I don’t know where I begin with this Revolution in Ukraine. Today my friends who I came here with have left to go back to Lviv and I am here alone now. I stayed outside for 12 hours today, volunteering to make food and helping out. I don’t know, maybe people can look at what I am doing as stupid. It’s not my battle to fight but I somehow feel so drawn to this. For the better of Ukraine and where my family is from. People here are willing to die for this cause. They don’t want to live with no reason in life and have corrupt and criminal presidents ruling over their country. For Ukrainians to be having such peaceful protests and then have these police come in, at 4am when people are half asleep and literally beat them, chase after people and drag them to jail. For students to run and hide in a church for safety. What in the world is this coming to?
As I stood in front of the church alone today, listening to everyone singing and politicians talking, I felt so emotional, almost feeling like I can see what my family has been through, in some small extent. Imagining what my grandmother would have been thinking when she was my age, going through even harder times. Being forced out of the country she loves but for a better life for her and her future family, move to Germany and to America. I mean we’re not just talking about great great great grandparents. These are people I hold so close to my heart and to see this suffering first hand from people living here. Seeing people now crying because they just want a better life. It’s not just reading history in a book and having a hard time picturing it. It’s all happening right in front of my face. So maybe it is stupid to get involved but I just can’t help it. I almost feel like I belong here. Today I spoke to so many people while I was helping out. Everyone was making me chai and putting blankets around me, giving me an extra coat, and trying so hard to speak with me in English. They really make me feel so loved. I didn’t even want to leave… If the berkut came in tonight and anything happened to them, I would be absolutely heart broken….
We arrived early this morning- me waking up at 6am to the guy working on the train shaking me to say Kyiv was coming up, although we didn’t arrive until 7.15. I think he just makes kava and chai for everyone so he wants to make some money. It was a cool train, basically like a huge hostel with bunk beds down the carriage with no doors separating anything. There were a group of Ukrainians next to us on the train talking most of the night so I actually had a dream in Ukrainian, and I was speaking too. It was so strange! When we arrived to the centre, we went for a coffee at a cafe while waiting til we could go to the hostel. And even when we did get to the hostel we just sort of relaxed a while and had some lunch before heading out.
At first we were unsure about the crowds. We were outside from early in the afternoon and we were laughing and joking saying that maybe we should go back to Lviv, it’s more eventful there! We took breaks and went for coffee or beer and back outside, but the later it got, the colder it was getting too. I think it was 6pm when about 3,000 students came marching down the road to meet us. Then it was very interesting, singing songs and dancing around. They were passing out chocolates and apparently also coffee and stuff was being handed out but we didn’t see this. Big barrels, like what homeless people stand around with a fire going, these were set up everywhere. Which was an absolute saviour because I think I would have died of frostbite otherwise. It was lightly snowing and windy but if you were in the crowd, it wasn’t too bad)) Lots of cars were driving by and honking, waving flags. I think that most of the people actually here for this are people from Lviv. Really so many flags with Lviv written on them or face paint. It’s such a cool feeling and I really love Lviv and sort of miss it… I know I am only here to visit but I really picked the best place to live for now!)))) I am pretty disappointed with Kyiv in general with people’s attitudes towards this revolution. A lot of people have explained tht they are not bothered. I know I can’t judge everyone here though. I’m sure people do care…
It was getting pretty late so our group split up and I went to some secret bar that was near to our hostel. You have to enter down an alley and through the back of the building. Was pretty good day for Day1. Tomorrow will be much more eventful I think and I will try to get some sleep now so we can be out and about all day)))) wahoooooo!!!!
So it’s all been last minute planning. I noticed people were posting about going to Kyiv for the revolution but no one really planning anything and I realllly wanted to go. Messaged around to some friends and now, train tickets booked and Сьободні я їду з Київа!!! Я не можу чекати!! I am feeling really proud to have Ukrainian blood in me lately. I can’t wait to be amongst all of these people soon. We will also be going by 3rd class on the train there which will be an interesting experience I think! Haha my first journey on a train in Ukraine. My first visit to our fatherland’s capital- Kyiv. I will be packing my backpack later after I finish work. Taking it down from the closet and brushing off the dust. I feel like I’m off travelling again!! But it’s just a week- or even less than a week haha I can’t control my excitement!
