In July 2022, my daughter and I returned to Ukraine.
It was not an easy time. There were sirens and explosions all around. But we had to see our friends and relatives. I sold my car, rented out my house and apartment. we said goodbye to family and friends. I felt my feelings freeze.
It was important for us to come back and see our country again.
It was hard in Turkey to be safe physically and feel the war emotionally.
This trip partly helped us not to feel guilty about leaving Ukraine.
I understood what a defense mechanism is during the war. Many people in Ukraine feel very happy. When you live in real danger, you stop being afraid. There is a simple task to survive. And people enjoy the simple things.
It is impossible to realize all the pain that war brings. To some extent it is easier psychologically to be in Ukraine than abroad.
My american partner Aziz and I came up with the idea to go to the USA in January 2022, a month before the war. It was the beginning of our relationship and I began to explore options.
But it turned out that it was incredibly difficult for me to get a tourist visa and just go and see USA.
When the war started, I began to hope that there would be some kind of refugee program to go with my partner to USA.
But there were no programs.
Therefore, Rada and I obtained tourist residence permits for a year in Turkey.
Ironically, on the day when we received a residence permit in Turkey, on April 26, the USA approved the United for Ukraine program for Ukrainians.
All May we tried to figure out how this program works and what is needed in order to go to the USA.
We thought it would take months to get permission.
But to our surprise, when we filled out all the documents at the end of May, the travel permit came in 4 days.
We had 3 months to prepare for the trip to the USA.
And what do you think?
Upon arrival, I realized that I was completely unprepared.
In Turkey, my daughter had severe depression. And to some extent, here in the US, she is much better.
But for me it was not an easy decision to come here as refugees.
What is now?
My mother came back to Ukraine.
My own sister with her husband and two children left the occupied Crimea and immigrated to Canada, where they have never been. They also left their house, car, dog, and business in Crimea.
My grandmother, father and other relatives remained in Ukraine.
I have a lot of friends who are fighting at the front now. Many of my friends stayed in Ukraine. I am keeping in touch with them.
I almost stopped communicating with Russian people. They don’t understand us. I blocked many Russians on my cell phone in the first days of the war. I hardly communicate with my Russian relatives.
Since February 24, for me and for many Ukrainians, the future has ceased to exist.
We believe in the Victory of Ukraine. Only then is our future possible.
I went through very different stages.
And I’m still in shock.
But the main thing that I realized is that the Peace begins inside of me. I don’t know what exactly I can do for my country and for this planet. For now, I can only pray and live my life.
And I no longer want to close my eyes to the war.