If I haven't told you how much I appreciate you being a part of my life...I will tell you now. You are a godsend...a blessing...a friend...my interpreter.
The look in your eyes today as we were eating dinner told me an awful lot about you. You were attempting to smile, and continue to carry on a decent conversation. Your eyelids being at half-mast told the true story. You are exhausted! As well you should be!
Most people don't appreciate the life an interpreter leads here in Ukraine. I will attempt to tell your side of the equation.
For however many days your charge is in the country, you are responsible for them. (in our case it was 18 days)You meet them early in the morning, how early depends on what is going on for them that day, and you get to go home late at night. That also depends on what is going on with your charge. In our case it meant days starting as early as 9:00 a.m. and ending around 10:30 or 11:00 p.m. some days. Oh...did I mention that YOUR time didn't start at 9:00 a.m. ... that is when you got to our flat or wherever you were meeting us. YOUR day started much earlier because you had to find appropriate transportation to get to us first. Which could mean leaving your house anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour and a half earlier than the meeting time in order to get to our flat on time.
This doesn't count the time before we get "in country" that you spend planning for us to arrive. Making schedules, finding host families or flats to rent, arranging meetings with hospitals, orphanages, baby houses, etc. with the proper authorities who might or might not cooperate with your agenda.
This does not include the time spent worrying about every little detail...from how much money we need exchanged (at the best rate possible), do we have enough drinking water, do we have towels/sheets/enough cooking utensils, is there enough food to eat, how is our health, do we need medical attention/medicine/over the counter drugs, are we cool enough, how did we sleep, how do we feel, are we finding everything to our satisfaction, are we having enough entertainment, too much entertainment, too tired, too hot, too windy, too cool, can we find our way home on transportation, is our water working, how about wi-fi, is the cable television working, and so on and so on and so on...
It seems frightfully overwhelming to be "cared for" like this when you are not used to it. I can not even imagine how overwhelming it must be to carry this burden of meeting my every need.
You have an impossible task...it can not be done...there is no way to completely be every thing to every body...but I must say...you DO give it the best effort I have ever witnessed in my life. So now I will tell you thank you...even though it is not nearly enough to explain how much gratitude I feel for you!
Thank you...for planning for my trip for weeks (sometimes months) in advance.
Thank you...for picking me up at the airport.
Thank you...for your sweet smile(s) to be the first thing we see as we pass thru customs and security at DNK airport.
Thank you...for finding us FABULOUS places to stay during our visit (European is highly overrated by the way)
Thank you...for finding us delicious foods to eat new Ukrainian style or American-ish.
Thank you...for going to all the trouble to exchange our money for us, it's a pain!
Thank you...for staying with us ALL the time we are here from morning to night.
Thank you...that your families are SO understanding about you being gone for 18 days straight to take care of other people.
Thank you...for helping us understand your customs and how things work here, it can be strange and frightening to be in a foreign country with language barriers and no friend in sight.
Thank you...introducing us to interesting people and places.
Thank you...for laughing, crying, and sharing your inner most self with us.
Thank you...for sharing taxi's, vans, trams, trolley busses, and by foot with us.
Thank you...for going to the far off orphanage with a BAD headache.
Thank you...for eating "baby parrots" and "missing beans" with us.
Thank you...for trying your best to understand Texas idioms.
Thank you...for "and the matter is" it "is necessary"!
Thank you...for loving me and always asking about my family.
Thank you...for giving me a place to call home that I feel like I AM home!
Thank you...for loving the orphans and widows.
Thank you...for living Jesus!
We love you. We hope there are many more years to come!
till the next adventure begins...