Hi Everyone,
As most of you know, I have made it to Vinnitsa without missing a flight, failing a drug test or getting arrested, despite my inability to speak Russian or Ukrainian. God definately was with me throughout that long long day. Thank you for all your prayers. For those who don't know I will be posting pictures, emails, and maybe other stuff throughout my stay here on my website. http://www.darrelllehman.com/ukraine/

I flew into KBP airport in Kiev where i was picked up by some neighbors of the family I am staying with. From there, we had a 5 hour drive over some good and many very bad roads to Vinnitsa. The weather has been very pleasant here so far. mostly shorts and t-shirt weather.

During the five hour drive i leared that a 2 lane road can be 5 lanes wide if necessary, and that you better stop for the little men that wave sticks at you. I believe it would be safe to say that the number of lanes and the direction of travel for those lanes is somewhat of a suggestion many places and less of a rule. a safe pass is considered one where the other lane only had to slow down a little to not hit you. CRAZY.

Life is very laid back here in Ukraine. Meal times are a little later than in the US, and sleeping in is considered 11am here. getting up really early would be about 7 am. you might eat breakfast around 11 and grab something for lunch around 2 or 3 and then eat dinner about 7. I end up trying to figure out whether i'm eating lunch or dinner some days. This past saturday, kinda came up by suprise. I didn't even know what day of the week it was. The odd thing is ... I always feel like I'm busy anyways between hanging out with the family and doing studio things.

The family I am living with is very nice. Jon and Luanne have six kids. They also have 4 other people that live here not including me. They moved to Ukraine over 7 years ago from the US, and they plan to live here indefinately. I have spent a lot of time getting to know them, and going with them to places around the city. This past weekend, I went with them to Uman, a town about 3 hours away that had a huge park. It was obviously very popular, because all of the parking lots were full. We finally had to pay someone to insure that our van was safe. Which brings up another interesting point. The stickmen expect you to pay them with a few grievna instead of writing you a ticket. rumor has it the funds go to pay for the annual policemen's ball. It sounds like it is very interesting to live in a country where it is expected that you pay an officer off instead of him writing you a ticket.

Shopping is also completely different. Forget chains like walmart and sears. McDonald's is the only chain that i know of here. Radioshack consists of a corner of a large outdoor market with many vendors selling whatever old electronic parts they had found. large piles of old circuitry. they do sell some new stuff like soldering irons. I have likened my search for a soldering iron to gambling. you know it isn't going to work when you buy it, but you need it so you buy it anyway. we bought 2 and neither of them worked. i finally found a 100 W soldering iron that would actually melt solder lol ( 25 watt would have sufficed in the US). Food stands were also very interesting. I'll just leave that one alone. at the market we walked into the meat building and they pretty much had any animal part hanging up that you wanted. I even saw a few complete pig heads for sale. yep they were smiling.
The people that sell stuff at the market are out year around in all weather. for them i think if they make about 50 or 60 grievna a day, they are happy. about 530 grievna equals 100 US dollars.

Now for the reason i'm here. The Studio! Jon is a song writer, and much of his equipement is bought with writing in mind. he has 4 Protools setups. 1 TDM system, a 001 system, and 2 Mbox setups. The TDM system is used for recording, while the the other 3 setups are used as writing stations for Jon and his family. He has a ton of sythns, both hardware and software, that we have split up between the setups. There is a Ukrainian working here now on a project. He will eventually take on more responsibilities at the studio. I have been teaching him as much as I can taking into account the language barrier. I am the first engineer, that has come to the studio with the intent of recording for a year. So I have been doing some modifications to make the main studio into more of a recording studio, and less of a writing station. I don't know yet exactly how busy the studio will be, but with all the modifications, I am excited for the bands to start rolling in!

That is probably enough information. Thanks so much for your prayers as I live on the other side of the globe.... i'm still not sure I believe that i'm here.... lol.