It was a year of decisive choices, and it started on February 24, 2022. I thought about all those going through tough times in the occupation or on the front lines and why life can be so frightening, and I stopped feeling sorry for myself. I come from a long line of strong women dating back to my great-grandmothers during the Second World War. One of them raised four children by herself, while the other was left with a baby to care for when her husband passed away. This strength was passed down to my grandmother and mother, and now it’s my turn to draw on that feminine power. So, sitting on the main street of Split, I remembered all the important events that brought me to this point and made me stronger and infinitely grateful.
Adaptation has been a theme in my life as I’ve lived in different cities. This latest move was the sixth in my life. That’s why I thought to myself that moving is a good skill that forms a high level of adaptability because every time you have to arrange your life, look for a job, and find friends, over time, it becomes a little easier.
I am the owner of a Photo & Beauty Studio Loft project in Ukraine, where I am a master of hairdressing and coloring. But the war changed my plans, forcing me to start over in a new city and work with women who were also fleeing the war. Through our conversations and shared experiences, I found inspiration in their resilience. I even learned how to run my business remotely with the help of my team despite the difficulties of martial law, air raids, and power outages.
During my stay, I only encountered kind and open individuals willing to assist and communicate with me. I was fortunate enough to make new friends by reaching out to people who piqued my interest by offering to meet for coffee. Both local Croats and foreigners became my friends, providing me with a unique opportunity to communicate, learn new languages, and immerse myself in different cultures.
I, like many women, initially spent most of my days in a warm athletic outfit, which was the clothing we wore on the first day of the war and continued to wear for an extended period of time. Over time, I no longer wanted to wear black, I started looking for something different, and I experimented with different color transformations in clothing and accessories.
Living in another country turned out to be healing for me. Everything was unfamiliar, the people, habits, and pace of life. Taking time to relax, enjoy a cup of coffee, admire the beautiful views, and chat with new people gave me strength. Nothing can replace my Ukraine. But everyone has their trials, and there is no easier or harder path, just our own, given to us for a reason.