A love letter from Moldova to Ukraine

Коли настане день/When the day comes
Закінчиться війна./The war will end.
Там загубив себе,/It’s where I lost myself,
Побачив аж до дна./I saw it to the end.

Обійми мене, обійми мене, обійми…/Hold me, hold me, hold…
Так лагідно і не пускай./Gently and don’t let go.
Обійми мене, обійми мене, обійми…/Hold me, hold me, hold…
Твоя весна прийде нехай./Let your spring come.

Обійми“, Okean Elzy

Ukraine is summertime. Ukraine is the cold waves of the Black Sea pulling wet grains of sand from under my feet.

The voice of the woman selling “pahlava, semechki, sladkaja gorjachaja kukuruza” is the only sound that can successfully call on children to come out of the water.

The little ones run to their mothers, splashing their way to the shore, asking for a few hryvnas to buy steaming hot corn on the cob.

Lucky kids will spot fishermen knee-deep in the sea, pulling out nets full of shrimp. Bracelets made of seashells dangle from their small wrists as they point at the fisherman’s catch.

In the evening, we walk down the streets of Zatoka and I beg my parents to buy me a shawarma from one of the food carts. I craved that shawarma every summer. 

Once they give in to my request, we sit at a restaurant terrace where they order cold beer and salty taranka for themselves.

We don’t visit Ukraine as tourists, we visit you as friends.

Without border crossings and street signs, it would be hard to tell where one country ends and another begins. Our houses, buildings and roads look similar, courtesy of a shared Soviet past.

Today you come to us in the unlikeliest of circumstances, not knowing what to expect. Few of you visited Moldova before.

You might not know this, but the people that you had to leave behind are fighting for us, too.

Have some hot tea and a warm meal. We’ll show you where we live. It’s not much, but help yourselves to whatever you need.

It’s been a long road for you. We’ll watch over as you finally get some sleep.

Tomorrow we can pray together for spring to come.

***

For Moldovans at home, please consider volunteering.

For everyone else, please consider donating.

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