‎How did 2011 start for you? How long ago was it? Maybe it seems like an eternity, or maybe just yesterday. The so called “silly season” is upon us. This time of year is the end of many things. School, clubs, Uni, sports schedules, regular monthly activities – so many things end for the year. How well do you end? At school I am encouraging the students to ‘finish well’. I too am finishing my contract at school. How will I finish?


Last week I had a Skype call with Natasha and Losha and I got to see Lilya and Denis. I had a little chat with Lilya – she has grown up so much. I realised how much I miss my Ukrainian family. I am looking forward to the possibility of a trip to Ukraine next year. I have been away too long and realise how much I miss those I have come to love there over the past few years.

UTSIM. Natasha has done a good job with documentation and passed some rigorous audits. However, they are insisting that she raises her own monthly salary (which she is not receiving in reality now anyhow). This will increase the taxes that UTSIM will need to pay and they are struggling to make ends meet.  Sveta teaches 25 students every week.

I have not really learned any Russian – but have enjoyed playing table tennis on Friday nights and interacting with my Russian and Ukrainian friends.


I again had shashlik at my friend Dima’s house. Sometimes I am able to forget I am in Sydney. Especially seeing as earlier that morning I went to an art exhibition for a Ukrainian painter. I didn’t buy anything as the cheapest painting was $300, but I enjoyed reminiscing and speaking a little Ukrainian with the artist.

I am enjoying touch footy on Monday nights and even managed to score a try last week. Usually I am just too slow.

And of course school deters me from sloth and is ending with a bang. I am endeavouring to leave footprints on the hearts of the students.


I have just started Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver. I read her novel The Poisonwood Bible a few years back and it is one of my favourite books.


To Lilya Kurilko for brightening up my week with her infectious smile.