Let’s just hold each other

Let’s just hold each other

We are not together but we are not alone

Let’s just hold each other 

We are not a couple neither friends

Let’s just hold each other 

You hurt me but you saved me

Let’s just hold each other 

We are not sleeping neither napping

Let’s just hold each other 

We both need this

Let’s just hold each other 

You need body heat

Let’s just hold each other 

You are my blanket 

Let’s just hold each other 

You are not staying over

Let’s just hold each other 

For all we have been through together

Let’s just hold each other 

For all we have been through separately

Let’s just hold each other

Before we let go of each other…

Enigma of Cricova

Moldova – a tiny country in Eastern Europe, tucked in between Ukraine and Romania. Once Moldova supplied wine to entire Soviet Union. Today it exports wine worldwide.Cricova, found in the 1950s, is only 15 kilometres away from the nation’s capital Chisinau. Local legend says that many years ago, there was a monastery on the grounds of Cricova that was destroyed in a brutal invasion.As I step into the underground kingdom of wine that holds these monks’ legacies I wonder what stories are hidden within these stone walls.Cricova is not your usual underground wine cellar, it is not a secret facility, it is an entire underground wine town with 120 kilometres of labyrinthine roads that lies 100 metres below the ground.Monks were told to stop producing wine as a dry law took place. Nowadays it is hard to imagine dry law as governments of different countries own their private wine collections here. Government leaders are often having meetings and dinners in beautifully decorated conference rooms with imitated windows.As our guide continues her storytelling, I found out that monks didn’t obey the dry law and hid in caves of Cricova to keep producing wine. They were found and killed, however according to the legend you can still hear a ghost of one monk screaming sometimes. Cric means scream after all.As our driver hits the gas pedal and our tourist cart is moving deeper and deeper underground, I feel how chilly it gets. I try not to think about the monastery ghost, instead focusing on the 1.3 million rare bottles that are held underneath the earth. My favourite sparkling spirit Cricova Rosé boast a rich, velvety texture.The heart of the wine collection is Israel`s “Jerusalem of Easter” vintage 1902. Other impressive exhibits are the 1902 liqueur “Jan Becher” of Czech Republic and the 1938 Burgundy dry wine. I wonder if anyone will ever open them and what would they taste like.Unique production of red and white wine based here allows for a constant 12 C temperature – wine likes it cold. Shift workers are manually turning bottles not to disturb the buzz but to create a special sparkling bubbles. Where else in the world would you see such gentle care?Wine – drink of gods and emperors. For some wine is a symbol of civilization, and for others – sign of love, friendship and hospitality.

Corona Diaries: Toronto Chapter

Let me start from me being an extrovert and sitting at home wasn’t really my thing… Now, it is a full month that I am in isolation and every day starts to look exactly the same as the day before.

According to Facebook this year is brought to us by Steven King. With all my love and respect to Steven King, all of this feels super surreal to me.  I often think of myself as a character of Ray Bradbury’s stories, or a hero from Walking Dead.I am working from home these days. The airline industry suffered the most and my job is threatening to lay me off any day. My school moved online even though I specifically selected the in-class option mainly because I am a people person. Now we all know how animals in a zoo must feel and why their eyes are always sad.

I do have to go grocery shopping, I wear a mask and gloves when I do that. Delivery and pick up of groceries from Walmart is becoming simply impossible as it is booked up 8 days in advance and 8 days is the max amount of days to be ordering groceries online.I walk through an empty zombie field as R.E.M. blasting It’s The End Of The World As We Know It in my head phones.

A few days ago I put a ring on to see how it feels. Am I gaining weight or does ring just feel uncomfortable because my finger is not used to it anymore? What`s next? Will I start putting make up and heels to work from home?

On a Boulevard Of Broken Dreams I saw some folks yelling from inside their car parked in the driveway to the front door people, this is how you visit each other now. Someone is picking up mail in gloves and mask, quite an outfit for a simple chore! Kid’s playgrounds are taped with yellow tape. When I see homo sapience – I cross the street.High Park and Lakeshore parking lots are closed. And if you dare to still show up there – police is patrolling around and issues tickets for not practicing social distancing.

Apparently meat factories are still killing animals because it still smells like death in the air within seven minute walk from my place where two meat factories are located in St. Clair West village.

I agreed with Joe Rogan’s podcast that it is very hard to digest all of this when it is something that just happened to you and is not your fault, it just happened…It is also hard because it’s finally spring time after a very long Canadian winter and we can`t really enjoy it. Last hope is for you, summer.I start to think that five trips last year were not even enough to cover for this year’s lack of travel. Don’t anyone dare telling me ever again that I travel a lot. I am 33 and I have only been in 19 countries, I am clearly behind the schedule. Number 19 associates now with Covid19…

Is that how people felt after Chernobyl nuclear explosion? Perhaps not, with high degree of radiation you are not safe even indoors.

Have you ever been homesick?

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.

Vyshyvanka - Ukrainian National shirt

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”.

My parents

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.

My grandpa turned 90 this year

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.

Click on this image to learn more about the Holodomor

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”…

Lago di Como

Flashing back to my Italian Summer of 2017, I would like to do something new.

I would like to offer you a photo-essay of Lake Como and its stunning views from different heights.

Located within one and a half hour drive North from Milan, Lake Como is tucked in between beautiful Italian Alps.

Let me guide you from the lake all the way up to the top of mountains.

I started off with a boat ride. When its 30 degrees outside, being on the water does make me happier.

Lake Como has attracted artists and celebrities for hundreds of years and its famous villas come as a result of that.

A lake of glacial origin is 425 m deep. Breath in the fresh air and enjoy views of architectural heritage of Lombardi region.

Next, lets hop on to a Funicolare that is made to be 45 degrees angle.

Hold your breath as views will get more dramatic soon.

As the journey continues, I suddenly realise how big the lake is.

The funicular railway connects the city of Como with the village of Brunate.

Many Italians own their summer houses up in the Brunate village.

Funicular railway itself is a glorious view.

Red roofs are traditional for Italian buildings.

Walk up a bit more along the charming cobblestone road.

Mesmerizing view from the top of the mountain will be worth your exercise.

And of course it wouldn’t be Italy without a church on the very top of the mountain.

From here, higher than us only birds can fly.

My journey of one of the most breathtaking lakes in the world is over and I hope that yours is just set to begin soon.