As follow-up, on these planning forms, there is a place for a bit of evaluation of how it went and what to do differently.
Here is what I noticed:
- As far as I can tell, the food was awesome. Menu: Pineapple-glazed ham, mashed potatoes, Korean carrot salad, beet salad (with nuts and prunes). This was a mix of American-Ukrainian that worked. The ham dish is traditional American, and the others were Ukrainian. It was all well-consumed and hugely praised. Thank You, God.
- They didn’t mind the buffet-style. I was a tad interested in this, as my friend who is a missionary in neighboring Georgia said that her guests pretty much refuse to eat buffet-style and re-set-up with the table in the middle, tightly spaced and all. It Must Be That Way, apparently, in Georgia. I forgot to ask Vitaliy, and he said nothing when we started, so I brought it up as a topic of conversation, asking if it was OK. They answered that it’s not their way, nationally, but they don’t mind it.
- The house was a good level of clean, for me. There was mess in the kitchen from cooking, but the current dishes were washed. And things were picked up well throughout the house–that’s a challenge with Una throwing things all over the place. She was asleep when they all arrived, so that gave us time to get the floors hazard-free. I also wiped down the toilet, but I didn’t get to the sink in the bathroom. It had some paint smears still on the sink from last night’s painting escapade. Oh well, I guess.
Saturday was my prep day, and I realized that I would be staying home Sunday morning with Andre and Una as they are both coughing again, so I could relax more on Saturday and not try to get everything done.
Here was my challenge, and I did pretty well. I’m determined that my experiments in housekeeping and hospitality will not torture my family. I want the process, the entire process, to be enjoyable for us all. Yesterday tested that. I awoke with big plans of what I needed to get done, and we were hosting Ladies’ Bible Study that night too.
So, I need to start factoring Vitaliy’s spontaneity into my plans. Around 9am (or later?) on Saturday, he started talking about taking Skyla and Vika ice skating. (School keeps us pretty rigid this year, so weekend spontaneity should be a planned thing, I guess.)
My Saturday plans became a lot of just being with Andre and Una. It was actually pretty fine. I got things set up in the living room. I made a salad. But I wanted to make a desert for Bible study and thought I needed to get to the store for buttermilk (or a substitute). But after a while, I found the same recipe with ingredients I had on hand. There were a few moments when I calmed myself down and reminded myself that I wasn’t going to be unpleasantly demanding things from the family during my learning and life in general, and the hospitable spirit would be going all along and not just when guests walk in, and ice skating is a great thing to do with dad, and he’s leaving for a month soon …
I postponed my shopping until after Bible study. Kind of late, but since I was home Sunday morning, it was fine.
Skyla was appointed to stay home and help me this am. We peeled potatoes and beets, sliced ham, sliced bread, mashed potatoes, made sauces and stirred them, set stuff out on the table, kept Una and Andre entertained.
People came, I was calm, got things out in a good way, we ate. Some who were going to leave quickly stayed a bit longer to try the food. The man who organizes the mission trips is extremely gregarious, so that was fun, and his wife is so nice, too! We photographed ourselves (this is pretty Ukrainian perhaps).
Then we who remained had coffee or tea and peach cobbler and cookies and talked a while about stuff.
Things to improve: Screens. They are so everywhere. They need to be somehow contained. Or handled with a plan.
I’m still thinking about how to help the kids with politeness skills. They are all pretty quiet and non-smiling with first-time enterers. Thinking about how to handle this, some of it might be a matter of time, but we can be talking about it, too.
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