Arctic Foxtrot. And more...

Aviation brings people together. In 2017, when Canada is celebrating its 150th birthday, aviation unites the country by bringing the technology and inspiration of airshows to the most remote areas of the country - where people have never seen anything like this in their lives. With 97 airshows North of the 60th parallel, EVERYBODY will have a chance to celebrate Canada's 150. Official website: https://caat2017.com. This is a blog of Anna Serbinenko, the only Canadian female aerobatic performer, embarking on this once-in-a-lifetime journey.
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Three years later. I have travelled, explored, discovered, dared, fell down, got up, did it again, achieved, conquered, enjoyed, loved, remembered, lived... So many experiences are just too grand to keep them to yourself. So i decided to revive and keep up this blog with sporadic postings. Subscribe to get notified about the new articles!

Day 33 - My Grandmother, My Hero

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I feel I’ve always had more in common with my grandmother in character than even with my parents. She’s strong, courageous, positive and very very kind and generous. And yes, she has so much more patience than I do. And even though other relatives spoiled me more as a kid, while grandma Nina was more strict, she has always been someone I’ve looked up to.

While working, she was managing a central heating station of the city. So when I was maybe 6 or 7 years old, she would take me with her to work, and I loved it! I filled out forms and distributed the payroll, joined her in her field inspections and learned using abacus way before it was required for school. My parents have always been very good technical specialists, but not managing others or the work of others. My grandma to the contrary has always good in organizing and managing - from managing my grandpa to handling dozens of plumbers and other workers across town. And as I grew up, I started noticing that I had lots in common with her (being modest here ;) ).

 

She is in her 80s. She lived already through the WWII, then through the after-war times and the Stallin times, then the falling apart of the USSR. And yeah – COVID! And you would think this is enough for one person’s lifetime. The phrase that comes to mind is “I AM SO TIRED OF LIVING IN THE HISTORIC TIMES”? But actually I’ve never heard it from her. 

Instead, she has always been the calmest person of the entire family since the war started. Us, all her children and grandchildren are sitting in safety, and so much worried about her and her safety while she stayed in Ukraine. But she was cool as a cucumber! She would scout the entire town to get her meds despite the shortage of those in the pharmacies, pick up groceries, and kept going to church. 

  • 7 days before the war – russian troops are gathering at the border. My grandma (G): “oh well, we are waiting for the russians to attack us”
  • Day 1 of the war, cities are being bombed – G: “we are all good, it’s all calm”
  • Day 3 of the war, the attacks are spreading – G: “oh I made myself a shelter in the basement – put food there, a bucket of water, blankets and an extension cord. I’m good! I’m ready.”
  • Day 20 of the war, remote sound of the bombs detonating is being heard every 10-15 minutes, day and night. G: “It’s good in the city. I went to church today”
  • Day 30 of the war, 3 bombs are dropping less than 1 km from my grandma’s house – G: “I’m good, they are not bombing right now, and it’s not right here. You my dear, don’t worry about me, I’m all good”

To me, that was mind-blowing. I am freaking out being outside of that situation. I would have certainly been freaking out even more if I was in it. The entire time while we were in safety, and her town was being bombed there was not only not a single hint of hesitation or fear in her – she managed to encourage us! I am so in awe of her!

That night of the day 30, I spent until 3am Vancouver time trying to convince my grandma to evacuate, but she kept saying No (stubborn! I wonder where I’m getting my stubbornness from? I still prefer the term “determination” LOL). 

But miracles do happen, and by the time I woke up the next morning, I got a message from my mom that my grandma agreed to leave! It was obviously just the beginning of the journey, but at least we get to start moving! 

The next morning Ukrainian time she was already on the bus for Western Ukraine. She is in her 80s, and she had a 3000km road trip ahead of her, 1500 of which would be under the bombs! We all did not sleep much that entire time, keeping track of her location through google maps and comparing with the reports of the bomb and missile hits and threats along the way. Switching buses in Lviv. Then switching to a volunteer vehicle in Uzhgorod to cross the border to safety. This is I think when we all exhaled for the first time – about 48 hours after her departure from her town. My grandma with hardly any sleep and however exhausted she physically was, this entire time was in good spirits, encouraging us and telling us not to worry. 

She’s now in safety of my mom’s home in Switzerland. And I am so grateful for it. Grateful to my grandma for doing it, and grateful to God for keeping her safe all this time.

Grandma, thank you so much for being my inspiration. Thank you for being you. Thank you for helping me be who I am today – you are such a big part of it. Love you to pieces!

 

Day 37 - Diary of a 16-year-old Katya from Mariupo...
Day 32 - Good doctors. In more than one way
 

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Tuesday, 28 June 2022