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Yulia Danylova



How did you experience war in 2014? What do you remember from that? How old were you? How did 2014-2015 go for you?
Please tell this story in detail.

I turned 18 (that's what I drew a comic about). I lived with my mother and younger sister and studied at a local university, which my relatives forced me to enter and which I hated. I had many good friends in the city. All those days were like a blur... I was a teenager who had just overcome my social fears and was finally enjoying my time in fun circles. I didn't want to believe that these fun cirles were about to fall apart because of the war. Since the fall of 2013, we have only been talking about the Maidan, the importance of civil stance, the advantages of European integration, the fight against state violence, etc. Then we started talking about the "coming of the DPR" to the city. And soon after, we talked about the war. My friend's father worked in the police and was able to save the flag of Ukraine after the capture of the Department of Internal Affairs. I think he keeps it at home and waits until he can hang it. That year, I also got a step-father. He is British and he sometimes  would come to Ukraine. He got to take a walk with us in Ukrainian Donetsk (by the way, he often compared it to Geneva), to see the Donetsk airport and, unfortunately, how the flag of the DNR flies at the Horlivka city hall.

"Where were you these 8 years?".
How has this time passed for you, what changed in your life since the events of 2014?
What has influenced you the most during this time?
Please write in detail.

I moved to Kharkiv. My family could not live with relatives for a long time. My uncle called us "wrong refugees" because we didn't hear the explosions, he even took away our food. Therefore, we quickly moved to rented housing, and it was quite difficult to find one with our place of residence... It was also difficult to find a school for my sister, and for me to enter another university. My stepfather helped us a lot morally and financially. At first, I was happy that I escaped from Donbas before there was more shelling there, but then I began to realize how much of a stranger I amin Kharkiv and how much I miss home. I helped a friend move to Kharkiv from Horlivka. Some friends were in Kharkiv at first, and then they all got lost somewhere: some moved around the world, others returned to Horlivka, some gained addictions, some worked at several jobs to help the family, etc. And we also were becoming different people. I spent all 8 years visiting psychotherapists, because I struggled with social anxiety once again. Everything had to be started from the beginning. Make friends, buy clothes, furniture, get to know the city. I started drawing, graduated from university. By the way, my nickname is Yulia Pillyulya - I took it from our local forester Kolya Pillyulya. I just always thought that this last name suits me better. We hardly saw our father and hardly went to Horlivka. However, I really fell in love with Kharkiv and began to appreciate home very much.

What was February 24, 2022 for you like?
Did you believe that a full-scale offensive would begin?Where are you now? What do you do?

What do you think about your future now?

I diligently prepared for the war, I was very afraid that there would be an attack on Kharkiv. Unfortunately, everything turned out much worse. On February 24, I was vacationing with friends in Bukovel and took all the necessary things with me in advance. I really wanted to return to Kharkiv, but my friends managed to persuade me to leave for Poland. The first days were simply terrible, I barely slept and ate. However, it was helping that I already had the experience of being a refugee and it could help me - like the neural connections are already there. I spent the whole spring in Poland. All this time, I worked a lot, volunteered as an illustrator, communicated with journalists, and helped my family. I learned that my father joined the ranks of the russian army. This was a terrible blow for me. Sometimes I see hallucinations with him in uniform and with a machine gun. I hardly saw Europe, but I met friends and acquaintances , those who could. Then I returned to Ukraine. I missed my family and my boyfriend very much. My stepfather died of a heart attack in Kharkiv during shelling. I am thankful I didn't lose more. For the spring, I planned hiking with friends, a wedding with my boyfriend. All this is postponed for other times. In Poland, I was barely shy, but at home I felt a crazy rush of energy. I want to create more, travel around Ukraine, and learn about our culture. However, I do not know where to live now and what plans to make for the future. I only know that victory awaits us, and what happens next depends on me. I hope I can withstand everything that fate has in store for me.

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