|Shevchenko Park, March 27th, 6:30 PM|
I love blogging and sharing things with you but it's been hard lately. Not hard to actually sit down and write but, in a way, hard to justify the posts. I tend not to write about politics on here, share my own political opinions, or get into any "who's right and who's insanely evil" discussions. Interview offers that turn up are usually turned down, because everyone wants "the view from the ground" and my answer is lame, something like this:
Went downtown last night and there was nothing to report; a handful of police in normal uniforms, candles and flowers near the Lenin statue, lots of young couples out on dates. No angry mobs, no Molotov cocktails, no war. Came home, waited for the news to load, and wow, suddenly some newspaper in Kyiv or London or New York or Canada is saying that yep, 100% sure war will come (or worse, they hope it comes) tomorrow. Then I feel like a big idiot: did I miss the memo? was there a town hall meeting? maybe a secret handshake that communicated this kind of info? a Facebook update from Yatsenyuk? did Putin ride into town atop a tank?
Obviously a super-boring answer. Those foreign correspondents who show up for a day or two manage to find vastly more exciting things to say. Still, that brings me to the whole point of this blog: to share those little, ordinary things. What the park looked like yesterday. Something funny a student said. A strange new food in the supermarket. An unusual Ukrainian superstition. If I wake up and see an armored convey rolling down the street, you'd better believe that's going to be my opening sentence but so far (thank God) there's nothing like that in Kharkiv.
There are many talented bloggers here in Ukraine who focus on politics on all sides of the spectrum (like this blogger, this blogger, and this blogger, just to name a few). Also, as you've noticed, pretty much every single news agency in the world is churning out Ukraine-related news 24/7. If you want that kind of info, really, it's everywhere... except maybe here.
I don't write these entertaining little posts because I'm unaware of what's going on out there.
I write them because I am aware.
There's so much negativity out there right now.
Not just Ukraine- it's Venezuela, the missing plane, the mudslide in Washington, your problems, my problems, it's a long, long list.
The point is: bad things are all around and I don't want to focus on them here. The world is waiting to see what will happen; I'm waiting with you too.
This tiny internet plot is supposed to be a happier place and the seeming current global scarcity of happiness makes happiness even more valuable. I've always believed that many of you felt the same... that yes, it's bleak right now and yes, maybe more terrible things will happen tomorrow but for a moment, let's take a break and not focus on that. As I share these basic, routine things with you, it helps me be more grateful for them. Maybe it helps you hang onto hope too. A hope, if not for the present, then at least for the future. If you've been reading this blog because you're interested in eastern Ukraine and eastern Ukrainians and not just recently gained a cursory curiosity in the media's much-hyped and bestselling "Crazy-Shit-in-Eastern-Europe-and-Russia-Version-2.014", then maybe it helps you remember what you felt about this place and its people way before this all started, a reminder of what originally captured your interest. Or maybe Ukraine just popped up in your sphere of awareness and you want to read beyond the scary headlines everywhere.
But this is what another part of my brain is always shouting in the background: are cat passports and zoo fundraisers really that important now? Parks? Holidays? Those are so trivial- people have died! dodgy annexations have occurred! Hello, Katherine, what planet are you on?! The rest of the world is calling Ukraine dry kindling! If you're not outraged, you're not paying enough attention!
So... yeah. Blogging these past few months has become a battle between guilt at displaying any shred of normalcy and the desire for honest posts. Shame for not knowing more and a reoccurring urge to avoid the quagmire of finding out more. Sadness at seeing so many other talented bloggers no longer here and a sense of obligation to them to try to fill some of the empty space in the Ukraine blogosphere.
I know that most of the posts on this blog are light-hearted and I intend for them to be that way. It's not in spite of the current situation but rather because of the current situation. So many great guys are already out there with political posts that I'm purposefully choosing to stick with what I know: blogging as a female expat, a student of languages and a teacher of languages, a cat momma, a lover of parks and the Kharkov zoo, a tea drinker, and a city explorer.
As always, thank you for your readership : ) I appreciate you and hope you'll stick around!