After arriving in Manitoba, Ukrainian family reflects on first anniversary of invasion – Winnipeg
The view outside Lesia Yaroshenko’s house looks vastly different, almost a year after Russia’s all-out invasion of Ukraine ripped her family’s life out of place. A horizon filled with deciduous trees, dusted by her recent February snowfall, stretches out beyond a Winnipeg balcony.
“I had a normal life. I had a good job, I had future family plans, I had dreams for the future,” Yaroshenko says, sitting on a donated sofa in the living room and reflecting on the year since the end of the war. said while
More than 8,000km away, my husband continues to fight on the front lines.
Global News has been in touch with her since last April after she arrived in Poland via Hungary and Kiev. She was celebrating her long-awaited visa approval to Canada.
“Bought a cake for us and a Polish family. It was a real holiday,” she told Global News at the time.
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Yaroshenko and her two sons, Hnat and Vlad, landed in Winnipeg on May 10, while her husband stayed to fight.
They stepped off the plane with nothing but their backpacks and Hnat’s guitars, grateful to be on Canadian soil.
“I hope to find a peaceful home here,” Yaroshenko said days after landing.
Ukrainian mother of two arrives in Winnipeg: ‘I want to find a peaceful home here’
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Nine months later, the family battled the challenge of settling in a new city.
“I still believe that my husband will come here and live the life he dreamed of,” Yaroshenko said.
They were able to send messages from time to time, and when he was in Kiev, they saw each other on video calls.
“I don’t know the reality of it. I wish I hadn’t gone deeper, but I’m so grateful to him when he told me what he was interested in … or (that) On the contrary, what makes him happy … a new book he has read,” she said.
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“We still do our best to make it feel like family.”
Winnipeg works around the clock to keep up with the high cost of living.
“The hardest thing for me here is always having two jobs and no weekends,” she said. “Everything is designed for two working adults.”
Yaroshenko works 70 to 90 hours a week, sometimes 24 hours a day.
Outside of work, she finds solace in caring for her two children in a comfortable place they call their apartment.
She chops an onion and puts it in a frying pan. Yaroshenko is preparing a pork loin that she got at her sale for dinner, she proudly tells Global Her News. Her sons, 12 and her 17, have just walked in the door after school.
“I don’t want you to think I’m tired. I just want to keep my kids safe.
Her eldest son, Hnat, is immersed in the school band, just like he wanted to do so many months ago.
“It’s kind of my way of relaxing.”
But the challenges of war that his Ukrainian friends face every day are cool.Hnat never imagined that his life would change so much in the next 12 months.
“I wasn’t ready for it, but things happened so fast. When things happen fast, you just have to adapt and keep moving forward, so that’s what I do.” is.
His mother adopted a similar view. Yaroshenko has just started her fourth job since arriving in Winnipeg, and her first in her field. She keeps an eye out for her positives in her upsetting flashbacks that come with her one year anniversary from her invasion.
“Whenever this glass feels unfilled, it has to be done. I know the source is to find that water and they are everywhere,” she said. rice field.
Winnipeg’s generous and welcoming community has softened the transition, Yaroshenko said.
“I feel hopeful, but I feel the whole world is threatened.”
Yaroshenko encourages Manitobaans to stand firm in supporting Ukraine, recognizing that they are relatively safe.
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