Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Snapshots of Ukrainian Life (towards the end of that life)


We're leaving.

In July.

I don't know more than that.

Not how, not where, and hardly even why, except that it will happen.

It was crushing to think about at first. Talking about it, admitting it, entertaining any thoughts of the after- ugh. What do you do when you have a dream and that dream ends? Where do you go from that? How do you say goodbye to something you love?

But eventually a strange sensation began to trickle into my heart. Relief? Excitement? Dread? Whatever it is, I lack the words for it. The words of other people, though, can get pretty close to describing this kaleidoscope of feelings...


“It is so hard to leave—until you leave. And then it is the easiest goddamned thing in the world.” 
 ― John Green, Paper Towns  



“There are times when the actual experience of leaving something makes you wish desperately that you could stay, and then there are times when the leaving reminds you a hundred times over why exactly you had to leave in the first place.”
― Shauna Niequist, Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way


“There ain't no way you can hold onto something that wants to go, you understand? You can only love what you got while you got it."
Kate DiCamillo, Because of Winn-Dixie  



“If I stayed here, something inside me would be lost forever—something I couldn't afford to lose."
 ― Haruki Murakami, South of the Border, West of the Sun



“In life, a person will come and go from many homes. We may leave a house, a town, a room, but that does not mean those places leave us. Once entered, we never entirely depart the homes we make for ourselves in the world. They follow us, like shadows, until we come upon them again, waiting for us in the mist.”
― Ari Berk, Death Watch


“And the danger is that in this move toward new horizons and far directions, that I may lose what I have now, and not find anything except loneliness.”
― Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath 


“Everybody has to leave, everybody has to leave their home and come back so they can love it again for all new reasons.”
― Donald Miller, Through Painted Deserts: Light, God, and Beauty on the Open Road 


“And yet, even as she spoke, she knew that she did not wish to come back. not to stay, not to live. She loved the little yellow cottage more than she loved any place on earth. but she was through with it except in her memories. ”
― Maud Hart Lovelace, Heaven to Betsy 




“I give you this to take with you: Nothing remains as it was. If you know this, you can begin again, with pure joy in the uprooting.”
― Judith Minty, Letters to My Daughters


“And I realized that there's a big difference between deciding to leave and knowing where to go.”
― Robyn Schneider, The Beginning of Everything 


 “I'll tell you this. Leaving that which you love breaks your heart open. But you will find a jewel inside, and this precious jewel is the opening of your heart to all that is new and all that is different, and it will be the making of you-if you allow it to be.”
― Jacqueline Winspear, Leaving Everything Most Loved 


“You can't go home again”
― Thomas Wolfe 


“I have learned that if you must leave a place that you have lived in and loved and where all your yesteryears are buried deep, leave it any way except a slow way, leave it the fastest way you can. Never turn back and never believe that an hour you remember is a better hour because it is dead. Passed years seem safe ones, vanquished ones, while the future lives in a cloud, formidable from a distance.”
― Beryl Markham, West with the Night 


 “I leave, and the leaving is so exhilarating I know I can never go back. But then what? Do I just keep leaving places, and leaving them, and leaving them, tramping a perpetual journey?”
― John Green, Paper Towns 


“Well, here at last, dear friends, on the shores of the Sea comes the end of our fellowship in Middle-earth. Go in peace! I will not say: do not weep; for not all tears are an evil.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


Everyone leaves, everything ends, it's surely the oldest story in the book. You've probably been in this particular stage of life before too and I know some of you had to say goodbye to Ukraine as well. Please share with me- how did you start the next chapter? How did you find a new dream?



And if this is all too gloomy, here's something happy.

30 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. It's sad to leave this beautiful country ... Hope to come back in the future! Maybe you'll come with us? : )

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  2. This was a lovely homage to a place you've come to call home. The quotes and photos capture the bittersweet feel of the moment perfectly. I wish you two the best with your next adventure, and hope you enjoy these final weeks as much as possible.

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    1. Thank you very much, Cassandra! Trying to enjoy... making lists of Things To Do and Friends To Visit over the next couple of weeks. By the way, we've been tossing around Spain as a very-attractive-but-highly-unlikely option.... so who knows, tal vez nos vemos?!

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    2. Making those sorts of lists is the way to go to stay focused on the positive.

      And--you must tell me if you guys decide to come to Spain!! We will be in Madrid all July and most of August; don't hesitate to get in touch if that destination is the one you choose.

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  3. You wrote so very beautiful. The quotes you added really touched me. I know what it is like to leave a place you really love.

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    1. Thank you, Anonymous. I hope you've been able to find a new place you love : )

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  4. Wow. All I can say is that from my limited experience, it's worth getting out while you can still hold onto those good feelings. I'm sorry you all are going, though. Any firm ideas about where you're going next?

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  5. All I would ask is that you continue blogging, you have a truly enjoyable style, which so few have achieved :-)

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    1. Thank you kindly, Rupert! I really hope to continue blogging and and continue meeting interesting people (like you!) online : )

      There is another blog I've been working on, something for mid-level students of Russian. It's a mix of Russian and English, still under development at the moment.

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  6. I kind of figured you guys were angling towards going somewhere with the Cat Passport and all. Your perspective form East Ukraine will be missed. I visit this site daily as a part of my regime of daily news outlets. I wish you a safe trip to your next locale. Zak

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    Replies
    1. Oh Zak, wow! Daily? I'm so touched : ) That's a huge compliment!

      I wish you many more happy trips to Kherson!

