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  • Українці розповідають про пережите під час війни з росією

    Ukrainians talk about their experiences during the war with russia

    The Kopiiko Family

    “I walked the path of inner storms and went through the “dirty” work period.” A story of a journalist from Cherkasy who fled to Poland

    Ukrainians abroad

    АвторAuthor: Yulia Zarudnitska | Translation: Nina Tararuyeva

    13 September 2022

    Before the full-scale invasion, Alina Kopiiko was an artistic person and led active life to its fullest. Then she moved to Poland and literally was searching for herself. She told us about the move, her military father, life abroad, and evacuation experience — specially for Monologues of the War.   

    We can say that I am a former journalist. Because I worked at a local Cherkasy channel Antenna before the combat in Ukraine started. Well, I had more tasks on my list than there are hours in a day to fulfill them — I was young and ambitious. In the last two years, I combined so many jobs that now I have sufficient experience in photo and video editing, and content creation as a whole, screenwriting and directing different projects. Jumping ahead, all of this helped me not to lose myself abroad nowadays.

    I had many things scheduled for the 24th of February too, warmed up with a plan to quit my job and move forward. I have read plenty of stories about phone calls people received on that Thursday morning. My story is not as sentimental because no one called me. My partner woke me up with the words, “Alina, it has started”.

    What happened next — the news feed, quickly getting to work, and certainty that I am staying. Thanks to my journalist work, I had more information than an average citizen. The day before I prepared a material about the air raid alarm announcements, protective structures, instructions on how to act in certain situations during the war — I was armed with information. Therefore, I shared it actively with my subscribers on social media, communicated with local bloggers. Honestly, I was scared. It was easier at work, but on my way home and at night I was gripped with fear. I forgot what sleep is because I could do nothing but waiting for the news and listening to every sound. 

    It was important to me to tell my dad that I supported his deed 

    On that day, my dad voluntarily brought his documents to the military recruitment office. Was it a surprise for me? — no. The day before, we talked, as everyone else, about what could happen and what we had to do. Pa (that is how our heroine calls her father — editor) said that protecting Ukraine means protecting us, and it was his duty.

    I still have connection with him only once a few days. That is how we live up until now, from one message to another. I believe in him and that we will share many family dinners in the future. 

    The father in military

    This is my Pa

    I called him last Thursday to tell that I understand him, accept his deed and will help him however I can, wherever I am. It was important to me to let him know that I am not angry, and I understand him. It was the adult Alina’s words, while his daughter could barely hold her tears. “I will be more calm there, if you and mom are not here,” that was his wish. 

    Experience of evacuation

    I resisted the thought that I could leave my life in Cherkasy because I realized that it was very likely that I would never come back to it. Through a newly created public on Telegram, I found a contact of a driver who took my mother and me from Cherkasy to the Polish border in a mini-bus. On the 28th of February, my mother and I left: I felt fear, sadness, and a bit of joy. The fear from seeing exploded warehouses and marks from missiles on the fields along the way, as well as unawareness of what was going to happen after we would reach the border.

    It was sad to leave people and places we love. It felt joyful that we were going to see the new life that extended our family last June. We were going to stay with my sister, who has been living in Poland for the last four years and gave birth to a baby girl there.

    The geographical center of Ukraine

    On our way to the border, we visited the geographical center of Ukraine

    The way to the border took us 13 hours, as for the time and traffic intensity, it was very fast. The driver told us that the group he took to the border before us traveled the same route for 24 hours. The car was stopped at every check point, but never for too long. We stopped a few times at petrol stations with empty shelves and no coffee or tea.

    I keep wondering at how lucky we were — the drive was fast and safe, the border crossing took us about an hour. Every Ukrainian I met here, in Poland, told me that they had to wait for several hours or even a day.

    Now I am in Poland doing what I love

    For almost half a year, I have been staying in Poland, I learned the language, and now I am doing what I love — creating content, cooperating with business owners to promote their businesses on social media. However, to have such possibility, I walked the path of inner storms concerning who I am and what I could do here, I went through a period of “dirty” work. Still, I cannot make myself to work somewhere where I feel out of place. So, despite the difficulties I had to overcome here, I found what lights me up from within and reminds me of how much I love my life.

    Read also: “It turned out we are the only ones in Ukraine making tactical makeup.” How a makeup artist from Odesa helps the army

    I live in a house for lonely mothers that has its rules and demands. From the very first days we were offered different kinds of help: from financial incentives to clothes and hygiene products. In general, we live as equals with other inhabitants and do not have any kind of privileges. I think, this is right.

    Even though Poland helps the citizens of Ukraine on the governmental level, I have noticed negative attitude towards Ukrainians among the ordinary people. I even heard some statements at work that a Pole has a right to hit his colleague only because she is a Ukrainian. Based on my experience, I would say that the ordinary people do not like Ukrainians all that much.   

    The Kindness Day 

    I photographed the sunset on the Kindness Day

    I am planning to go back to Ukraine soon. I have found and rented apartment in Cherkasy already, and now I am waiting for the way home with awe. I believe in my dad, the Armed Forces of Ukraine, and the victory!

    Чому важливо поширити цю історію?
    Якщо українці не розповідатимуть свій погляд на війну в Україні, світ поступово забуватиме про нас. Натомість цим обов’язково скористаються росіяни. Тому не даймо їм жодного шансу.

    Why is it important to share this story?
    If Ukrainians do not share their views on the war in Ukraine, the world will gradually forget about us. Instead, the Russians will definitely take advantage of this. So let's not give them a chance.

    АвторAuthor: Yulia Zarudnitska | Translation: Nina Tararuyeva

    Ukrainians abroad

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