I am in the UK as I write this blog and today realized what I wanted to write about –  the netlogx theme of gratitude.  So let me share a little of the last few days:

Six days earlier, my sister-in-law met the Ukrainian family of six she is hosting in her home for the next six months. Nick asked what we could do to help them settle in and it seems the girls – aged 8 and 5 – are accordion players but obviously in the chaos of war couldn’t bring their instruments out of the Ukraine. So Nick found The Accordion Shop – who knew – in a neighboring northern town called Rochdale, birthplace of the modern Co-operative Movement

With Nick having emailed and phoned the shop, I then had the pleasure of driving 45 minutes north into the hills to collect two accordions. A smaller one has 12 bass/chord buttons from the late 1960s or early 1970s and a larger one with 72 bass/chord buttons that is only 5 years old. The shop owner, Pete, was wonderful, as so many people are, and was even willing to help out on the price knowing the situation. As you can see boxed up they filled my little car boot! Pete the shop owner had spent some time on the netlogx website and had great questions about what we do at netlogx.

Today, I collected my father-in-law and headed over to my sister-in-law’s house to deliver the accordions for when the girls finished school. I’d been practicing saying “pryvit” and “nasolodzhuvatysya” which went as you’d expect since I still can’t consistently order a glass of water (wader?) in the US after 30 years. I am linguistically challenged for sure!

As you can see from the pictures below the accordions were greatly appreciated and the girls are truly delighted – as were their Mums. The little brother also found joy hiding in the case the larger accordion arrived in. Now my sister-in-law is already a saint for opening her home, but I do worry she may drop Nick and I from her Christmas Card list when the sound of accordions practicing begins. She did beg me not to buy a drum for the 3 year old. 

After such a great afternoon reconnecting with family and making a  small contribution to help a family adjust to new circumstances, I drove back with my father-in-law and as the sun was shining we celebrated the goodness and resilience of people with a fish and chip supper. 

The collective goodwill reminds me again that even in hard circumstances we can always find ways to be positive or grateful. I can’t play any instruments but seeing Nick lose himself playing guitar, I am hopeful the girls will gain some peace playing music to help them adjust to their new life. 

What I am taking from this is that with small positive acts we can make real differences in the lives of those around us – and that is what unifies humanity. I am so grateful for this experience and the timely reminder of what matters.