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  7. Hi
    I just found your blog and wonder if you could answer a question I have...
    Would 9000 hryna allow for a good standard of living in Kiev?
    Thanks

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    1. It depends on what kind of lifestyle you have. I've never lived in Kiev but I'd imagine that with that monthly salary you'd have to scrimp a bit- find a cheap apartment or roommate and not spend much on dining, entertainment, etc. That said, there are plenty of students who could live fine on that amount and it's more money than many Ukrainian friends make in a month... but they, of course, live with their families, don't have to pay rent, and have lots of local connections and discounts. I'd say if you're a foreigner, 9000 uah in Kiev will take some willpower but it can be done.

      You might poke around on expat.ua to find more info (like this: http://www.expatua.com/ukraine/cost-living)

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  8. Hi! This is me, Mikaela, the 16 year old girl from the Philippines who also commented on an old post hehe! :) Why're you leaving Ukraine so soon? :( I hope you reply!! :)

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    1. Hi Mikaela! Of course I remember you : ) but you were only 15 before, so Happy Birthday! Do you still plan to visit Ukraine?

      It feels soon but it's not really... haven't seen my family in several years and everyone is asking and asking us to come back. But I hope to return again to Ukraine someday!

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  9. So sorry you are leaving, I was always hoping to meet up with you in Ukriane, and have always loved looking at your posts and pictures. Why are you leaving?
    Ryan Wagner

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    1. Who knows, Ryan, maybe someday we can meet up here for tea : ) There's still a lot of future that hasn't happened yet.

      It's just time. Family, student loans, friends back home, starting our own family, there's a lot of stuff we put on hold to be here. And the past few months were so black for Ukraine that it's been overwhelming to think about what happens next. For me it's been heartbreaking to watch events unfold but it's even more of an emotional thing for D and he needs some space to reflect. He agreed to come here per my request, so it's only fair that I respect his request now. There will always be a little blue-and-yellow corner of my heart and I'll take it with me wherever I go. Glad you've enjoyed all the posts and pictures!

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  10. Finally you go home and, hopefully, stop posting false facts about Ukraine and its being closely connected with Russia.

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    1. Sorry to hear you feel that way, Anonymous. That's certainly not my intent with this blog. Fortunately, the internet is a big place and there are lots of other blogs for you to read if you don't like this one.

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    2. Katherine, you surely know that these accusations are not true. Your blog is a real picture of the city where I spent first 40 years of my life (yes, I am that old!). You opened for me a window in my past and showed to the word the city I love exactly the way I love it. The place where politics pale compare to the little beautiful things which are composing every day of our lives. The city where much more people come together to support troubled Zoo than any political rally can gather.
      Good luck!

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    3. What beautiful words, Sergey, for a wonderful city! It's always nice to hear from a Kharkiv expat : )

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  11. So glad you still remember me! :) thank you! My birthday happened last april 7 hehe :) I plan on visiting Ukraine maybe a few years from now. Aww i'll still read your blog anyways, wherever you go! :D Good luck on your journey! Hope you find a beautiful place to live in :) thank you so much for replying!!! <3

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  12. Your blog about Kharkiv will be missed greatly but good luck with whatever you'll choose next! Thanks for posting "Happy" video, it was so hopeful and lively and we all need that :)

    P.S. Where is French boulevard? Is it someplace on Sumskaya? I know the downtown pretty well but not the burbs. Also is any way to make a post with top 10 of seeing/eating/doing things (hair salon, sushi place, ice cream parlor and etc) in Kharkiv? I'm sorry for too many requests and questions but I rather do it now before it's too late.

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    1. Hi Olya! Good to hear from you! It's not on Sumskaya, it's in a rather awkward spot- 44B, Akademika Pavlova Street. We used to go over to Barabashova and then take a 5-minute tram ride to get there. When we discovered the free marshrutkas, though, we started going more often : ) They have their own marshrutkas- painted pink & purple, with TVs that play ads for all the mall shops- that shuttle people between Metrobudnikiv, Kievskaya, and Saltovka for free, an awesome business move!

      Top 10 is a good idea, I'll start thinking about that. Unfortunately a good hair salon is something that I can't help with but definitely had my fair share of sushi here ; ) Speaking of which, there's a new post coming soon on restaurants. I hope you'll enjoy it!

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  13. I really, really enjoyed this entry (as I do all of your entries). I was only in Ukraine for around 8 months, so I can't imagine what the end of your (much longer and more meaningful) stay there must mean for you. My friends and family constantly ask what the hell I was thinking going to a place like Ukraine in the first place when there are so many more luxurious and "safer" destinations, but it's always so hard to come up with an answer. There is almost something bewitching about it; a particular combination of banality, misery, and wonder that makes it impossible not to fall in love with Ukraine.

    Oh yeah, and in response to the comment you left ages ago on my blog,-- I guess Mark was talking about me. That's a very flattering thing to say! Yeah, we met up a while before I left Kharkiv and chatted over lunch at Час поїсти. We had planned to meet again, but then the whole invasion and evacuation thing happened...

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    1. Oh wow, thank you for your comment! There is a very definite allure... something that just pulls at the heart and mind. It's going to be weird to not have a daily dose of it.

      Do you plan to blog again? About life or language studies or anything? I love your writing.

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    2. Well, you'll never believe it, but in August, I'm going to... Russia! I have an internship lined up in Moscow. I'll probably use the same blog. If I decide not to, I'll post a link to the new blog on the old one.

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    3. Congrats on your internship! Can't wait to read about it and get your take on life over there : )

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