My heart is with you, Ukraine

I woke up with a rush of adrenaline. Eyes wide open, heart racing, as if I had somewhere to be. I tried to remember if it was a dream that woke me up but in a couple of seconds I understood that it wasn’t; reached for the phone to read the news and see what is happening in Ukraine after a 3 hours sleep. It was 3:30 in the morning and by the time I was caught up with the news, I knew I wouldn’t be able to go back to sleep, so I got out of bed and started folding the clothes I had washed and prepared for the refugees, to send them out with a transport.

In the first few days of this war I was bewildered and in my sweet innocence, believed that this cannot happen, and everything will just stop, any minute now. Minutes kept passing and with each minute the situation kept escalating and along with it so did my anxiety, fear and compassion for Ukraine. The first 2 days I tried not to watch the news because I knew it would affect me and I was still convinced that things will stop and everything will be alright. My heart though, was ahead of my brain in understanding things are getting worse and it became uneasy, accompanied by my stomach that has shrunk about 3 sizes. I started obsessively checking my news app and twitch like crazy at the slightest vibration of my phone (could have been news alert).

I see my self as quite the rational person; sensitive, but rational, none the less, so I was surprised at how strongly I am hurting for Ukraine. There have been other wars and tragedies that reached my thoughts and heart but this somehow feels different. And it’s not just me, I see my fellow Romanian friends as troubled as I am.

I remembered reading Neagu Djuvara’s Illustrated History of Romania and he (beautifully) explains in it, how the „the latin language island, that is Romania”, was able to maintain its identity despite the fact that it was surrounded by Slavic settlements. In (very) short, people have been migrating peacefully left and right and up and down throughout Europe in the past few thousand years, more than we can say or imagine (outside times of war). Djuvara says that when the Slavic people started to settle in our territory and surroundings, they were very peaceful. This allowed a slow, unforced blend of genes, language (up to a point), customs, and so on.

Maybe this is what we are feeling, a call of blood, of a common ancestry. Or maybe, our most recent history is calling to us: as we have lived together, peacefully in Europe for the past years, what we are feeling now could come from a sense of belonging and aligning to the same values; a European conscience and culture that we might have not known existed is now surfacing in our hearts. Our hearts scream in sync, freedom for our sibling, Slava Ukraini!

As things were progressing, I realized that I need to do something, anything I could. Browsed for hours hoping to find associations, ONGs and ways to help, cried my eyes out reading both terrible and heart warming stories and after all of this, sometime around Sunday evening I was finally able to go into action mode. Got my head out of my ass (as, a close friend of mine would say) and started sorting warm clothes, wash, fold them and put them in bags to send them out where they are needed.

To conclude, what I am really trying to say with this story is: don’t wallow in pain thinking that there is nothing you can do, or that it would not mean much. Sure, the efforts of a single person may not seem like a lot, but if we all lend a hand, together, we can move mountains. Anything that you would do, even the tiniest thing is better than not doing anything at all. There is always some way you can get involved: If you don’t have the time, give money, if you don’t have the money, give time, if you lack both, raise awareness, anything helps!

Here is a good place to start, if you don’t have any ideas on how to help

Go! Do! Help!

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