This morning I was looking at my twitter feed and noticed that my tag states: “Enjoying life in Donetsk.” It caused me to think if that statement, which I have no idea when I wrote it, was still true today.
I must say emphatically “YES!”
First off, let me say that I have enjoyed every city in Europe that I have lived in. I love the beauty and history of Kiev. I lived there 3 1/2 years (minus 6 months in Kstan) and still have great friends in the city. I enjoy myself each time I am in the city.
However, I grew to dislike having to get around the city in a car. There are times when it is better to very early or very late to get somewhere. This was amplified to me recently when a few guys from Donetsk and I drove to Kiev for some meetings. We had to get from one side of Kiev, through the heart of the city (as that is the only way to do it!), completely through the city to a suburb at 7:30 a.m. I knew we were going to spend some time in the car, but I didn’t realize it would take almost 2 hours! Love the city, hate the traffic!
Next I moved to Karaganda, Kazakhstan. The first time I arrived in the city as at 10 p.m. in late January. The temps were around -20 Cel (-4 F) and the wind was howling. Not a great first impression. But I grew to love the sleepy mid sized town and watched it transform itself over a couple of years.
Tbilisi, Georgia was next. I spent less than a year there. Georgia needs to work on its tourism, because it is one beautiful country! From the Black Sea beaches in the west, the main highway travels through the mountains to Tbilisi. What a spectacular site! The food and hospitality are terrific!
To present day Donetsk, where I have been for almost 18 months. What can I say! I love living in the center of the city. The beauty of walking on Pushkina Boulevard, the Park Sherbakova, listening to the symphony orchestra or jazz at the Philharmonia, to enjoying football games at Donbass Arena. I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know this city, and I still have so much to learn.
Usually, they say that a person has a “honeymoon” period of 1 year before life becomes routine and there is less sparkle. However, I continue to really enjoy this city. I am so thankful to God for sending me here and for leadership that saw a need to have someone here. Do I have frustrations? Of course, but I still have so much faith and hope in what is happening here. May the “honeymoon” last forever!