We passed by the horrific one-year “anniversary” in silent protest. Just like us, you were probably flooded with newsletters, updates, articles and podcast episodes about the one year of war in Ukraine. We are now in the second month of the second year of the war, and we have to be honest – the future does not look very bright.
Last you heard from us, we had been busy travelling around Romania, Moldova and into Ukraine, visiting partners, friends and refugees; lending a helping hand and providing encouragement and support where we could. There’s been a long and dreary few months of autumn and winter since then. It’s not that we haven’t had anything to tell you – it’s the simple fact that life got too hectic, too fast, and we weren’t able to keep up with the communication.
Truthfully, we reached our own point of overwhelm. The stories we heard, the people we met and continue to meet, so many lives torn up, so much pointless evil – it eventually got to us too.
Truthfully, we reached our own point of overwhelm. The stories we heard, the people we met and continue to meet, so many lives torn up, so much pointless evil – it eventually got to us too. We needed to allow ourselves to grieve for a minute. We hope you allow yourselves to do the same, when and if you ever need to.
For this reason, we are even more thankful, because you didn’t stop following up and checking in with us. With your continued, unrelenting support and generosity, we have been able to keep providing help to those in need. It is a mark of incredible human kindness and trust, which seems to have no limits, that you have kept up the good work, even in our silence. We pray that you will be repaid for your goodness, many times over.
The autumn months were unusually warm, thankfully. Between sky-rocketing energy prices everywhere, and sporadic (and some places complete lack of) access to electricity and warm water in many parts of Ukraine, we were thankful for each night the temperatures stayed above freezing. Our Ukrainian friends inside and outside Ukraine have shown incredible strength and courage in the midst of so much darkness. Many of the Ukrainians who were staying here in Cluj went back to Ukraine; others have gotten into a routine, a new version of normalcy, in their new homes.
We know that loneliness kills the soul, just as bombs and bullets kill the body. We use google translate actively, and laugh at the jokes and silly misunderstandings that happen because of it.
If you follow us on Facebook and IG, you might’ve seen that we spent the Christmas holidays visiting friends from Ukraine, bringing gifts, Christmas decorations and packages of food. I personally found great joy in baking hundreds of Christmas cookies and traditional Romanian sweet bread (cozonac), to share with our friends. We focused especially on visiting those who are alone, elderly women whose families are far away. We know that loneliness kills the soul, just as bombs and bullets kill the body. We use google translate actively, and laugh at the jokes and silly misunderstandings that happen because of it. We’re all just people who need other people, and we use whichever tools we have at our disposal.
After the winter gave us what we hope was one last chilly weather tantrum, spring is making its way towards us. While we do not see how the war will end any time soon, we find hope and joy in the small pleasures of everyday life. Your generosity and kindness brings light and joy to us and our Ukrainian neighbours. For that, you have our eternal gratitude and love.