15.    Olena (Kharkiv)

Ukraine is a proud, freedom-loving country full of amazing people. We’re strong, talented, educated, highly cultured. And we’ll stay that way no matter what happens. We’re going to survive this monstrous war and Ukraine is going to flourish.

The way I live my life now is so different from before the war in Kharkiv. I’ve learned to appreciate each minute, because you never know which is going to come first, the next day or the next life. Nothing makes you understand that like shells flying overhead. Here in London I refuse to put life off until tomorrow, I live in the here and now!

After the first year, my host (my guardian angel!) moved to Scotland, but I stayed on in the same apartment, renting with another Ukrainian woman. As well as studying English, I do unpaid work as a stylist. I’m a graduate of the London College of Fashion and I’m looking for a full-time job. I’ve even got my own website in English.

The greatest blessing in my life here is my friends. I’ve got people I can share my joys with, share experiences, travel, life lessons... That means so much more when you’re separated from your own husband and son. I don’t know how long I’ll be in London, I can’t even say for sure what will happen tomorrow, but I know that without my friends it would all be so much harder.

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