Leaving Romania will be the hardest thing to do
“In the evenings, Ukraine is in the darkness.”
“If we will ever return to Ukraine, leaving Romania will be the hardest thing to do.”
“Uncertainty is the most difficult thing. I feel I cannot plan what will happen to me, where I will live, or what I will do. I feel powerless.”
“At this moment, we had been really considering going back to Ukraine because it seemed we do not have any other option to continue living in Romania. Then we found out about JRS!”
We were supposed to leave to Romania on February 25th by plane because we were worried about the possibility of Ukraine being attacked by Russia. We had our plane tickets and our luggage prepared when the war started. Of course, we could not leave by plane because the airport has been closed. A few days later, when it became clear to us that Russians will soon enter Kyiv, we went to the train station, hoping to catch a train out of Ukraine, anywhere…The station was filled with people waiting to leave and just when we arrived a missile hit a glass building close to the station and everyone panicked. We were lucky enough to catch the first train going to Sighet - Romania because I have heard people were waiting for days to get on a train.
I and my husband, my mother and Sasha entered Romania on the 3rd of March and we were received in the house of our Romanian co-worker friend. First, I and my husband and our son shared a room, while my mother had another room. Then another family came into the house and we gave one room to them. After that, all 4 of us shared only one room with a single bed. It was difficult, but we were only grateful to be safe and together. At the beginning of the summer, we found out we need to move from the house. My husband and I had online jobs but we could not afford to pay rent and buy food from our salaries. At this moment, we had been really considering going back to Ukraine because it seemed we do not have any other option to continue living in Romania. Then we found out about JRS!
We learned about JRS’s program for accommodation support from another woman from Kharkiv living with us in the house. Since we could not access the 50/20 program because my husband (Fabian is a Spanish citizen) JRS was the only option for us to be able to remain in Romania together. JRS has helped us since the summer with paying the rent and a small allowance for monthly expenses. With JRS’ support, we feel enabled not only to continue living safely in Bucharest, but also to start contributing ourselves through volunteering in the local community.
More and more people have started to arrive from Ukraine after the Russian attack on power systems. People cannot simply survive without heating and electricity. In winter, the temperature drops to -30 degrees. Now, if you look at pictures from the cities taken in the evenings, Ukraine is in the darkness. By watching the news and living in this constant state of uncertainty regarding my own life and future, I am becoming depressed. I feel I cannot plan what will happen to me, where I will live, or what I will do. I feel powerless. What has helped me a lot has been getting involved outside my comfort zone. Getting out and connecting to the community, planning days and weeks ahead, not years. By doing that, I am distracted from negative emotions and thoughts.
I currently work as a volunteer in the Beirut School from Bucharest, teaching Spanish and English to Ukrainian and Arabic children enrolled in the school. At the same time, my husband and my son are trying to support different organizations raising funds for Ukraine by participating already in 5 marathons in Romania. My son, Sasha, although is not a professional runner, won 1st place in one running contest for children. He is also already speaking Romanian, although we did not enrol him on a Romanian school. He learned it by speaking to Romanian children in the playground and by interacting with our Romanian friends. One of them is Sasha’s teacher from Beirut school, who has been very kind and supportive of us and we even went to her wedding. Because we have been connecting so much with Romanian people, I am honestly thinking that if we will ever return to Ukraine, leaving Romania will be the hardest thing to do.