Where are you is a question that I’ve gotten a lot in the past few weeks. The answer is usually pretty simple, but always changing.
For those that don’t know, I am “home”. I’ve been back in The States for approximately 3 1/2 weeks. I’ve spent time in NYC, and in a bunch of different cities in North and South Carolina. It’s been pretty crazy and busy, and I’m not quite done yet. Thursday I travel to Atlanta, and then Friday and Saturday I’ll be in Alabama. I will spend the first week of March in Texas, and then head to Gator Wesley on my way to Miami, my new home.
I haven’t updated this blog about my comings and goings, and I’ve wanted to, but I just can’t seem to sit down and do it. I have so many feelings about leaving Ukraine that I still can’t fully articulate them. In many ways, it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.
Ukraine was my home. There are people there that I consider my family. Though I know I’ll never really be Ukrainian, and that I won’t ever really be ‘one of them’, I suppose, I certainly felt like I fit there in a real way. And witnessing the things happening in that country full of people I love from so far away filled me with guilt. I know it’s not my fight, as I’ve been told, but as I drive through the streets and marvel at the luxuriously easy life we live here, I am filled with guilt.
Everything that we would want or need is within arms’ reach if you have the means to purchase it. I understand that many of our own people are in the margins, they can’t afford to meet their daily needs, but things here are just so much easier, so much more accessible, and I’m not sure that that’s always the best thing.
And more than all of that, we have such great freedom here, and we are absent in our government. We’re letting our country be run by old, rich, white men and corporations and we just sit down and take it. We don’t believe that protesting or calling your representative can affect change. We also think if something isn’t directly effecting us, then it’s not our problem. We are listening to the crap they feed us on the news, we are just accepting the status quo.
This is what’s great about what happened (and is happening) in Ukraine. They could no longer accept the status quo. They went out into the streets to kick corruption and greed out of their system, and I’m not going to lie, I thought it wouldn’t work. I stood in the squares, I got out there and watched Ukrainians stand up for what they believed in, and in a way I never thought that they would create change.
Today, the president is gone. Hiding in Crimea somewhere.
They recognized the power that they, the people, had, was real and if they mobilized enough that that power couldn’t be put down.
This spirit, is part of what I loved about Ukraine.
And I’ve come back to my homeland to be met with apathy and ignorance, for not only the things happening in Ukraine, but for the things happening in this country.
I found that I am more like a woman without a home. I don’t totally fit anywhere anymore. There are people that I love all around me, all over this world, and yet as I returned to this place I’ve almost found no home among them. Certainly, it has been amazing to see my old friends and family, and some are so so interested in my Ukrainian experience. They are well informed and have changed similarly to myself, but others, in some ways, don’t want to acknowledge that anything has changed at all. And many things are exactly as I left them, but I’ve returned to them a different person.
I think that it might be easy to go back to the way things where before I left, when I was a more selfish less aware person, but in many ways, I know that I could never do that as much as it might make others more comfortable around me.
So where am I?
I am wandering trying to find my new place in this one that is so familiar to me. I’m eating good food, I’m spending time with loved ones, I’m sharing stories and talking at churches, but mostly I’m trying to balance this new normal.