The Tale of the Shoes

Walking in the rain and talking about social change, eternity, right or wrong reasons for immigration... Relaxing Saturday.
Walking in the rain and talking about social change, eternity, right and wrong reasons for immigration… Relaxation on a Saturday.

On the first of September it turned Oregon November in Ukraine. And so it was that we went forth and searched for shoes.

Besides shoes for various and sundry bridal party needs, annual flip-flops, and bi-annual Crocs, these are my first shoes since before my first voyage (flight, truthfully) to Europe.

These are also my first boots of all time. My sister, may she rest in peace (actually, she’s not dead, but she is 6000 miles away which is BASICALLY THE SAME THING), once gave me an illustrious duo of black beauties, but they frightened me with their “cunning, little heels” and chic wiles and I never wore them beyond my room. Also, they were too small for my fat feet).

Why? Well, once I went to Europe I kept going back to Europe and so I became increasingly poor. And because, when I shop, I never find the right shoes.
(This may or may not be connected with the incident when the here-unnamed-friend dropped a rock on my foot and the x-rays and boots thereafter did not properly diagnose and correct the issue. Doctors waited several years to decide the foot in question had been, indeed, broken and healed incorrectly and now this individual careens about with multi-sized feet.)

Besides boots…

Hours of fun-filled-entertainment with stray puppies at bus stops.
Hours of fun-filled-entertainment + fleas with stray puppies at bus stops.

We have two or so hours of English Club four nights a week. The people are patient. Sometimes we end in awkward silence because I bombed the lesson. Sometimes we end by loudly staggering out the door, drunk on the milk of human kindness. This may also be because I bombed the lesson. All in all, my English is leaving me and continues to be elusive the moment someone asks a question about past-continuous rot or some-such.
But…we beat on against the current.

At first, I was indifferent about Kyiv. Now it is full of feelz and the best fall wind in my head.
At first, I was indifferent about Kyiv. Now it is full of feelz and the best fall wind in my head.

Tuesday from 11pm-Friday to 4:30am, I was either on train track or metro or in Kyiv. Our presbytery was having presbytery and so many wise men gathered in a white room and talked of their churches and roared Psalms and passed motions and things of this nature. I took notes. Tried, that is. And heard a lot of English and felt like I wasn’t in Ukraine anymore with the western catering hotel and all. I got a little panicky (but not as panicky as I did when we took an escalator down, down, down into the belly of the earth and launched ourselves into the subway cars, body surfing/punching people in the eye due to the crowd and lack of air).

It was very good to see various people from all over. Unfortunately, key Oregon + Alaskan persons had not completed their tests on the dehydration gun and were unable to attend via my Oregon pastor’s luggage. I did, however, receive a wealth of notes, desperately needed grammar and energy building/English reminding literature, and meds.

Tank sitting. One of my favorite locations to ponder in Kyiv. xP
Tank sitting. One of my favorite positions from which to think in Kyiv. xP

When I think about my existence, which thankfully is not happening too much right now because of a full to-do list and THIS:

Destroying me emotionally and physically. Thanks, mom.
Destroying my life, emotionally and physically. Thanks, mom.

I always get frustrated with my interests and lack of multi-tasking abilities. I want to write all the things. But I have a tremendously hard time writing both journalism and fiction projects at the same time and I have an even harder time writing while teaching. This has caused friction in multiple seasons of my life. My creativity and energy, I think, are easily drained. xP And since neither teaching nor writing are highly lucrative (at least at my skill level), I still need to be doing some other job. But to get over that great hill of writing, I think it takes full concentration and bravery and, if you are working somewhere else, that is…tricky.

Working on my Ukrainian/preparing for our weekly Bible study/creating my own very messy parallel Bible.

I would like to go this language program and continue to do something like English club both here and in Oregon, wherever I am supposed to be when. xP But I also know that I could probably learn the same things by rigid self-study and save the money/multi-task doing my other duties/actually do it.

I would also like to write. About everything, but especially about Ukraine and Ukrainian people. Also, the novel that I have 12 versions of, all of which inspire disappointed nausea.

I would also like to interview and write about people from all over the world and their view of America, immigration, and freedom at large. You know.

I would also like to work in a coffee shop to gather all the knowledge and experience I can so someday, maybe, in my dreams I can start a coffee shop. A coffee shop where I can make people eat and create a peaceful corner and have people come and talk about weird things like bee keeping or the synoptic problem and cultivate and share the virus of learning and be refreshed.

I would also like to sleep on my sister’s steps about now and to get together and drink red wine and hot apple cider with all my family and talk about helicopters with my nephew and meet at a coffee shop with my revolutionary brother-in-arms (aka, Miss Lauren) and generally sit in my Oregon church’s ugly orange pews.

I would also like to never have to say goodbye to anyhow here. To be useful. In Ukraine.

…But never be parted from anyone I love on any continent. To never have to think about money or health. To be able to read and write all night and never be sleepy. And to have the entire amazing Bible memorized for instant recall. To see clearly all the things. And to eat kale salad from a mysterious never emptying tin can.
I think my wants are moderate… xP

But all in all, I feel perfectly content, endlessly happy, eternally thankful to be where I am, doing what I am.
And I am sure I will get to talk about helicopters and drink hot apple cider in 37 days. ❤ But, I think, I will leave my boots here.

Who knows what life is about besides JESUS and HIS PEOPLE everywhere… And working until the fingernails are black and the sweat rolls off and you have good pages in your fingers and messed-up, beautiful people around you drinking tea and you feel the deep throb of the heart when it is maxed out and full and every bone in you cries, “this life, with all it’s tragic beauty, YES.” because “JESUS.”

I hope you experienced this feeling, because I think maybe it is as home as it gets.


For now.


4 thoughts on “The Tale of the Shoes

  1. So fun to read what you have been doing and thinking. We miss you but we are happy you get to have time with people you love over there.

    I love your list of wants 🙂


  2. Thank you for the glimpse into your life, Bethany. It is true, the nearest place to heaven on earth is in the middle of God’s will. Looks like you are there. I am happy for you.


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