Graham Seibert's Home Page
With Oksana August 2010
Kiev, February 2018
Our daughter Zoriana Melania Seibert was born on September 7, 2017. Melania is the name of Oksana’s 95-year-old grandmother, a Holodomor survivor.
I have been in Kiev since 2007. I have known Oksana since 2009, and we celebrated our seventh anniversary on September 21, 2017. Our son Eddie turned six in October.
My focus has shifted from work to children. Eddie has been in kindergarten for two years; we apply for first grade in March. I read to him in Russian, English and Ukrainian. He loves books on technology, also Kipling, Saint Exupery, Dr. Seuss and A. A. Milne. Lately it is Roald Dahl and Bill Watterson – Calvin and Hobbes.
Spring of 2016 we took Eddie to Poland, his first trip out of the country. Oksana bought Orff musical instruments.
Oksana is a talented hostess. Our house, which would be nothing special back home, is large for Kiev. She brings friends together for painting, dance, cooking poetry and similarly themed evenings / classes. She posts regularly on Facebook – look for Oksana Badovska. We had large dinners on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years and big music parties this summer.
Ukraine may have seen the worst. Putin appears to have settled for a stalemate in Donbass. Being surrounded by yes men is an occupational hazard of an absolute despot, and it looks like he was seriously misled as to any residual love of Russia among Ukrainians. There is none. Since the events of Maidan there has been a buoyant spirit, as the Ukrainian people seem to have at last found themselves. Though our friends almost all speak Russian among themselves, they are emphatically not Russian. Most would like to call themselves European. I am rather on my own in remarking that, no, they are better than that. Ukraine would do well to continue as it is, avoiding Europe as well as Russia to the extent possible. Brexit makes that appear more likely.
We continue to be very active in Toastmasters. I am the outgoing treasurer of the ArtTalkers English club.
We will raise our family here in Ukraine. I give credence to the Cassandras who foresee a major collapse of Western economies and currencies. I hope that if we continue living simply, minding our own business, raising our children as they should be raised, the sturm und drang attendant to the abrupt end of the liberal postwar idyll will pass our little backwater by.
Educating Eddie is a two-level process. At my level I have to assemble a complete concept of how the world works. I read and review a vast number of books and keep links to the most interesting articles I find on the web. The second level is to distill this down to something that can be transferred to the next generation, Eddie, in an intuitive, largely automatic way. One has to leave behind most of the reasoning and simply tell them how to be. It is a matter of moral instruction. Not an easy thing. I update my thoughts on the subject here.
Happiness is a hard thing to write about. One worries about jinxing it, being contradicted, and being asked to contrast it with other states of being. I've written about those contrasts in my biography and book of plans for raising Edward. It is safe to say that, however belatedly, however improbably, I've found what I had been looking for in life.
I regretted eleven years ago that my former wife and grown family had mostly stopped talking to me. There has been no softening – the exclusion appears final. I hope, by whatever roundabout means, to someday learn that the children have found successful careers, marriage, and perhaps children. For now I must be content that the wisdom in my starting over has been so amply confirmed.
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