Karina shares with us her teenage dreams and challenges affected by the Russian-Ukrainian war.

Teen Spirit: Karina

"We do not remember days; we remember moments." Meet Karina's teenage dreams, now torn apart due to the Russian-Ukrainian.

By Liubov Lavreniuk

Updated 09:33 pm EDT, September 4, 2023

Published 11:30 am EDT, August 7, 2022

Photo Credits: Renata

Teenage Dreams and Challenges

My name is Karina, and my life and teenage dreams have changed a lot. I had never thought a war would ever happen because everything I had heard about “war” was only on the Internet. So I want to share my story. I was born near Kyiv in Ukraine, but now I live in Sweden and am looking for a better future. 

Now I live here without my parents, and it is tough for me. I used to go to school in my birth town and was planning my bright future, but one morning someone destroyed everything I had wanted, and nobody expected that. My dad has a tough job in Ukraine right now – repairing tanks. I had a lot of plans and dreams for my future, but I don’t know if I can make my dreams come true now.

My greatest dream has always been to become a politician, like a deputy in the Parliament of Ukraine. Since childhood, I started being interested in the history of Ukraine, especially when, in November 2013, students began striking over Ukraine’s accession to the EU on the Square of Independence in Kyiv. My dad also was there every night after massive attacks on students by the police. I was really nervous about the situation even though I was only eight years old. So I think he built up my nature and behavior. Anyway, I believe even after having overcome the difficulties and hard times; I will be the one who can lead the country one day.

Karina shares with us her teenage dreams and challenges affected by the Russian-Ukrainian war.

Photo Credits: Renata

Confidence and Relocation

Also, history is not my only interest. I like motorcycling and want to participate in motorcycle races in the future. I have gained much experience fixing and modernizing motorcycles in my Dad’s garage. And I definitely can ride quite well. My first attempts at riding a motorbike were when I was 14. I never thought that it would be very easy for me. I started because my dad is a biker and wanted me to try it. So I started practicing every day and still haven’t had any accidents.

Now I am 17, and I have two of my own bikes. Whenever I take a ride, I feel confident and free at the same time. It gives me special energy, and you forget about everything. You just have a great time with your ‘iron friend.’ Thanks, dad, for giving me such an experience. I hope he will be proud of me when I eventually take part in a race.

After having been relocated to Sweden, I had a really difficult period. New place, new people, and no one can speak your language. But despite the problems, I found the energy to do things I have never done before. I started playing an electric guitar, learning Swedish and German, and even found a part-time job. The job is physically demanding, but I have no choice. It is my first job ever, and I feel a little bit wiser and more confident about it.

Teenage Dreams: Memories of Moments in the Past

I think many adults don’t realize that teenagers also have hard times now. For example, I haven’t seen my friends and my boyfriend since the 23rd of February; they were a significant part of my life. I don’t have any friends here. It is still hard for me to study. Most adults have serious responsibilities in life, unlike most teenagers. In an ordinary world, teenagers should be having the most fantastic time right now in their lives, but we just can’t do it. We don’t want to live a boring life like adults do at this time. I often hide my feelings because others would hardly understand what I have hidden inside.

My greatest expectation is to end this hell and get home as soon as possible. I have seen enough during my short life and don’t want to see it anymore. Every day is the same, and I feel like I’m getting older too fast. My rule in life now is “We have only one life,” and it helps me sometimes when I feel upset. I don’t overthink everything as I did before. If you want to do something that you have wanted for a really long time or you want to buy an expensive thing, just do it today and don’t postpone it for later. We won’t have another life. You will never know what will happen tomorrow.

What you have now is real life. Appreciate what you have today, or you will have nothing tomorrow.

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