Kyiv, Ukraine – Toronto, ON
I have no immigration story. When it comes to immigrants, I don’t feel it affects me. I force to identify myself with them. But if not, then who am I? I still can’t find a better definition for myself, I guess I need to take this one.
I have been living in Toronto for the third year, since April 2018, I look around to understand what it means to be an immigrant, I listen to what others are saying. I’m interested to hear their stories, they have so many hidden parts, in addition to the exposed ones, stated in applications, CVs and on social media pages. How many layers are compressed there? Inherited, suffered, dreamed, unconscious, disguised…
I had a return ticket. It just burned.
My name is Kateryna, I am 44 years old. My children are 64. This formula amuses me; I like to count their age that way. My oldest daughter is 26, my son is 24, my younger daughters are 9 and 5. I am divorced and live with younger girls.
I was born and lived all my life in Kyiv. Until 2018. I liked everything, I enjoyed my life, I was happy. I loved my family, my house, my profession, my friends and my relatives. I never had any interest in immigration. I loved the job I had in Kyiv. I planned to retire from the National Bank of Ukraine, where I worked for 15 years, and die in the house that we built with my husband.
And then I stopped liking my marriage. Not that fast though, gradually. I made as much effort as I could to save our family, I spent as many years on it as I could, I gave birth to as many new children as I could. One day I got scared, very scared. That day I first realized I was a victim. Nine days after, I bought tickets to Canada for myself and the girls.
I have a lot to tell about that story, but not about the immigration one. Although it sounds weird and maybe funny because, in fact, I immigrated. Maybe awareness will come to me along with the permanent residency status, who knows. I’ll wait, I’m in no hurry. I like my quiet ex-pat life.
I was blessed to find a way to get rid of worries, a way to deal with the issues that arise every day and those that stretch with the oppressive burden from the past, I found an audience, like-minded people; I found support, those who share my feelings with me. Our Facebook group Ukrainian Moms in Toronto became the space where I started my project “One Thousand and One Nights”. Every Thursday night, I write another story. Seventy of those have already been written, which means my project has existed for almost a year and a half. And I still have 931 Nights left to talk about everything I want. I recall my life in Kyiv, reflect on various issues that arise in discussions, analyze my life experience, revise my values.
I do not know how it is to be an immigrant. Maybe I would want to talk more about it. Later. Better.