As I put my Vyshyvanka on and attend another Ukrainian Festival in Canada, I get both happy and bitter at the same time.
I wish I knew how to unconditionally love Ukraine just like Ukrainian Canadians in second, third and fourth generation do.
I wish I knew how to dance Ukrainian national dances.
I wish I knew how to make pierogies from scratch (In my defense – I cook awesome cabbage rolls and borzh soup).
I wish I knew how to paint Pysanky Easter eggs with hot wax.
A Ukrainian song about motherhood got me emotional as my mom is in Ukraine and I am one ocean away from her.
I wish I didn’t know how to pay for university exam in Ukraine.
I wish I didn’t know how to bring my new boss expensive cognac just for hiring me.
I wish I didn’t know how to agree with my boss on something being “white” while entire team thinks that it is “black”.
I wish I didn’t know how to sneak money into doctor’s pocket just so they truly diagnose me.
I wish I didn’t know how to stay in a long line to get a paper in order to apply for another paper in order to then apply for another paper to apply somewhere.
I wish I didn’t know all the stories about corruption and bureaucracy that I know…
I wish I didn’t know how to get very small salary which is also under the table (in cash) in my own country.
I wish I didn’t know how to miss my dad who left for work in Western Europe when I was just a kid (every 3rd family have to have someone working abroad in order to support their family in Ukraine.) By the way, my dad still lives in Italy.
Sure, you can have your own small business. I wish I didn’t know stories about mafia that comes and closes your business though.
I wish I didn’t know how to be depressed because over the last 5 years about 14 000 Ukrainians died protecting Ukraine`s Eastern border from Russian occupation/aggression.
I wish I didn’t know stories of my grandparents about the starvation during Holodomor (the Ukrainian genocide) that took place in Ukraine in 1932-1933 and stories of my disappearing-to-be-killed great grandfather, cruelty of communism regime and cold emotionless autocracy of the USSR.
I wish my parents immigrated somewhere so I didn’t get to know how hard it is to be homesick sometimes.
I hope my future kids will be proud Ukrainian Canadians who loves mama`s borzh and cabbage rolls.
They will iron their Vyshyvankas as they are getting ready to go to Ukrainian festival to tell others “Oh, our mom is Ukrainian, she came to Canada in 2012 to look for a better life”…