November 2, 2022


The start of the war became the day that changed my life and the lives of many Ukrainians.

The war took away the sense of security and peace. Now I know what an explosion sounds like. When a rocket hits the ground, it feels like the crust of the Earth breaks through to the core. Something unnatural, cruel, crazy. Fear, like fog, heavy in consistency, fills everything from the inside. But now, I value life and safety much more.

The war took away my sense of lightness and carelessness. Now I not only know but can also feel why my great-grandmother always said “May there be no war.” We are not able to control what is happening. But it is also useful to get rid of illusions about control.

The war took away the evenings with my husband, with hugs, talking about the day and life, and the feeling of comfort. Now we are in different countries. But we got reassured of our feelings for each other.

The war took away my favorite bed and my habitual way of life. Morning and afternoon walk in the woods. The ability to choose books for reading from the shelf. The ability to touch the book cover and feel the smell of the pages. However, I have memories of my past life warming me, together with countless e-books:)

[The war took away] cosmetics that I used every day. My favorite jacket that still hangs in the closet. But now I feel the freedom to be myself, even when I am wearing a plain T-shirt and no makeup.

The war took away the desire to dream and the ability to plan for the future. But I finally started to notice life here and now. I learned not to demand much from myself. To be sometimes strong and sometimes weak.

The war took away the opportunity to meet with friends in favorite cafes. Now we communicate only online. But I still appreciate everyone, and I miss them.

The war took away the opportunity to travel on vacation. To return to my favorite cities, like Odesa and Chernihiv. The ability to drive a car with my husband every Saturday and Sunday morning, listen to music, and walk around Kyiv. Have breakfast together, take photos, write stories, and just be happy.

I cannot work in my office now, open paper books with exercises for students, and look at notebooks on the methodology. I can’t hug my husband when I want to. Or pet my cat. I do not have the opportunity to fully choose my actions and my life now. What to do now is dictated by external conditions.

But no one can take away my inner sense of freedom, the ability to choose what to believe in, and love Ukraine and its people. The ability to love the country where I have lived for 12 years and which has become my home. 🇺🇦

P.S. This photo was taken a month ago at the Romanian border. I cried because it is hard to say goodbye to your husband, even if your parents are waiting for you in Germany.

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