Question of Time

Every summer my family goes to Crimea. This year we’ve been there for the seventh time. Our twins celebrated their first birthday there. The following birthdays they celebrated there as well. Now we come to Crimea for several weeks only, earlier we used to spend the whole summer there. For the last four years Crimea has been separated from us with the border.

In summer 2014 the war broke out in the east of Ukraine. Thousands of people left their homes and fled. A lot of people from the east came to Crimea. Nobody knew when they would be able to come back home. That summer my family also went to Crimea. We were waiting at the border for ten hours. Queues were just enormous. Some people were going on foot, they were holding their children.

Finally we got to Crimea. Mister Putin congratulated Crimeans on their coming back home on every billboard which were quite numerous. But we had no idea when we would be able to come back home again. We didn’t know what was going to happen. There was no shooting in Crimea, but still people were afraid, disadvantaged and angry.

In July our city was freed from separatists. But we didn’t rush home: the way was too long and dangerous. The way which we used to travel over one short night.

Next year there were six of us. And again, we had to experience exhausting travel, queues, borders. My four-year-old daughter thinks that Crimea is so far away. It is a foreign country for her, because when she was born, the Crimea was already «theirs», not «ours» any more. My other children remember how it used to be but they often ask me questions if Crimea is Ukrainian, why there are Russian flags everywhere and why they cannot hear anybody speak Ukrainian.

Frankly speaking, I can hardly remember how it was to arrive to Crimea in just a normal way: without stopping at checkpoints, without endless queues at the border, without exchanging currency, without slogans like «No way to fascism» or «Crimea is ours». I am getting used to it. But I doubt that I will accept it.

What is waiting for us in the future? Where will the borders be? And will there be any borders at all? What will my children remember looking through the photos taken in Crimea? Before the war broke out we had bought a piece of land in Crimea.

We were dreaming of building a big two-storey house there. We were dreaming of moving to Crimea for good. But everything has changed. Now we come to Crimea rather seldom. We are thinking of selling the house at all.

It’s just a matter of time.

This story is an outcome of our magazine summer school in Ukraine, in Summer 2018.

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