Saturday, April 18, 2015

Kharkiv now

I never forget Ukraine.

It's always quietly in the corner of my vision, something that the eyes can't quite focus on, a word on the tip of the tongue.

D and I talk a lot about what's happening. I can't imagine what it would be like to still be living in Kharkiv. We were lucky to have the option to leave. Many can't. The landscape is changing fast: symbols of the past erased, cars set alight, more bomb threats in the metro. One of the tech companies at which I taught is moving its operations and staff out of the country. The grivna jumps up and down. 37 uah to the dollar not long ago, today at 21 uah to the dollar. "With the current prices in Ukraine, there is no choice but work hard for your supper", writes one friend.

At the same time, people are getting by. They're tired of it all, yes, but still hopeful. They have spring picnics, go to new cafes, change jobs, walk in Gorky Park, work out, start a new English class. This is the stuff you don't hear about in the news.

But still, it seems that Ukraine is headed toward something. Everyone is guessing (especially the entire internet!) but no one yet knows what exactly that will be.

The photos below are old; the quotes are not.

The war is close. It's the main thing people are talking about. You can't get ready for it, you can either try to escape it or accept it, being a part of it. No one wants it and everyone just hopes it won't begin or pass us by. It's safe in here but who knows how long for. - 23 years old, DevOps Engineer

Do not simply believe into what you read or hear, from any of sides - it's war that pulsates since ancient times, and the first victim of war is truth. - 35 years old, IT Consultant

The situation is unstable and there are a lot of provocations, but I'm really optimistic about our future, the future of our country. - 27 years old, Planning Specialist

These are the voices of Ukrainians, the ones who are living through the good and the bad and trying to make the best of whatever reality they wake up to that day. They're some of the strongest and most thoughtful people that I know. Please keep them in your thoughts and hearts.


  1. My life hasn't changed so far. I live the same life I lived the past few years. Is there anything new? Well... nothing much. We earn less money or better to say we earn the same amount of money while the money can buy less. I went to courses for paramedics. Just in case the war would come close to my city. And we watch the news. On facebook, on TV, everywhere. Apart from these... the same sky, the same people, beautiful spring. :)

    1. Timur, hi!! : ) Thank you for your comment! I was thinking about your dacha yesterday- what a beautiful spot. Hope the spring is a quiet, peaceful one and you guys are able to go over there for shashlik!