Once upon a time there lived a little girl in a land called Soviet Union turned post-Soviet wreck of a country named Ukraine.
When she was 2 years old Chernobyl catastrophe happenned, but she was lucky not to mutate under the influence of radiation)) See? She still looked sort of pretty:
And she loved cats very much, evidently:
Everywhere she'd find them and bring them home:
She also had a sense of humor and in 1993 she glew her poor country's currency in the photo album:
That was the time when Ukraine was getting its first real currency - 'hryvnia'.
Today, 12 years past, this girl feels she can start glewing her hryvnias in history books as well because it's rampantly inflating into the toilet paper.
I'll add my own facepalm here as well:
And throw in a couple of recent selfies for good measure:
Almost no makeup there btw, only good light and b&w webcam mode. Here's + lipstick:
And to completely spoil my reputation of a person who hardly ever does things annoying self-centered boring people do (posting selfies and pictures of what they had for dinner) - I'll also post a picture of one of my vegan dinners, who knows, maybe I won't be eating that well in the not-so-far-away future:
Those are vegan chops, parsley underneath, sweet pepper, seaweed and pickled cabbage with purple oniens. Oh, and vegan maionaise and mustard. There, I dids its
Anyway, getting back to my reflections on living in this part of the world. It feels today that I'm going back into the 90ies. I remember huge lines in the stores for food stretching far from the buildings into the streets, buying bread for the 'coupons' - that's what they were called, basically, sheets of paper with coupons that you'd take to the store and cashier would cut the needed sum of money out with scissors!
I remember the first imported candies we were tasting back then: "Snickers", which was cut into 4 pieces for each family member to try, we couldn't afford buying one for everybody.
How I had to walk a couple of kilometers to the hospital feeling sick, having to sit down and pee in the forest a couple of times, afraid somebody would see me, because we didn't have a car and my mother couldn't afford to call the taxy.
How I didn't know what to wear to the school, and was so amazed when somebody told me that people who lived in the West wore something different every day, not the same or two interchanging sets of outfits.
How I was happy to receive a set of different color markers for the New Year and started drawing right away with my new much desired tools.
Then, how being a teenager I would hate everything and everybody because I couldn't look as fashonable as I dreamed of. That was a real tragedy. Not to mention, of course, I didn't have any gadgets to play with, not even a computer unil I finished school and went to college.
How my friend, again, in our teenage years, would sometimes pay for my drink in the bar we'd go to because her parents made somewhat more money and she wanted me to be able to hang out with her.
So, that's why, when I finally managed to start making 'ok' money for myself in my 20ies, I wanted to at least in my youth live some decent life and spoil myself a little. I didn't really invest in anything or worked my ass off and saved in order to turn my life around once and for all, I spent that money on renting an apartment, buying good food, cosmetics, clothes, going to restaurants with friends, taking taxies etc. Of course, you have to take responsibility for the choices you make and I do, but in the same time, for every choice we make there are reasons in our past experiences.
And that's why the perspective of going back to live in the 90ies terrifies me today. Not to say it's looking much worse this time with war and all...
My day begins usually with news telling me how many people died in the war-affected regions, recently - with a terrorist act in one of the cities and what Russian military equippmets crossed the border and how much more our currency sunk and how much more taxes have risen and bills for housing and electricity.
Starting the day before yesterday I began seeing what I haven't in a looong time - empty shells in the supermarkets. After the latest rising of the dollar rate some sort of a panic erupted and people swept all the flour from the stores, then turned to sugar and now some stores are even limiting the amount of such products any one person can buy. Some were buying 10-50 kilos of sugar at a time. Also in demand are cereals and cooking oil. Bleak.
This VPS hosting I've used for years, the American one, is still $50, but since my currency rate is now 30 to 1 as opposed to 8 to 1 a year ago, this same hosting costs $150 a month for me today. Yeah, I could try local ones but there's a reason I went for the United States based company - it's reliability and responsibility, something our companies are not known for and my business depends on the seamless work of my websites. I've been quite happy with this company (it's an affiliate link, yes, but I'm only recommending it because if I get a comission it will make my own hosting costs there lower). And have you tried moving 15Gb worth of files and all the mysql databases and cron jobs etc, etc.? I really don't want to move away only because it costs me ridiculous amount of money now Also, I've used both the Ukrainian and Russian hosting/VPS in the beginning, and although they were cheaper, they'd all complained that my server created too much load on their CPUs and would just turn it off when it did, while here this has never been a problem.
So I've looked into ways of making dollars. Not only because of hosting, but the majority of goods in Ukraine are imported, so rising in price, plus, government imposing an additional 10% tax on import so it will be costing twice as much as before or more. For example, I've thought about selling handmade gifts: jewelry, figurines. Not that it's easy to start anyway, it'd take some time to grow, but also the shipping costs from Ukraine to US are pretty high so I'd have to price my goods lower and btw PayPal has Ukraine blacklisted and I'm not allowed to receive any money through it on my personal cards. There are middle men, services who offer to receive your money for you and forward it to your Ukrainian cards for a fee. Again, more fees just to be able to do what the civillized world is allowed to.
Of course, people can wire me money directly on my Mastercard, using SWIFT or other methods but who's going to bother doing that just to buy some gift from overseas.
I guess I could also sell websites. I'm currently translating the CMS i've made into English.
All in all, this is my life today. Watching everything fall apart.
And then there are people who want to write me to chat about a book or a movie or tell about their problems. I'm trying to be civil with them but it's really difficult. So I'm more likely to be rude than before. I know where to find conversations on the internet, so please, do not write me offering yourself. I value what some people did when they offered me a place to stay abroad if I ever flee, or sent books, that was very sweet and I appreciate that.
People who've expressed their sympathy and words of support once and shut up - thank you also. We are not close friends and you don't owe me any practical help, but neither do you expect to portray yourself as someone who is more than an acquaintance of mine, neither do you bug me now and then trying to get me to talk with you. That's cool by me.
People who want to continue reminding me of themselves by reiterating how sorry and worried they are and how they hope it will all be ok soon - fuck you. Shove your thoughts and prayers you know where. I'll think of you when you're in trouble. Think but do nothing, while feeling so much better about myself because I've expressed how concerned I was once again.
Strange people who keep writing me how they like me: I couldn't give a shit about your romantic or sexual fantasies, drop dead. Go impress some 18-year-olds with your serenades.
When you live in a crumbling world like I do now, you see even more clearly the difference between words and actions, the smell of bullshit and hypocrisy. And you have no patience for it, because all of it has been allocated for day-to-day survival. So you select people very carefully, they fall into just 2 categories: those who add something to your life, and those who steal from it. It's like that for everyone, in any kind of world, but of course it's easier to ignore when you've got some basic necessities covered for and that basic sense of security present. Although I think, it's not wise to tolerate wrong kind of people under any circumstances. Not that I was, really, but since I did have more time to waste, I did a little bit.
I can barely afford a time to read some book these days, not to mention to talk to everyone who's bored and finds me interesting. I'm either working, or exercising or cooking or watching a movie/doing maniqure in the same time and I have no inspiration to talk to people who are living in a different world right now, who don't have to worry where they're going to wake up tomorrow, what their money will be worth and will there be a clear safe sky over their heads. You all have to wait till my biggest problem is a choice of beer brand, then I'll have the time, energy and mood to discuss and share stuff. For now one or two picture posts on Facebook is my maximum.
Now and again a thought pops to mind: thank god I didn't have any kids. Even from a selfish point of view I'm better off than those with kids on their hands right now.