The first day of winter came with a lot of snow. A white quiet morning like a blank page of a brand new season.
For me, winter used to be associated with Christmas, New Year tree, holiday markets, mulled wine and gifts.
Now it is associated with war, fear and cold. Cold that penetrates through the walls, and cloth, deeply into the skin pores, goes straight to your heart. Another hard winter is ahead. Will I celebrate this New Year with the "fireworks" of our air defense? Only time will show.
War and common sense
My husband returned home from his mission in the Donetsk region. He is fine, and I am happy to be with him again. But every time I see he has changed after being in the places where weapons speak louder than voices in your mind. Something he shares with me, but I always feel that there is something he doesn't. It is like an unknown, unexplored terra where there are no order, laws and regulations yet. The uncertainty that we are a little afraid of. And then somehow by accident I formulate a question and get an answer... and I understand why he would never tell about such a thing. How much more is there to ask about never comes to my mind?
And while he is there I feel guilty for sleeping in a bed, for eating a hot homemade meal, for having heating and water and all the small things we don't value when we have them. And we cannot be blamed for this because... it's XXI century. Exactly! This is how we fall into the trap.
History does not develop linearly. The arrival of the 21st century does not mean that we cannot return to the 1930s, or feudal times. It is happening right now actually, before our eyes. All our lives we have been acquiring knowledge about certain historical events. And the cause-and-effect link was never seen.
Poems, prose, essays and a bit of philosophy
Before the big war, I used to have a lack of time for reading. Since 2022, it was difficult for me to keep focus on what I am reading and not to be constantly distracted. The habit of constantly changing the context thanks to modern gadgets is very dangerous.
Although the main reason was that I could not find what would I like to read. Fiction reading seemed uninteresting, or inappropriate, not deep enough or too deep and painful, or just boring. Things were even worse with non-fiction because the more I read the more I hated myself. My mental health was like an old, worn shirt that has become so thin that any sharp movement can tear it. And from the formed hole, something will pour out that can sweep me into an abyss from which I will not get out.
I needed a toehold, an understanding of who I am and where I am in these "changed circumstances", faceless and neutral phrase that we use when the whole world's falling apart.
The last but not least - I needed new reading glasses. I've been putting it off since spring.
Once, on the eve of Black Friday, I came across another video of Oksana Zabuzhko's (famous Ukrainian novelist) public speech where she talked about her latest book, which was written and published in 2022. I really like her performances, the way she talks and even the way she thinks. It was another cold, dark evening by myself, when I missed my husband, my daughter or even the slightest sign friendship. And I said to myself - Goddamn it, go and buy the damn book eventually! I opened the website of a bookstore, they had discounts on everything for Black Friday, and I did it. To give you a clue about my mental state - I bought 9 (nine) books!
BTW, what did you buy on Black Friday? Hm?😉
"The Longest Journey" - an essay that broke the ice. I could swallow it in a day or two evenings. But it was so exciting reading that I needed breaks to analyze, realize, pass information through myself, correlate with my own memories and experiences. It was something extraordinary.
It was translated into Polish, Italian, Swedish, German, Norwegian and Latvian and languages (this is what I know), with an English translation coming soon. Meanwhile here is "An excerpt from The Longest Journey now in English, by way of an appetizer.". Or you can find her books on Amazon.
After I finished "The Longest Journey" I felt that I am able to continue with the topic that I have banned for myself for reading or watching - the war and all that happened since 2014. It seems that now I can overcome this trauma. And I finally got a new glasses.
There is a quote by Friedrich Nietzsche that I especially like. It is from "Twilight of the Idols":
"Our real experiences aren’t chattery at all. They couldn’t communicate if they wanted to. That means that there are no words for them. When we have words for something, we’ve already gone beyond it."
It could be a twenty-year driver experience without any car accidents in 2024!!!.. But no longer the case. 😒☹️
I broke my good tradition yesterday. So foolishly, in about 200 meters from my place.
Of course, I have an excuse - ice on the road, new road markings, wrongly parked cars. But I had to avoid it. Instead, I run into a parked car. His damage is not serious, and repair will cost around 500 USD I guess. My insurance will cover the expense but I need to pull up and paint my bumper at my own costs.
Aside from money, it was a stress. I looked (and sounded on the phone) calm and confident, but I was totally confused. I called my insurance company, then to police and then my husband. The owner of the parked car called me soon. Police found him by his driver's license plate and gave my phone number. So first he called to offer me to "make an agreement between us". This means to give him cash so he can fix the damage (or not...). Good that my husband was really calm and not feign calm like me. He reminded me that the mandatory civil liability insurance was invented precisely so that the insurance company reimburses the costs of the injured party. So I suspect that the guy was going to make a profit out of this accident. His Toyota Venza has summer tires, and no actual insurance, so looks like he doesn't use it.
