For the last 100 years or so, the All Blacks have been the bench mark in world rugby. The team to beat. Everyone raises their game against us. The fact that we have only won one world cup is a painful thing for NZ rugby supporters. The expectation is that we are the best, must be the best and will always be the best and should never ever lose.

I’ve had a bit of a chuckle to myself this summer as I have watched firstly South Africa pull Australia apart in the cricket, and Australia’s woes continue as NZ has won the first two one dayers. It’s hard being the best. Everyone is out to get you.

What about my life? Do I want to be the best? Naturally I do. But if I am my best – that is not very good. And even if it is quite good for a while, I will eventually fall, the higher up I get, the harder will be the landing.


We started lessons again last week and will go right through to the end of May with one week off in March. New students have joined us and this includes some adults I am now teaching. It is wonderful to have some new books I brought back from Australia. I am still looking to increase our resources.

We are flat out trying to work out the laws on bringing some new teachers here on business visas as volunteers. Natasha is negotiating what seems to be an endless sea of bureaucracy and unclear, ever-changing laws.

This week I was invited to one of the local Technicums to speak to two English classes about NZ and Australia. I enjoyed the interaction with the students and was given a lovely coffee table book of Ukraine as a token of appreciation. There is a real opportunity for a class at their Technicum as they are quite a distance from the school where we work. We just need more teachers. These students not only would like to learn English, but we talked about broadening their world view. Many have travelled very little (even within Ukraine) and have limited enthusiasm for hobbies and other interests. There is a great opportunity to spend time with them build relationships and share life at a deeper level.

Paperwork!! I’m still not registered – but apparently almost.



It’s been good to have a few ‘at home’ weekends in Rzhyshchiv when I try and not think about work. Recently I’ve been helping Jon and Ruth lay carpet in their house. They are ready to move in this coming weekend. I’ll miss not having them stay at my place.

I’ve had the chance to play volleyball about once a week down in the sports centre. It’s been good to have a bit of exercise and rub shoulders with those I’ve really come to know and love. A few friends came up on Sunday night after volleyball to hang out at my place.

It’s also great to have Simbo and Asia at my place. I feel especially blessed coming home rather late some evenings from work to find food already prepared for me. Oh the things that make me happy!


“Travail and Triumph” (The Russians, Book 3) by Michael Phillips and Judith Pella. The fact that I’m enjoying these books means that I need to finish the series before I get stuck into the large pile of other books. 3/5


To Brendon Walker for providing me with light comic relief DVDs.

Love Jono

Keep Looking Up