February 24 in the eyes of Ukrainian abroad

Today is 24th of February, I am writing these words at 8 o'clock. Last year at this exact time I was on a train, somewhere in between Kyiv and Korosten, when the train attendant announced that due to martial state announcement, they are going to slow down the train to 60 km/h (from usual 120 of that train).

I still have no idea how I did not go mad that day, because the world was literally crumbling. When I was abroad that day... it felt like there is nothing left behind. 3 days, they said, until russians get to Polish border, but it did not happen. This did not happen, and I am absolutely amazed by honour and pride of Ukrainian Armed Forces. Instead, things are moving into the direction of freedom.

The last year was very sudden and did not feel like real. I moved abroad, had to start adapting in new circumstances. All the time I should have had a feeling it felt OK (I had electricity, I did not have air sirens, curfew, shelling, anything). It did not. Navigating through complex laws, that are changing every other week, to the state, when different lawyers say different things based on different pieces on information. Learning a language, which is close enough to what I know, but gosh sometimes I envy every native speaker: it is so hard to speak the language that is related to your level of intelligence! The culture, the difference in viewpoints, differences in things we call "normal". But the hardest thing is: that you feel that it's going to be over soon... but it is not. And every other day despair comes, feeling, that it might the end: it is the way it is going to be for a while, and I won't be able to safely return home ever.

It was year of discoveries, in lots of ways. I learned that actual Europe is much different from the picture I've been having all the time in my head. Like usually, there were better things, there worse things. I won't describe all of them, as they are mostly known to citizens. Still, I understood we are not that different. All my life I had the feeling that Ukraine is behind, although in some ways it turned out to be ahead in some ways nowadays. Banking system that is capable of transferring money between banks in matter of minutes for free. Postal system, that can reliable transfer packages to other end of country in 24 hours. And, the cherry on the top: I was able to replace drivers license in matter of 2 hours. In Warsaw, Poland!

Still, nothing is over. The biggest war in heart of Europe since WW2 is still happening. I'm glad for everyone for support of Ukraine, thank you, even just good words or lack of bad are infinitely times better than russian propaganda. Please continue doing so, as nothing have ended yet.