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Zasid Darja

Mariupol

Ivano-Frankivsk

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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 was 11 years old, sixth grade. I don't remember many things from that time, rather the general mood of the people around me. It was a nervous time for all of us, no one knew what would happen next and how to act. I lost the chronology in my head, but I recalled some episodes from my life. I will write about a couple of them. On January 24, 2015, the self-proclaimed republic "DPR" shelled the "Skhidny" neighborhood in the city of Mariupol. Fortunately, my relatives who lived there had left the city the day before. In my memory this day is full of panic, tears, hopelessness, anger. A week after, the lights at our house got turned off, just as they were turned off on “Skhidny” an hour before the shelling. I remember how we lit candles and gathered with our neighbors in the apartment, thinking that it was better to stay together, tried to joke around, but the tension hung in the air. We lived on the top floor, but decided that the hideout in the bathroom would protect us from the "grad". The light was given after a few hours, everyone breathed a sigh of relief and went to their own apartments.
Later, already in the spring, while walking from school with friends, we were about to cross the road, but had to stop because we saw Ukrainian tanks coming. The column was huge, we waited a long time. I remember how some people moved away, and we - little kids - not realizing the possible danger, went straight to the road and started shouting: "Glory to Ukraine!" And how happy we were when we heard back from the military; "Glory to the heroes!" Through those little passages I remembered that time. 

"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.

What happened in 2014 greatly affected my life. Many of my friends and close ones left and never came back. In general, the brain no longer perceived life "before", there was only "after", meaning, there was only "now". And this "now" was not easy. I pretty much built myself as a person on the basis of previous events, the terrible word "war" was now perceived as something completely normal, as something that once was and that will someday return.
Since then, I have decided to switch to the Ukrainian language, but managed to do so only recently. I loved seeing the rise of national self-awareness among my friends, even though we were still very young and expressed it in a childish way. I gazed with surprise and joy at the city, which got more and more beautiful every year. I was pleased to see Mariupol turning from a gloomy industrial city into a touristic and sunny one, and I was also glad to see the rise of creativity and more opportunities for young people.
However,  for my higher education I went to Kharkiv, the cradle of our country's students.

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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?

On February 24, I woke up to explosions laying inn my own bed in the dormitory. At first I thought that the firemen, whose dormitory is next to ours, were marching to the beat of a drum, but, unfortunately, those were no drums.
My sister called first, and then my mother..
I woke up my neighbor, with whom we had just agreed yesterday not to talk about the war, with the words: "I'm sorry to disturb you, but the war has started," then I went to several friends (not all, unfortunately), we nervously laughed together and then we said goodbye. I put on my best underwear, packed a backpack with money, socks, pencils and paper and left the house with a clear understanding that I would be back only in the evening.
Actually, I got back home after three months - to get summer clothes, sell old works and wash the pan.
For about a week, like all Kharkiv residents, I anxiously lived in a bomb shelter with my relatives. Falling asleep, I dreamed that it was all just a terrible nightmare. On March 2, my family and I went first to Kharkiv, and then to Ivano-Frankivsk, where we are living right now. Like everyone else in my circle, I did not believe until the last, that a full-scale offensive would begin. The first days of the attack, I couldn't really believe it was true either. And even now, in the fifth month of the war, all the things still don’t make sense in my head.

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