Hello from Good Oleí USA!!!

Iím Back!!
The US is now my home again! I arrived home on August 19th, and went into immediate hibernationÖ. Lol thatís why you havenít heard from me;) Actually, I just never got around to writing this email until now. I am happily enjoying my original family again along with seeing friends and food. In case you were going to ask about future plansÖ. Got None.


My summer in Ukraine was very full with studio work. However, I did get to go to London and go camping. The weather was definitely much nicer in the summer. I think in general, the summer is a little cooler than it is here in Lancaster, PA.

London was an awesome vacation! It was cheaper to pick up the new studio gear in London, instead of shipping it to Ukraine. So we went to London. BUMMER!! I saw a lot of the common tourist sites and also saw Oxford. The Tower of London was the coolest tourist trap I went to. I highly recommend it if you are in London.

To Me, London felt like home. Ukraine is completely different than anything I have ever experienced, so being in an English speaking Country, where I could do stuff on my own was simply amazing. I felt like I was in the US. I donít really think I had culture shock when I got to London, It was pretty much what I expected. I expected something like New York, but this was more friendly, and seemed less business minded. It felt more like a tourist city than New York. I expected all the prices to be astronomical compared to Ukraine, and they were.

The biggest joy of mine was being able to speak English to people. The accent was definitely there, but it didnít bother me, and usually did not get in the way of conversation, like I had expected. However, they have different slang than we do such as Take away, instead of Carry Out. Sometimes people seemed very dry and to the point, almost snappy, but most of the time, everyone was very nice. I found a pair of Grado headphones in Oxford for 109 pounds. They are great headphones, but I bought them in the states for 75 dollars. 109 pounds would be $200 USD. I came to realize that the only way to live in London, is if you have a job there, and are making London size wages. If you could live there cheaply, you could work, make a lot of money, and then come back to Ukraine and Live in Luxury, as long as you save a lot while in London.

At the conclusion of the trip, I decided that 10 days was definitely long enough. Yeah it was a lot of fun, but if you donít have a purpose for being there, it is pretty much like any other tourist trap. Each trap has the sights and events that you expect to see. You see them, and then you are done. I am very glad we got to see oxford because it really enriched my trip. I saw the City, and then Oxford gave me a chance to see the country. Bromely, a suberb of London, gave me another view. Very nice place, but if you donít have purpose no where I go will seem like home. If I have purpose then it will most likely.

I figured that I spent about 450 dollars there in the 10 days that I was there. The plane ticket cost 511 dollars. So for 960, I got out luckyÖ lol Yeah for Snickers. (2 snickers a day, keeps hunger awayÖ a whole lot cheaper)? I ate out one meal a day. Iím not sure I would have enjoyed it as much if I had a 1000 plane ticket from the US, and no place to stay. I only spent 100 USD on Lodging, but easily could have spent that each night. Praise God.

I really enjoyed the freedom of traveling and talking to people in London. In Ukraine, I had to use a translator, if I wanted to have a conversation with a Ukrainian. I didnít have a translator very often, so it was hard for me to get to know anyone there, and I couldnít go places on my own. I wanted to learn the language, but never had time. I donít feel bad about that, but it is handicapping. I loved London, because I felt free, and could make my own decisions.

Next in life, was all the work of installing the new equipment. For those interested, Jon bought a Protools HD3 system, a 002 Rack, and a Command 8. I rewired the studio with balanced cabling and set up a second control room for the second system he bought. For the second room, I also built a computer to run the recording system. The rest of my summer involved some more computer system installations and some recording for his daughter Megan. I continued to teach Pasha as well. If you are interested in more recording talk, then email me!

Near the end of the summer, I experienced a Ukrainian wedding. Oh yeah by the wayÖ. It did not have me in it. haha The wedding was at the end of the Sunday morning church service or in the middle of the service depending on how you look at it. This meant that the bride was walking to the front while half the people were walking out. First of all, no one saw the bride walk in because everyone else was blocking the view. Second, the room was noisy. Other than that, the wedding was fairly normal. There was a second sermon that lasted 45 minutes. The wedding reception was very different on the other hand. Everyone sat down in front of lots of food and started eating. After an hour, they were still bringing out more food. After 2 hours, they were bringing out more food. After 3 hours, we left. The rest of the reception continued on. Apparently at about 4 hours in, they had an hour break, and then carried on for another 3 hours after the break. Sounds like fun right? During the entire time, people are talking, performing skits, and singing songs. I did not understand a single word the entire time, so I was quite glad to get out of there.

The weekend before I came back to the states, I went camping with Jonís family, and the family that lives next door. We went out to the middle of nowhere along a river. Everything we needed came with us because all that was provided was the ground, trees, and a river. The camping was a lot of fun. It was a much-needed break for me. I was completely isolated from electronics!! However, just for You, I took pictures. So check em out!!

My return trip to the US was uneventful, despite it being a huge event. I watched 3 and a half movies on my long flight, and had a 6 hour sit over and walk around in Amsterdam. I finally got home around 11 pm EST which was 6 am in Ukraine. It was an amazing feeling to go from the former Soviet Union to the US in one day. You should try it sometime;)

Here is my year in a nutshell! I lived in Vinnitsa, Ukraine helping Jon Mohr with his studio. I did some recording projects for local artists, demos for Jonís songs, taught Pasha, a Ukrainian songwriter, 25 hours a week, and upgraded and reconfigured most of the studioís hardware, computers, and cabling. I also did a lot of personal development in recording through reading and experimentation. I lived with Jon, his family, and whoever else was dropping by for the season. It was a lot of fun to live with a big family, but there were those times that I ran and hid to escape the commotion;). The family welcomed me in very warmly and I have tons of great memories. I consider my experience very valuable to me both in shaping my view of the world and in learning about a culture completely different than my own.

The biggest Lesson I learned is that wherever God wants me, is where I want to be. I missed friends and family a whole lot, but God wanted me there and that made everything worth it! I see the US a whole lot different than when I left. I saw the US as my world before I left. I had no incentive to leave it. Now I see the US as part of the whole world. I definitely did not understand poverty like I do now, and seeing European reporters report Live from in the US was funny too. I could actually watch soccer in English instead of in Spanish like in the US.! Lol. McDonaldís, Chicken Kiev (squirty chicken), and Coca-Cola taste better there, and toilet paper gets the job done. Ukraine has incredible chocolate and tons of candy.

I want to thank all of you for the emails, cards and for all your prayers. It was a very stretching experience for me, and communication from home and prayers were very appreciated!! This email concludes my Ukraine Commentary until we meet face to face. Be sure to check out my pictures if you have not looked in awhile! I have now been home a month. I have seen some friends and relatives, and gone on vacation with my family. Now Iím ready to figure out what is next. My plan is to look for a music-recording job.

Take care,

Darrell Lehman