As if I didn’t care
TDespite the physical distance from my hometown, Monday’s attacks on Kyiv felt as close as February. Only without fear, but with anger. There is no direct communication with my friends in Kyiv, and for practical reasons I can share their war experience less than I used to. Morally speaking, my memories of the war are no longer pronounceable because I am no longer there.
A lot of what is happening to me personally now seems pointless to me – as if nothing bothers me. I didn’t realize how quickly the summer went by. October is my favorite month. You should definitely spend it, at least once in your life, in the colorful Kiev foliage in the upper town with a view of the river, so my cautious, forward-looking adventure tip for everyone. Because I currently rate the military development in Ukraine as very good.
As an enrolled Master’s student in Democracy and Governance at the University of Gießen, I’m waiting for my first introductory week in Germany, which has been reduced to two days. I also applied for my home university in Kyiv and even took part in the so-called “master’s intelligence test” in Berlin, which served as the first step in the application process. But I didn’t make it to the last level with extensive repetition of the entire four-year bachelor’s program and online subject examination.
The hurdle at my university is much higher than in Giessen – and the competition is bigger. The thought of entering the applicant battle again caused me far too much stress. I experience just as much discomfort at the thought of not having tried. It is also bitter for me because the connection to my Kiev university is lost, that is, to my old life, which is much more valuable to me than the now.
Vlad, 20 years old, from Kyiv, now Giessen
I’m thinking about buying iodine
From my apartment I saw the smoke. A friend of mine was at the center when it happened. Shards of glass scratched his face. Recently there have been problems with electricity. From 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. they turned off my light. Overall, we prepared for it.
Compared to my parents in Melitopol, what is happening in Kyiv is nothing. My mother, for example, is still working and is paid in hryvnia, which is the Ukrainian currency. But the Russians determine the exchange rate in the city. While before the war the rate was 1 (hryvnia) to 3 (roubles), the Russians have now set it at 1 to 1, regardless of the actual value of the currency. So the hryvnia has depreciated significantly and the ruble has appreciated significantly. The pay is 1 to 3, but the products are sold at 1 to 1.
Yesterday one of the Russians came to the parents’ and said that those who want Russian citizenship should please report to the commandant’s office. They would then be taken to Russia and all possessions confiscated at the proceeding. My mother doesn’t even know what to do. Her whole life is in danger of disappearing.
I am currently considering buying iodine. Our government has already announced that it will collect supplies. I have stocked up on food, tin cans are available. I hope we won’t need it. But knowing how insane Putin is right now, anything is possible.
Nikita, 25 years old, Kyiv
You face the enemy
On Monday the Russian bombs also hit my hometown Kharkiv. The people were without electricity for most of the day, sometimes even without water. The subway wasn’t running. My local friends are all incredibly tough and don’t let themselves be intimidated. They face the enemy and prepare themselves and their homes for winter. Of course, we all draw hope from the very clear successes of the Ukrainian army, which is strong.
The mock referendums were a fake event. I don’t know anyone in the occupied territories. I think that’s because the people who think and feel like me and don’t want to live under Putin are long gone.
Everything is going well here in Düsseldorf. It’s autumn break now, my younger son is at a holiday camp, which he’s enjoying a lot. He recently turned eleven and I baked him a chocolate covered cake. My older son is studying online for the Ukrainian high school diploma and at the same time has been promoted to a class here at his school where he is learning more and faster. Hopefully he will be able to do his German Abitur as well.
I’m going on with the German course and had an appointment at the job center to which I brought my translated CV and my diploma. The clerk said I could perhaps do further training in the area of my previous job as a real estate agent. But that was just a first conversation.
We feel very comfortable in our apartment, where we have been for a few weeks now. Borscht was served at the opening ceremony.
Elena, 43 years old, from Kharkiv, now Düsseldorf
This week was Margareta not in the Netherlands, but in her hometown of Kyiv and looked after friends there. That’s why she didn’t find the time and strength to talk to us this time.
Margareta, 23, from Kyiv, now Enschede