Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Frustrations galore

Well sorry for the delay and it is good to see that blogger seems to be behaving itself this morning.

Several incidents just lately have had us and our friends asking "What does it mean to be an adult? "What  difference does it make to how someone should act?" and "How can we encourage folks to grow up?" It is hard when dealing with people from dysfunctional families or embroiled in relationships with those from dysfunctional families. Many people here in Latvia have an alcoholic in their family or amongst their close friends and encouraging responsible behaviour in that environment can be tough sometimes . It is always heart breaking to say "Enough's enough! You've gone too far!" Tough, but necessary sometimes. It has been a steep learning curve for all involved to realise that allowing behaviour to slide is not always in some folk's best interests. Yes there is unconditional love, but love also looks for the best for the person and sometimes that is far from comfortable. Well hopefully we have all learnt something in these processes that we can use to help others where necessary. Rapper/actor  Ashley Walters came from such a dysfunctional family as his dad went to prison 17 times and left Ashley an angry young man. After a spell in prison he came out to see his young son and realised where his mistakes were leading and said in a BBC interview  "I don't see any point in that. If I have already had the bad experience, I should be able to steer him away from that. That's the whole point in being a Dad and being an adult." Well said I think and I hope that many won't get to that stage before they realise their mistakes. Before you get the wrong impression though there are lots of very responsible folks here despite the difficulties, some holding down 2 or even 3 jobs just to make ends meet or working away from family just to make sure there is some income coming in, bringing with it a new set of problems, life is sure not easy for some. 

It hasn't been all angst this week though, how can you when Spring is on its way? It is not a pretty time of the year really, with the snow melting leaving soggy messes everywhere but there is a sense of urgency and a softness in the air that suggests just a little longer and things will be different. Magpies are zooming backwards and forwards making nests (I didn't realise how widespread those birds are until we have moved around and I can confirm they are in Denmark, America and Latvia as well as England), other birds are singing their hearts out and of course the storks are back. Ian was literally just telling me that the storks were back as the first sightings had been made in Latvia according to our Swedish friend, when on cue, one flies past our house. How's that for timing? A stork flies for 35 days from its winter nesting ground and times his arrival with our discussion about storks! Amazing coincidence! We have also spotted a couple of butterflies which is odd as there are only snowdrops flowering at the moment, goodness only knows what they will be feeding on.

The melting snow of course brings flooding because the ground is still frozen and the water has nowhere to go, so it tries to head for the rivers. The rivers in turn are still solid chunks of ice as well and so the water backs up. I didn't realise how thick the ice was until the nearby river started breaking up and there were chunks of ice over 30 cm thick protruding upwards in places. In Jelgava they have already had floods and so the army have been sent in to break up the ice on the Daugava river with explosives so that the water can drain away and it certainly needed some hefty explosives to break it up.

As to be expected, our land is rather soggy, and once again it is deserving of its nickname, the Everglades. And guess what with all this soggy mess we are still waiting for our polytunnel to be completed! We were told last week that the wood would be ready to finish the frame and they would start on Monday, which we were led to believe  meant last Monday but no. No one thought to ring to say what was happening and poor Ian is getting a bit fed up chasing folks around (do they want a job or not?).  Anyway someone did turn up this Monday to have a look, only a week late, and there is a real problem with the amount of water that is literally pouring through the channels that Ian has dug, but heh! that is not our problem we did suggest it be done sooner while the ground was still frozen, so they will need to be creative to get it finished and not covered in mud.

I said the ground was frozen still and so I watched in amazement as a lorry went by with a pipe laying machine on the back. It is quite amazing they are starting back to work now on laying water pipes because the frozen ground is like concrete and I know the pipes have to be laid below the permafrost layer, but they have to get to it first. It will be like digging through a metre thick concrete slab. Incredible! Rather them than me! Having said that the moles seem to have managed all right to dig through the frozen ground, judging by the number of mole hills up the garden - maybe that is what they use, an army of moles?

It is amazing how travelling about makes you think about your own heritage more and also the heritage of others (or maybe it's just me) so it was interesting to read on the Timber Butte blog about Tri Robinson and his heritage as an American, and descendant of pioneers. I have to say American's often have a greater knowledge of their own heritage than those of us from Europe but I guess it is all that moving about that makes you search for your roots. Seeing just a little of the vastness that is America in our two years of living there helped me to understand some of the American culture, to think that today's folks are the descendants of those who had to keep going to reach a place to settle, who had to lose things along the way that weighed them down, who had to be fixed on the goal or perish. All this makes sense of sense of thinking they know best, the determination to carry on in the face of opposition, and the courage to get up even after a fall. Those characteristics are admirable sometimes but they do have a flip side which is not so good but understanding where it comes from has meant I am more tolerant when I meet it - well sometimes and no doubt I have my own cultural foibles that are hard to understood by the good folks here.

So what about my heritage? My grandparents are all from different towns of England which is unusual for my grandparents era as people were not so mobile then. My Grandfather though on my mother's side wanted to start a new life in Australia but my Nan would not move away. So my heritage is one of those who wanted to go and those who wanted to stay, those with a sense of adventure which was never fulfilled and those too frightened to step out. It is odd that our daughter, her great-granddaughter has finally made it there to Australia. It sort of echoes how Abraham's father set out to go to Canaan but never made it, he settled for the comfort of Haran instead (Genesis11:31) and it was Abraham who made it to Canaan after a little encouragement to get up and go from God. Of course if my Grandparents had moved I wouldn't be here writing this blog or having these adventures as my parents would not have met. Sobering thought! But what is more sobering to me is the fact that Terah never made it to his destination, he settled too soon. I never want to be someone who settles for less than the goal of God's life for me, I never want to settle too soon. That does not mean it is time to leave Latvia, there are other goals to pursue than just places to go to but I just don't want to settle down yet, I haven't finished my journey through life yet, God has a purpose and a plan for me and I don't want to settle for anything less. That helps to spur me on with my studies despite the set back I had this last week. Up to now on my new course I had been getting distinctions but for the assignment for this new unit, one I thought I should have had no problem with I got what they called a marginal fail (not sure what that means yet) and I felt rather down about it, I suppose it knocked me off my pedestal a bit. It is a set back but not I presume an insurmountable one and so I shall determine to carry on and reach my goal. At least for now I have two weeks off my studies so I can relax and rest my brain.

You can see a big difference between this week's photos and last week's.
Photo 1 our rustic workshop still under construction, but the banks of snow at the side of the path are fast disappearing
Photo 2 but the snow is still deep in places, Ian had to take a photo first before he would help me out.
Photo 3 Ian digging drainage channels in the polytunnel
Photo 4 The polytunnel - not a pretty sight
Photo 5 The destructive effects of the melting snow on a road. The land to the left up to 3/4 of the way up the hill is ours too, and used to be a ski hill.
Photo 6 The children's playground and if you look back you can see how the snow was pretty much up to the swings and the top of the bin.
Photo 7 Our reappearing garden.


Valerie said...

Didn't you know Spring is the time when God shows us what he can do with a dirty world.

Joanna said...

Couldn't agree more, today was such a glorious day wasn't it, with the sun shining and a lovely warm wind to dry the ground. Saw the storks on their nests and watched one quite close up hunting the frogs.