Diary of a Ukrainian refugee: “We had a virtual date for our 14th wedding anniversary”


Andriy and I have been in Dublin for over five months now. We originally lived with a host family in Templeogue but they are now having to make room for their relatives. I need surgery in September so IPAS [International Protection Accommodation Services] gave us a hotel room in Citywest.

Her husband stays in Ukraine. We’ve never been apart for so long. We celebrated our 14th anniversary in May and it was sad not to be able to spend time together. But my husband went to a coffee shop, ordered our favorite meal, and even took a picture of the vacant chair across the street that was for me.

It is very difficult to be 3,000 km apart. But I remember my grandmother telling me that during WWII she sent letters that took two to three months to arrive. So modern communication helps to reduce this distance.

We also sort family archives and scan photos, letters and documents. My new hobby is making a family tree for my son. My mother passed away a year ago and some notes remain. I even wrote to many of my relatives to collect data. When you see houses on fire, you don’t want to lose your inheritance. I learned that my great-great-grandfather started working as a postman and grew up to be the head of the main post office in Kyiv in the 19th century. It was very interesting and distracts from the news about the war.

So far we have driven not far from Dublin for a distance of 30-40 minutes. But my sister, who has lived in Ireland for over 20 years, promises to show me many interesting places. Also, Ukrainian Action in Ireland (UACT), which I volunteer with, has started a travel project in Ireland for Ukrainians and I want to see new places.

I came to Ireland twice before the war, but I want to go to those places again with Andriy. He was six years old last time and can’t remember anything except a few impressions. So let’s rediscover Ireland! I have also applied for an exchange of my driver’s license. I have to learn to drive on the other side of the road.

I practice English a lot online. Free classes are often held once or twice a week for an hour or two, and that’s not enough, so I’m considering finding something more intensive. I believe that you have to study all your life and that helps you to move forward. Learning new things helps me adjust to new realities – and now I have to start everything from scratch.

Meanwhile we deal with Irish life. Ireland is an expensive country if you don’t know where to shop. Taxis are very expensive and there is a lack of fast and cheap delivery by supermarkets.

But I worked for many years as a retail journalist and also as a communications manager for a supermarket chain in Ukraine. This is how we find cheap supermarkets and we know how to find discounts in other stores.

When planning your shopping, Ireland doesn’t seem like such an expensive country.

In conversation with Katie Byrne Diary of a Ukrainian refugee: “We had a virtual date for our 14th wedding anniversary”

Fry Electronics Team

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