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.

Holodomor
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”…

Inspiration lives forever

It is with heavy heart that I will be going to Rotman School of Management on Tuesday to attend the “Remembering Tammy” event. I find it hard to believe that Tammy Neilson has gone off to a better place…

She inspired all of us to get out of our comfort zones and to take ownership of our own lives and careers, but most importantly to believe in ourselves!

Not many people are lucky enough to live such a meaningful life as Tammy did. She worked with so many communities and touched so many lives.

I remember reading her article online about how her friend passed away and it resulted in giving Tammy only strength to keep going and appreciate every minute of her life…

In the last email I had from Tammy she was saying that she is looking forward to an exciting 2017.

I was always wondering what happens with our social media profiles when we are resting forever.

I promised her that I will continue to write no matter what.

Thank you, Tammy.