Here are a couple pictures from my run the other night, not much snow but the weather is certainly changing. Everyone is now warning me what the weather will be like this winter. It definitely will be.. a fun winter… haha
Saturday Night: meeting up with the other Americans living here and having an early Thanksgiving meal/party together was so good. At first my brain just about exploded with an overload of American accents. Except for my odd trips to America, this was the only time outside of the US where I have been around this many..! But it’s interesting that some people here also have the same story as my family. I’m happy to have met them all! Of course a few Ukrainians joined us in our festivities))) And this was also my first Thanksgiving I’ve had for probably 8 years!!
This weekend was remembrance of Holodomor and is also the beginning of a Revolution, against Ukrainian Gov as they feel they are delaying the process of Ukraine joining the EU. Naturally, we joined in on this as well:
Andddd today has been my first official Ukrainian snow day! Although it has not settled :((((( but it has been snowing all day today! I think it’s now stopped, or slowed down so I might take a quick break from work and go for a sneaky run)) after the amount of food I’ve eaten this weekend- it’s just sickening!!! Haha
Waking up and sitting on our balcony of a new strange place that I feel comfortable to call home, watching in fascination of the people and cars going by. Is this really my life?? Everyday is like a dream and I feel like I need to pinch myself to wake up.
I’ve been feeling really good lately. Positive mood about living here! I’m not going to let things break me. I’m a strong confident woman 😉
I have completed my Quality Assurance assignment I was working on for an IT company here. Work from home is still OK but I’m getting used to it now. Maybe I shouldn’t, but can’t help it- bringing my laptop out and sitting in a cafe or making plans in my breaks. It’s making me a lot more sane! And I just loooooove my students at the language school. They really do make my week so amazing. I decided to continue running everyday, and train for a half marathon or maybe full marathon! It gives me a lot of motivation to strive for something and push myself even more 😀
Last night I met up with my friend Vova to watch the footie with his friends. Ukraine v France, and although the outcome wasn’t good for us, it was a really cool experience listening to everyone – with people pounding on the tables, screaming at the TV or cheers. Listening to people speaking in Ukrainian. It’s all just so flippin cool!
Every time I go out, I try to take as many photos of new things as possible…. /cue the adding of photos!
Oooh loving life!
Today marks my 2 months living in Ukraine. If I knew 8 months ago that I would be backpacking and living in another foreign country, I wouldn’t have believed it. I still remember, like it was yesterday, leaving my house in London with only my backpack and looking back on my empty room – wondering if I was doing the right thing. It is so unreal but a very grounding experience, pushing myself to be a better person and learning new things about myself everyday, and to see where my family has come from. Appreciating the little things, like running water and power working, being able to order food in a shop, finding jobs and an apartment to live in, and learning that there is no point in complaining about the usual things you do at home – I am living a totally unspoilt life. It’s these days where I really look back on what I’ve done, and I am really proud of myself for pushing myself out of my comfort zone again and starting from the beginning. Words can’t even describe. I’m so lucky to have met so many great people that continue to encourage me to continue this journey.
I was reading an article earlier (I put below my rant), and I do feel like this may be something only other travelers will understand because they have lived through the fear I have. Some people don’t realise what you have given up in your ‘old life’ to go to a new place and they may not appreciate the hard work and emotions that are put into moving to a foreign country.
I think when I moved to London, the feeling of being alone and scared is nothing compared to how I felt here. At times I have felt useless- as well as alone. I don’t speak the language and at first I really thought I would have to rely on lots of people but in reality so many people speak English here and so many people want to get to know me and learn about my story. I feel so welcomed already. Even now after only a couple months I do feel like this girl in London was the distant past and I am a totally different person. Is this even possible in just 4 months?
Part of me is really wanting to go back to this life I had before because it’s easy, but another part of me is screaming – you left there for a reason – you want to grow as a person, this is what it takes! You may have these days where you feel like crying and giving up, but I have come this far now. I am doing the things I have always wanted to do but just too scared to do them. There are days where you don’t feel like doing something, you don’t want to socialise, you don’t want to go somewhere – travelling you have no option. You must push yourself to do everything otherwise you will live in another country with nothing. I don’t have anything in London to go back to, and my life in America was nearly 8 years ago, where my friends are now married with kids blah blah. So the only option for me now is just to continue going forward.. And when I get older, I want to look back on my life and know that I have no regrets.