How do you explain Jane? When you are supposed to check off the box that describes you when filling out paperwork, there isn't a box that she could check. There isn't a one-size-fits-all catagory for her.
She is fiercly loyal, she loves with intensity, and she has a high octane energy that is hard to keep up with at 60+. She let me invade her home and monopolize much of her time for a month without any expectation of financial gain. Many people, for a price, will do what she did. Not many will do it for free.
Her generosity allows me to spend the majority of the funds I have on the tasks I came to do. Woman's and children's ministries. (Because I have funds for my room and board Jane does get some compensation, but it is not what I would have to pay other parties.) I have told her over and over, "It shouldn't cost YOU money for me to come here and stay with you."
Just this morning, I was sleeping on the couch as Jane got ready for work. She has to creep around very quietly so that she doesn't "bother" me. She is in the middle of getting ready for work...think of your routine...think of it being completely disrupted...every morning...for a month! That is just one of the reasons I love her so much.
Let me tell you about the joys of being in Jane's life.
She loves old cartoons in the morning. Why start your day with the unpleasant news channels or the endless "Rich and Famous" type of shows...drivel. It enrages her to think of elderly people eating out of garbage cans here while so many sit enthralled by how many houses, cars, jewels, etc. the "rich and famous" people have. I love her heart. The old cartoons have morals to their stories and songs that she still sings along to. I love her heart...did I say how much I love her heart?
Every evening she asks me what I want for breakfast in the morning. My standard answer is "oatmeal" (porridge)...to which she answers "I think that you would like something different? More interesting maybe?". Of course my answer is that I love oatmeal but whatever she wants to prepare is fine with me. (At this point I must add, she does NOT want me to do it myself, she considers it HER job...period.) I tell you that I have had some interesting things for breakfast...salmon, chicken with porridge, gizzards (yummy), curds, cottage cheese...and of course oatmeal (with cinnamon and fruit). She is delightful and still does not understand that I really do like oatmeal for breakfast...every morning...it's okay!
It is very interesting to go with Jane to the grocery store. Jane dances in the grocery store aisles when a good song comes on the muzak system. I love it. She sings to it when she knows the words. I love it! I know that I am not the only one that does that!
You must know that Jane's kitchen is HER kitchen. I was making Mexican Food for the English Club one Friday night. I got instructions on just how to do it. I looked at her, "how many times have you made Mexican Food?"..."never" she replied..."I just know how things are prepared correctly". I just looked at her..."Okay, okay you must know how yourself...". Jane, I got this one...really...I've done it before...
We have long conversations about the church, life, movies, books...what ever comes to mind. Politics is one subject she is passionate about. We have some minor disagreements about "the good life", whether it was better long ago or today. It is definately a topic we do not discuss with Rita...too many passionate disagreements to waste time on politics when there is so much more to talk about!
- fooh (a sound she makes when she is disgusted or irritated with something)
- "It seems to me..."
- "Take it easy..." (said any time she thinks I am in a hurry or irritated with something)
- "That's living..." (said when describing Ukrainian life when something doesn't work properly here ie. elevators,
- "It's okay..." (said whenever we don't really agree about a subject)
- "Jeckie, don't go barefooted" (said when I take off my socks and don't put on house slippers)
- "I am cold and I think you are cold as well...I will put on the blanket..." (said when trying to convince me to
put the heavy, itchy, WOOL blanket on to cover me at night)
- "the men of re-'nay-is-sants" (better known as the movie "Renaissance Man"
Before she left this morning...we didn't talk much...just watched each other. Finally, when she HAD to leave, she came over to me to say good bye.
"Now Jeckie, I am leaving for school. I am looking for you next year...God Bless you...safe travels...I want you to come again...(she now sees me tearing up)...Don't cry Jeckie...(of course I WON'T cry)...
As she slips on her shoes at the door and grabs her coat as well, she is trying to make light of the fact that she has to go to work and I have to leave for Texas. "I am going where my students are SO glad to see me and to hear the English language...to my great job...to my wonderful students...don't touch anything (said in a very strong Russian teacher voice, meaning my bed linens or the breakfast dishes) I will take care about it later...don't be afraid to be here, Rita will come soon...I love you!"
She is out the door and on her way...leaving me sitting on the couch...not wiping away tears I have not cried.
I cannot express the deep love and friendship I feel for her. She is a joy to be around. I constantly laugh and share "Grandma" stories, look with confusion when I don't understand a word, and stand open mouthed at some of the "old wives tales" she so strongly believes.
Jane, my sister, my friend...I will miss your cartoons and the singing in the morning...till next summer, God willing. I love you.