The sun rises from this direction.  British Royal Marines have as their emblem a depiction of the continents on this side of the world.  The eastern hemisphere is also where our current home is located.  As of mid-August or so, we’ve been waking up while many of you in the States have been somewhere between dessert and last call.  We are in Kyiv, Ukraine.

Our apartment building stands roughly in the middle of town, an arrow’s-flight in any direction from the location of countless battles, fought over this and other contested lands.  Historical claimants have in past ranged from the ancient Sythians to later the Huns, Antes, Sclaveni and assorted other Slavic tribes.  Kievan Rus, Mongols, and even Soviets have made themselves at home here.  (Forgive me if I’ve left any of you or your ancestors out… there are always far more knowledgeable people than me out there!)  To say that there is some history around these parts is somewhat of an understatement.

My wife, Sandy, and I do not plan to conduct any sieges, or lead Cossacks across the grassy plains to our south and west, not during such a short year here.  What we would like to do instead is to share with you some of our experiences and travels.  This current assignment in Ukraine marks a new period in our lives.  It brings with it the promise of insights that we hope to gain from people to whom we would otherwise not have had exposure.  We are at a new beginning, and we’re glad you are with us.

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