Lessons From Ukraine

Hello to you if you are reading this.

Every blog entry starts with: Hello, I haven’t written in a long time..

Could I be anymore predictable?

Life gets busy and things get crazy. It’s been about a month since I’ve come back from my Europe trip. We visited Ukraine, Latvia, and France. It was an amazing experience and I am so happy that I went.

Being able to go to Ukraine was amazing because I got to experience first hand the culture that has influenced my entire life. I grew up going to a Ukrainian church, speaking Ukrainian, eating Ukrainian food, being told I should marry an Ukrainian boy, and upholding Ukrainian traditions. Ukraine was such a huge part of my life and identity but I had never visited or stepped foot into the country that had been so important to my being!

I struggled so much my whole life of having pride in being Ukrainian and then having pride in being American and sometimes it was hard for me to understand where I fit in in both sides.

After visiting Ukraine, I learned so much about who I am and why I am. I understand things about my childhood much better and I have a deeper appreciation of where my heritage comes from and how blessed I am to live in the US.

I miss Ukraine every single day since returning home.

I miss the slow pace time. No one is in a rush to get anywhere like they are here in Seattle. Although I didn’t always have internet connection or cell service, I was never bored. I really enjoyed every moment being PRESENT. Getting in a car for a couple of hours on bumpy roads in the middle of nowhere didn’t give me anxiety, I just enjoyed the moment I was in an I was at peace (although on highways and main roads I definitely had anxiety because traffic rules are not enforced and everyone drives how they want to and its very crazy!). I loved the city life which was full of fun things for young people like me. Shopping, yummy food, public break dancing, skits performed, music, lots and lots and lots of pda from couples, and endless activities and beautiful features. The village was full of yummy food, lots of animals, and time to really enjoy nature.

I miss the organic, natural, delicious food and coffee. Coffee there was so bomb. It does not compare here. Any café I went to served coffee in a cute tall clear glass with sprinkles or chocolate design on top. Mochachinos were my favorite. I ate potatoes and cucumbers homegrown every day. I value organic food so much more now. Lots of delicious soups and meats. The ice cream was to die for. We ate it almost every day. I ate dessert after every meal. My cousins would not stop feeding me. I never felt hungry. And yet my digestion never felt better! Because of that, I decided to incorporate the way that I ate in Ukraine now at home so that I feel just as good.

I miss the endless fields of wildflowers. I love flowers so much. I got this love from my mom. I think she got it from being raised in Ukraine where flower fields are not too hard to find. She would always tell me that loving flowers is important. In Ukraine we would pull over on the side of the road and pick flowers many times and bring them to my aunt’s house and my cousins. They were so beautiful, so free. I feel overjoyed just thinking about it.

Most of all, I miss my family. I met them for the first time in Ukraine. I wasn’t sure how I would get along with them. But now I see how we all are so similar. I bonded with cousins and saying good bye was extremely tough. I hope its not a good bye but more of a see you later. I will be back. I miss those late night chats and the gatherings at the dinner table. My eyes are flooded with tears as I think about this. My family is so far away. I wish that we could all be together. Don’t ever take for granted the family members who are near you. Appreciate them and love on them.

Ukraine taught me to enjoy the moment and not to rush always. Ukraine taught me to appreciate my family. It taught me to be thankful for the life my parents gave me by moving to the US because life in Ukraine is tough. Ukraine taught me to eat better for my health and happiness. Ukraine taught me that the person I am today would not be who I am without the motherland’s beautiful influence. And it taught me so much more that I will keep engraved in my heart forever. I can’t wait to take my kids to Ukraine one day too.

I miss you Ukraine.