The usual routine of our lives is over

March 13, 2022

“I got my Master’s degree and study the Spanish and Portuguese languages because I fell in love with them. My favorite memories of Ukraine are from traveling across the country. In the west, we have the beautiful Carpathian Mountains where we go skiing and hiking. There are also two beautiful seas in Ukraine–The Azov Sea and The Black Sea, where I once rescued a baby dolphin.

I was a clinical research associate before the war, visiting hospitals across the country to make sure international clinical trials happen by the international standards. However, I left that job in January to focus on my blog about clinical research because I wanted to spread that knowledge across the whole world. Then came the invasion, and I can’t continue my work.

Every day I cook food, volunteer in Kyiv, then pack my stuff for the night in the bomb shelter. I translate from Russian or Ukrainian to English for reporters. I have offered my flat to journalists, the wounded, and refugees from other parts of Ukraine. I am also volunteering for the Red Cross by connecting resources to people in need. I just joined the Kyiv Territorial Defense Force to be ready to defend my city.

The war dragged into its 8th year in 2022, after the Russian occupation of Crimea and the start of the war in the Donbas region of Ukraine in 2014. No one believed a full-scale invasion like this was possible until it happened. We thought that there would at least be a frontline and a rear, and that civilians would be comparatively safe in the rear. However, this war seems like it’s mostly against civilians, including children.

Nuclear areas like Chernobyl have even been attacked, threatening not only our lives but the lives of those all over Europe. It is cruel and brutal, and the usual routine in our lives is over.

Ukrainians are hospitable, kind, and hardworking people. We never wanted this war, despite what Russian propaganda may try and tell you. Russia attacked us to destroy our nation, falsify history, and to re-establish the borders of the USSR. Putin will not stop in Ukraine. People think the war is far away in Ukraine. But the reality is that today it’s Ukraine, tomorrow- the whole world.

NATO will not enforce a no-fly over Ukraine in fear of escalation into a bigger war, but it seems like World War 3 has already started. Ukraine is simply the opening act.”


(My son Jake did this interview and wrote this story. We interviewed a woman at a Ukrainian protest in Austin, and Jake wanted to talk with people who are still in the country. She connected him with some of her friends.)

1 Comment

  1. Aqualyn Kennedy

    As always, these posts shine a light on the beauty of the human spirit. Thank you, Jake, for digging into this story and sharing this woman’s words. “An opening act” is a sad and horrifying conclusion that many agree on. Net, we – America AND every other country – must save as many lives as possible on all sides because there’s been no indication that Putin’s current push is his final frontier. Prayers for Ukraine, prayers for the Russians belief in their own power, and prayers for the rest of us. May we not fall victim to the bystander effect. This is not okay. Life is not back to normal as much as most try to make it appear to be. If we knew that WW III’s nuclear options were to take flight next (pick a day), what would we be doing? Let’s unite as the human race and address/convert/remove what threatens it.


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