Messaging My Cousin in Kyiv
It's March, Women's History Month, and I plan on writing some content featuring very deserving women who do not get enough recognition. But later.  The city of my birth, Kyiv, is in the midst of war, and I want to capture my exchange with my cousin, Gene, as well as display pictures of Kyiv, one of the most photogenic cities in the world.
Gene and I-edit

Gene and I in Kiev

Gene is 45, and a chill guy. He and his parents have apartments in the same building where I lived until age 11 on Moskovskaya street (I have a feeling it will be renamed) in the coveted Pechersk region. It's fourteen floors, a premier building for the 1980s. I going to simply translate his responses to my "What's happening?" and add my thoughts in italics.


Moskovskaya 17/2

February 24: Right now all is calm. We hear sirens and explosions, but they are far away. We are watching the action on the news and hoping things would stay that way. Well, that's a relief. Sounds like me watching the news about the shootings on the South Side.
February 26: All is fine. Almost no shooting where we live. Issues with food supplies, but we have stock. Sirens make people nervous, and they run to the bomb shelters. We did that too, but now we listen first. If the explosions sound far away, we stay home. The bomb shelters are at the school, and two buildings away (that one from Soviet times, in bad shape).  So, let's get this straight. Those bomb shelters were either from WWII or the Cold War. In my childhood in the 80s, we practiced putting on gas masks and going to the school basement. As a second-grader, I was so disturbed by those drills that my parents spoke with the teacher to have them stopped. And now second graders have to use these shelters for safety, not for drills. No gas masks, but many are in Covid masks because on top of everything, the virus is still a threat, and someone becoming ill may not get the medicines or medical care required.  
Kiev Maidan
March 2: No changes. It's relatively quiet in Kyiv. Most destruction in the suburbs: Bucha, Irpen, Zhuliany. Zhytomyr got a lot of damage. Battles in Kharkiv. Just a bit of shooting in Kyiv. There are food issues, but today I bought bread for myself, my parents, and my neighbors. Lucky break. I get chills from memories of Soviet bread lines. And that's just... bread? What about everything else? Food was a bother to get, lines in the morning and evening, but my family never went hungry. I read that Kharkiv stores are closed and people are running out of canned food or buckwheat or whatever else they managed to grab before the invasion. 
Kiev fountain
In Kyiv of my childhood,  the shadow of WWII loomed all around us. Parks with memorials, colossal statues, museums. Couples on their wedding day lay flowers by the Eternal Fire to Unknown Soldier (or in Babi Yar if they were a Jewish couple, like my parents). Our grandparents put on their medals and came to schools to give a talk. All came to watch the victory parades. The war songs that everyone knew, the poems even children recited. The spirit was of pride for those who survived, despair for those who didn't, and gratitude for all who did all they could for their country. One of the points of learning history is to ensure it does not repeat itself. And yet it does. Heartbreakingly and mercilessly. And that the attack is coming from Russia, who cherishes their WWII heritage just as much, is beyond my understanding.
Eternal fire

Eternal fire to uknown soldier

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