Came to Gdansk with her daughter and son. At home stayed her husband, who is in the Army Forces of Ukraine, mother and relatives.
What did you do before 24.02?
I worked as a consultant in an educational toy store. I told customers about the peculiarities of their selection for a particular age and characteristics of the child, why you must take this toy, what part of the child's brain it develops and how to play with it.
What about this activity now?
I can't find a job in this field now, because I need to know the language. And I see that there is a different attitude to children. Much does not need to be explained here. My children grew up according to the Montessori method and it seems to me that the whole country lives by this method.
What were your plans for this spring?
My husband and I planned to go on vacation abroad, because I never left my own country. We planned to formalize adoption papers for the youngest son. We bought a guitar and my husband had to teach our daughter how to play on it. Wanted a house make-ower, a family photo shoot, and there were plans to get married in church.
How did you spend this day in real life?
For me, the war started in 2014. When I left from Lugansk to Chernigiv, and then after 4 month I moved to Dnipro, because I was offered a job there. I divorced my ex-husband. For the last 2 years I have been building a new family. My current husband loves my children as if they were his own. We had already talked to him about the possibility of launching a full-scale invasion. He said he would go to the Armed Forces because it would be the right thing to do. At that moment, I thought, "Really again?". It never occurred to me that this could happen again. I understand why my husband wants to protect our state, our future. But why must I lose my family again? We woke up in the morning, but we didn't hear anything. For a long time, nothing reached Kamianske, a suburb of Dnipro. Physically, the day went calmly, but it was very difficult morally. At first we didn't have siren alarms, but then the short ones went off. Later, a bomb shelter was opened near our house and everything was in order. It calmed me down, but not for a long time. It’s extremely scary to hear the sound of a siren alarm. You understand what it is and its trajectory is unknown. We sat in the shelters for 5 hours, the children fell asleep there, I woke them up and we went home. And a few hours later we ran back again. One day my husband and I went to the market. We were already returning when the siren alarm went off again. There were 200 meters before we could reach our house and at that moment we heard explosions. I realized that even such a short distance is very far during a siren alarm. I told my husband that I loved him, but I couldn't live like that anymore.
What made you decide to leave?
Apparently, it was a feeling of deja vu. The impression of 2014 repeating. When I heard what the Russian occupiers were doing to girls, boys and women, I did not want my children to meet the same fate.My husband worked every 2 days and when he was at work, I was very nervous, could not calm myself down. The children did not want to go, especially the eldest daughter. She remembered how we left Lugansk and I promised her that we would return. That's why I told the children, “I don't want to go alone. But I understand that I cannot allow anything to happen to you. And if something happens to me, who will protect you? As a mother, I have no right to risk your life”. When there are no children and women nearby, it is easier for our defenders to fight and they will not worry about whether there is anyone in the house that collapsed from the shelling. I won't promise that we will come back this time. It is unclear when this will end. I want to think that this is just a dream. But this is not a dream. And we have already gone through this.
How did you cross the border?
We arrived at the Dnipro train station at about 3 pm. It was very difficult to say goodbye to my husband because he couldn’t come to the platform. I hugged him over the fence and cried very hard. He and I exchanged bird talismans made by my daughter. And my mother came to see me too. She accompanied me in Lugansk, and now again in Dnipro. We arrived in Lviv by train the next day at 11am. There, I asked the volunteers about everything. Everything was well-organized. Then, after 1,5 hours by bus, we reached the border. I couldn’t believe that I left Ukraine. Everything inside of me shrank a little. My heart aches for Ukraine and I don't know what lies ahead. I understood that everything depended on me. The heavy rain started and we got wet. When we left the border checkpoint, it seemed that the Poles were waiting for us. Towels for wet hair, hot drinks, food and there was a hand-drawn picture from Polish children, which said "We are with you". We were brought to Przemyśl. There we ate and spent the night. When I woke up, I saw that someone had covered me with a second blanket. I was very touched by this.
How did you get to Gdansk right away?
My friend lives in Gdansk. She offered us to stay for a couple of days, relax and decide what to do next. We boarded the train. While we were driving, many people asked us where were we from, when they heard
that we are from Ukraine they always said: "We are with you". It is so touching. We were greeted in Gdansk, we were extremely tired and the children were very upset. The rules of this country were unknown. The first 3 days we constantly went out and looked around. And then my son tells me, "Mom, look how beautiful it is". The fact that they supported us with our flags even here. On the 4th day I realized that I like it here and that I need to look for housing. We were helped at the Krevetka Information Center. We got into a wonderful family, it reminds me of mine .My adaptation was quite easy. One volunteer, who speaks Ukrainian well, told me, “Natalia, you are very helpful with your optimism. We are very pleased that you are in such a sublime state”. To which I replied, "I am very grateful that you Poles have organized all this, even though you are not obliged to do so." The answer touched me. “It should be like that. As long as your men are at war, we have to live. We can be next. And while your men are there, we can help you here so that we can all live. ”
What makes you happy now? What fulfills you?
After 2014, I lost a lot of extra people around me. I saw how strong our Ukraine is. We deserve to live at such a high level as Poland.
What piece of advice would you give to yourself in the past based on your new experiences?
Now I understand that no matter what happens, I have to ask myself a question: “What can I do with this experience? What must I see?” I should not freeze in such situations. My motto in life has been the phrase "The good is where I am”. Now the greatest gift, the greatest value is life.
It also became known that the biological father of my children was a soldier on the Russian side. I read about this when I was already in Poland.It turns out that he went to war against us when his children were still in Ukraine. How can you explain going to war against your own children?