint walls as you can see. It has been an interesting and steep learning curve for all of us involved in the process, I really felt quite sorry for Viktors the boss, as it has not been an easy time for him, trying to get the work done as there were quite a few things to delay him. We finished friends though and after a good chat with him we hopefully cleared up a few things from our perspective which we hope will help him deal with customers in the future it is such a new company and so much potential in a now difficult environment. At least it now means that we won't be going to our second home quite so often now -The Ergli Hotel Restaurant. (The colour of our units by the way is closer to the 2nd picture).

When I came across this report in one of my news feeds earlier this week it struck me that it must be the understatement of the week

[P]erhaps the strongest misery and anger is in the former Soviet states, and particularly the Baltic states. One serious source has reported that Latvia can expect a 10% fall in GDP this year (it already has by 10.8% according to reports out today) – something that's surely going to strike home across the society. Guardian Weekly All I can say is "Really? You do surprise me!" (sarcastically)

I am not sure if it is good news or not but the Latvian Prime Minister survived a vote of no confidence this week but the Agriculture Minister and the culture ministers have gone. The Agriculture minister went after the protests from the farmers blocked the entrance to his ministry - maybe he just couldn't get in and gave up and went home, can't say I would blame him if he did. 

Winter Olympics came to Ergli this weekend and there were coaches and cars everywhere. First it was the schools Olympics with snowboarding, cross country skiing and ice hockey (outside!), not sure what else there was as I couldn't decipher it. On the Sunday there was an open competition of cross country skiing. We quite fancy getting some skis and using the track which is just at the top of the hill from us but had little idea of how you actually do cross country skiing, especially the uphill bits. We did go with some others who were cross country skiing in Colorado but we took snowshoes instead. It looks to me to be like skating but on skis, which is a bit worrying really as I am not so good on skates. 
There were others who were not so confident who moved more by shuffling along which looked a lot easier. Still it looked good fun and now all we have to do is hope the snow lasts long enough for us to get some skis and try it out. I love downhill skiing but Ian is not so keen and the only downhill skiing around here is either down the road - not a good idea - or down the equivalent of a nursery slope which I think would get boring very quickly. The cross country ski tracks though are up to 15km long so plenty to try.

This week we booked tickets to go to Cyprus. Ian has a weeks work in the hospital in Nicosia - tough life isn't it! I got the chance at last to use some of my airmiles that I accumulated when I visited Brazil three times from the States (for those who live in Europe, Brazil is almost the same distance from the States as it is from Europe surprisingly. It is still an 8 hour flight from Atlanta). We shall be spending the first week of March on holiday in the Troodos Mountains. This is the first time we have had a weeks holiday with no children in nearly 25 years of marriage, we only had one day honeymoon in a hotel in Hathersage, all other holidays without children have been at friends or relatives, and lovely though they are,  I don't think they count. Neither do I really count the few days we spent in a hotel in Fort Collins after our stuff was packed up to go and we had to vacate our rented house, it was restful but not sure it really felt like a holiday and was only a few days anyway. Neither do the few days in the Ergli hotel count either as we were working on our new flat at the same time. It is interesting how this opportunity came up for Ian to do some work straight after the end of our jubilee year. He would have worked the first week but the first Monday is a public holiday (Green Monday -48 days before the Orthodox Easter) so he wouldn't have had a full week to work. 

For those who feel I have got a bit wordy of late I do apologise but I have so much going round my head that I just want to get it down in writing and if that is you then you can finish reading here as there is no further news just reflections (oh and a nice picture that Ian took this morning). I have been in a particularly reflective mood just lately which seems a bit late or early depending on which way you look at it as the new year was over a month ago, but our new year starts in just a few weeks with the anniversary of Ian's resignation from his job. Little did we think when we set off from America what a world wide storm would arise. I mentioned in previous blogs (here and here) that it felt a bit like being on the boat like Paul in Acts and this week I was wondering when this boat we are on is finally shipwrecked what will the world look like. When all hope in the material things of this life has been abandoned where will we be washed up? 

Acts 28:1-2 Once safely on shore, we found out that the island was called Malta. The islanders showed us unusual kindness. They built a fire and welcomed us all because it was raining and cold.

I sense that for some it is time to be gathering the firewood so you can build the fires of welcome for those washed up on the cold shore and for some it is time to be prepared to be flung into the cold sea but confident in a God who saves. 

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (New International Version)

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

I am looking forward to those "unusual acts of kindness"

I stumbled across a sermon the other day on Paul and the storm and it was good to hear them preaching (November 9th& 16th) along the same lines as I have been thinking. One thing stood out though in the first sermon, which I missed in my reading of the story, was the fact that they didn't see the sun or the stars for several days, so not only had they thrown their paychecks (the cargo) into the water and their equipment (the ships tackle) they also had absolutely no idea where they were. Navigation was done by the sun and stars - they had thrown out everything they can and still they can't see the way ahead and had nothing to navigate by. That must be how our Governments and business leaders must be feeling right now, they have thrown what they can at the situation and still there are massive problems. I feel there is more to uncover yet, more scandals and cases of moral corruption if not strictly illegal corruption, but like a cancer it all has to go for there to be a chance of a cure. But if we hold on and weather the storm, even if we lose everything we have we can still wash up on the cold shore and be welcomed by a fire and those unusual acts of kindness. I will finish my musings this week and continue on with further thoughts next week (wonder how many sighs of relief I can hear? Lol)

8 comments:

Mavis said...

Congratulations on your new kitchen! Looks great.

I like your reflections on Paul and the shipwreck, especially the fact about not seeing the sun or the stars. It does seem a bit as though the world is drifting at the moment, not really knowing the direction it's taking. Wonder what 'Malta' will look like?

Joanna said...

Thank you Mavis. I am pleased with it but I must admit to being equally pleased to get the fitters out of the house, they were nice enough but I was tied to the house as I never knew if when they would come or go. Phew!

Like you I also wonder what Malta will look like. The shoreline will be different to anything we have ever seen before, of that I am sure, and I feel like I am grappling with what it will look like in my head, but the time to see it is not yet.

Emma said...

Are you trying to make me feel bad for what I said?!

Joanna said...

Don't worry you weren't the only one to comment on the length. :oD, certain other members of the family skip those bits of pontificating.

Natalija said...

I can't believe that this is the kitchen in your apartment!!! It is amazing.

Natalija said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joanna said...

It sure does make a difference. It even looks bigger too which seems strange with all the cupboards in. You will have to come and look at it.

Natalija said...

Absolutely!!! We will need to come and visit you after you get enough rest! :) So that our boys don't seem too overwhelming :D
By the way, Simon is walking now!!! Today he made some solid long walks :D I guess I won't be resting for a while.

I enjoy your reflections, so please keep posting those!