So I decided to stick to the order and law. The policemen were not happy to come to such a minor accident, but without the presence of the owner of the injured car there was no other options (except me to run away). And still, in the end, we had to wait for the owner. So I spent half a day in a cold car 200m from my house.
Cool IT stuff
By the way, there is a good thing to mention. In Ukraine, we have an amazing and super powerful app you might already have heard about - DIYA (it literally means Action). This mobile app was first made as a container for your documents - your ID, tax ID, pension ID, international passport, vaccination certificate. All these documents can be used (and accepted) on par with the original paper or plastic one.
We can add driving license and vehicle registration certificate and they are valid to present to the police or other authorities. And they constantly add new features. Recently they added a feature to "share" or "add permission" to use the car you own to the other person. I shared my car with my hubby and now he has vehicle registration certificate of my car in his DIYA app.
This is super cool! Before, the police should have taken off my driver's license after the accident where I was a guilty party, and added me a temporary license instead. After the case is closed (in court) I should go to the police administrative office and take my driver's license back. Now this all is in digital form.
I don't need to have any of my docs with me anymore.
Another cool IT stuff is our Monobank. This is the first virtual bank in your smartphone. You don't have to visit bank to open an account and get a card, to change your credit limit and other stuff. The only reason to visit a bank is to get cash (a lot of cash, LOL) in some cases. That's it.
It is commonly used and very convenient. If you need to give the money to your friend or to a stranger like a taxi driver and he/she has Monobank app you can send the money directly to his/her card by ... shaking your phones. 😅😅😅 Ok, no kidding. You both open the app and shake your smartphone, connect and send the money. The payment comes in a few seconds. I believe their mobile app is the most advanced bank app in the world. 😎
The list of cool IT features is long, but since I mentioned bank payments it takes 1 (one) business day to receive payments within Ukraine not depending on the banks, drawee or payee. Usually, it takes an hour or so. I am proud because was a part of the team that developed and implemented it long time ago. Even though I quit, they still value my contribution. This year, for the second time, I received a commemorative medal in honor of the 30th anniversary of our system of interbank payments. This is so touching. National bank of Ukraine introduced 24/7 support in April 2023 (during the war!) We have a lot of things to be proud of actually (contrary to what Russian propaganda tried to put into our heads for many decades in a row).
Charity and Little Miracles
Well, December is a month of charity and gifts. Anyone can become Magician or Fairy of Santa for people in need. Previous year, thanks to Hive NFT For Peace Project, I was able to help children from the east of Ukraine who lost their homes as a result of the Russian war.
This year, my focus is on wounded soldiers and the first-line hospital in the Donetsk region. This is the hospital where they are brought right from the front, and the military uniform they were wearing in the fight is all that they have. Often these clothes are unsuitable to wear, sometimes dirty, or it is cut to get at the wound. So we buy and send underwear, socks and flip-flops - the necessary minimum that hospital can barely provide them with due to a large flow of wounded militaries. Doctors provide them first medical aid, then they are transferred further to rear cities where they are in hospitals until recovery, and where their family or friends can visit them.
I met Dawid the @hallmann when I was attending the HiveBeeCon in Krakow in October. He was our kind host of the show. The Kingdom itself is an absolutely adorable place and he is responsible for that. 😁 A few days ago he wrote to me and proposed his help. His generous donation of 106.739 HBD that they collected since March was the first aid in a long time!💙💛 I am in the process of converting them to UAH (the commission has grown so much since the last time), and then Iryna the volunteer from Kharkiv whose hubby is in AF too will buy medicine for our guys and bring them personally. I love it so much when people from different places of the world connect to the chain and do good deeds. As I said, a little miracle. 😉 😍
Due to our Orthodox Church switching to the Gregorian Calendar this year the Feast of Saint Nicholas is on December 6th. I sent a package with small gifts for my mom, brother and daughter and her hubby this morning. And I was going to send a small package for Christmas to my friend.
International parcel is a quest every single time. The Customs law changes every year. This year, they banned sending tea and added a requirement to specify product codes. I don't trust the nearest PO so I visited the central Post Office today and look what I saw - The Saint Nicolas' Office! They were preparing for a performance. A lot of cameras, children in costumes and Christmas decoration of course. I don't know when my package will arrive. All delivery services experience delays of everything due to the blockade organized by carriers of Poland and Slovenia on our border. But I did what I can. 📅
I wish I could watch the performance but the air raid started and they should go to the shelter.
My brief digest quietly turned into another long post.😊 Sorry for that.
I am thankful for your patience and your time.💛
Have a great weekend
and see you!