My childhood and school, 1963 – 1981

I was born in November 1963 in a town called Inhulets in Ukraine, USSR. Inhulets was, at the same time, a part of Kryvyi Rih, a large city called ‘industrial pearl of Ukraine’, the city of ore and metal (Kryvyi Rih at night above. If you are interested to read more about this city, and…

Years at music college, 1981 – 1985

I knew I wanted to pursue a career in music, so, after completing 10 years of high school, I was admitted to a music college in Oryol, Russia. I’m not sure why I chose that particular place – me and my mother were considering several cities to go to, and for some reason we chose…

Pursuing higher education, 1985 – 1989

Again, me and my mum were choosing where I would go to complete higher education. We went to a few cities for an audition, but I was in a doubt I could get admitted into any of those establishments. There were always a large number of candidates for a single place, competing with one another….

Family life started, 1989 – 1991

 We had nowhere else to go but to my birth city in Ukraine. I had my brother there, and counted on his help with finding a place to live. We couldn’t live with my mother as she disapproved my partner choice. My mother found Vlad unsuitable as a husband for not having even a college…

Failed emigration, 1991 – 1992

After a long journey, we arrived to the city Ostroleka, from where we received our invitations. My friend Grazhyna, a woman at the same age as us, at seeing me pregnant (it was 7 months already), felt uncomfortable and constrained. I deliberately hid my pregnancy from her when asking for invitations. I suspected she wouldn’t…

Misery and hope in Russia, 1992 – 1994

We had a very tough journey. In Kiev we travelled from the train station to the airport to board a plane to Astrakhan. As we had plenty of baggage on us, we couldn’t go by public transport but had to take taxi. I didn’t have Ukrainian currency and paid in dollars (I received some from…

Second trial to get out, 1994 – 1995

Where else could we go to, except to the same place we received help at before? We were hoping for the second chance, relying on those who we called friends to support us again. We travelled straight to Rzeszow, to the same family where we stayed for a while, the family that helped us so…

It might be better elsewhere, 1995 – 1996

It was a long journey in our old car; we had to travel across the country to the south west, to the border with Czech Republic. As our youngest daughter Daniela was just a few month old, we had to stop twice to feed her.  She needed a freshly made formula, so I had to…

Returning to Poland, 1996 – 1998

We came to one catholic parish, where they ran some shelter for the homeless. We were admitted and given a place in a small hall with two other families. They gave us warm food and some warm clothes, as well as some dry formula for Dani. It wasn’t the best place for small children, but…

Finally getting a home, 1998 – 2000

We decided to travel up north, to Mazury (I’m not sure why we chose that particular region). We arrived to Suwalki, and were wandering around until we found one charity organisation. They directed us to a certain parish, saying that they were helping immigrants. We went there and met the priest, who advised us to…

Finding ways to make a living, 2001 – 2004

In Goldap, I wanted to join the local congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and continue the Bible study. Yet, when they found out I didn’t have a legal status in Poland, they said I couldn’t get baptised as a Witness, and needed to regularise my stay to be able to do that. At that time, we…