Mirjam writes:

Today, I want to share the story of a brave girl called Kristina. She is not just any girl. Kristina has experienced something terrible – war in her native Ukraine, a war that is still continuing.

‌Imagine that tanks suddenly invade your village. Sounds like a movie? But it was reality for Kristina. She saw tanks daily, and she was afraid. Her family and friends did not know what to do. ‌

‌Kristina and her family lived in Friend’s House in Pisky village. When the war broke out, their lives went completely upside down. They lacked even what we take for granted: electricity and pure water. They had to hide to be safe.

‌But this is not the end of Kristina’s adventure. Her family decided to flee to a safer place. They ended up in Sweden, and a new chapter started in Kristina’s life.

‌Kristina started school in Sweden. It was difficult in the beginning, as everything was new and odd.

‌Kristina’s story is not just about the war. It is also about courage, hope and finding a new home. She misses Ukraine, but she is grateful for her new life in Sweden.

Let’s join Kristina on her journey…

Kristina writes:

Life under occupation

When the war started, we couldn’t believe it was true. But then tanks started coming to our village Pisky. We saw 50 tanks every day, driving back and forth. It was horrible. I thought they would kill us.

‌Our power supply and water were shut. We were afraid to sleep. We all jammed on the storage room floor: me, Maksim, Vladik, Veronika, Emma, Uncle Sasha, Aunt Sveta, Jake (cat) and Jessie (dog).

It was crowded and awkward. We locked the door lest the russians find us. I wanted to go to my big brothers Zhenya and Kiril, who had managed to flee to Sweden. But we couldn’t go anywhere.

To safety

Then Uncle Sasha managed to take us all to Kyiv on an old two-seat van. We were stuck on the small road due to overweight, and we had to push the van. I can’t fathom how we all could get in it. The way to Kyiv seemed really long.

‌Soldiers stopped us several times. Each time I feared that they are russians. But they were ours. We stayed at Aunt Sveta’s in Kyiv for two days.

On to Sweden

My mother didn’t want to go, but I persuaded her, because my brothers Kiril and Zhenya were already in Sweden. We travelled through Poland and crossed the sea to Sweden.

In Sweden

Boas, Mirjam, Anna and many others met us. Anya and Alla with their children came on the same ferry.

Anna took us to her home in Eskilstuna. She introduced us to her family and her dog Iriska. They were waiting for us, and we had a home in Anna’s home.

‌Finally, I met my brothers Kiril and Zhenya. It had been such a long time. Good that we were here. Good that there’s no war here and everyone is kind and helpful.

A new beginning in a Swedish school

I started in a Swedish school. I was afraid I couldn’t understand the teachers and the students, but they knew English and we were able to communicate.

I found friends. I like the Swedish school and am used to it. I don’t want to go back to the Ukrainian school. I did have good teachers in Pisky, but I enjoy the Swedish school.

Echoes from a faraway war

10.6.2022, Eskilstuna, Sweden

Today brought February back to me.

I was sitting on a break at school when Nika messaged me from Ukraine. The message showed a bomb exploding. Then I had another video from Kyiv, and it was quite emotional.

I felt bad and started to cry. My friends and companions are in Kyiv. I couldn’t stay at school, so my teacher let me go home.

We just want to live in peace and quiet; we are normal people. I don’t want my country destroyed. I want everyone to live.” Kristina

About the future

I want to finish comprehensive and upper secondary school here in Sweden and to get a good education. I miss Ukraine and my friends, but I want to live in Sweden. Or I want Ukraine to be like Sweden.

The schools and the buses. You can’t even find homeless animals here. And it’s clean. I enjoy living in Eskilstuna.

I turned 15

It was my birthday recently, and now I’m 15. Mother still thinks I’m a baby, but I’m actually an adult. Well, at least almost an adult and certainly not a baby. I’ve grown. If you’re 15, you will understand what I mean. My mother and other adults will not understand. They think they know better what is good for me.

‌Mother’s favourite sentence: ”When I was your age…”

‌I’m finishing the ninth class her in Sweden. The schools are different here. I’d like to start upper secondary school in a proper class and not in a preparatory language class.

‌I’ll take the national exams. I already did English, and I’m doing math after the winter holidays. I’m not anxious about the exams, except Swedish can be tricky.

It will be ok, as long as I don’t get an F. I’ll apply for upper secondary in January, with a little help from my teacher. I decided to apply for a programme on: children, hotel, restaurant, salesperson.

But I want to work with little children. I already did a one-week practice in a kindergarten and enjoyed it. I also did a practice in a museum. When I was 13, I wanted to become translator and I studied English. I still study English, but just to be able to communicate with various people and my friends.


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