Sunday, September 19, 2010

Blue made me see red.

I saw something that enraged me today. It wasn't something that couldn't be fixed so I didn't understand at first why it upset me so much.

Do you remember this?

A beautiful boy on a beautiful new playset!

Now imagine this beautiful new playset covered (COVERED) in figures drawn in bright blue sidewalk chalk!

So after I flipped out for a minute I handed over a bucket of water and some rags to a certain child of mine. The clean up was easy and Ralph's wish looks as good as new. Then I started to wonder why I was so upset.

Then it hit me.

When dad and I first arrived in our new boys' city in Ukraine we noticed some excavation going on at our bus stop. Everything there is done by hand so excavation means men with shovels and buckets. Every day at the bus stop we would see what progress had been made. Soon the excavation was done and then the concrete footings were installed. Concrete mixed by hand and placed using wheelbarrows.

As the days and weeks went by and my husband left for home I watched a beautiful red brick wall go up. The bricklayers worked with great care and before long the project was completed. It was a new covered bus stop! Now I didn't have to stand in the hot sun while waiting for the #54 bus to come along!

No joke. The very morning after this pretty new bus stop was finished this is what I found when I arrived at the bus stop:

(You can still see the dust from the bricklayers on the bench.)

How about that graffiti?
Ukraine is a beautiful country with fantastic people. This kind of thing just breaks my heart. Why? Why do beautiful things go to crap there? Graffiti is everywhere. There is an ugliness about the structures. I just don't understand it. I can't even put it into words.
I just know that is not the way I want to live. It is not the way I want my children to live. That is why I got so upset about the blue chalk. It took me back to an uglier place in my life. That's not what I want to remember about Ukraine.