This is how I introduced myself before Feb 24, 2022.
At 5 am my mom called me screaming only one-word “WAR”.
From that minute my life has changed forever.
Before that horrible moment of my life, I have been a successful entrepreneur, happiest wife, and mom of a 2-years-old toddler Lukas. We were living in Kyiv, had an office, a team, a flat, and a life full of dreams and plans for the next decade. We left Kyiv the day before the war started, on Feb 23rd we packed our bags for a small trip to Western Ukraine, just to have some rest from the news and anxiety caused by a growing danger, but we never believed that this could ever happen. We had our flight tickets for March 2nd to Austin, Texas, where I and my husband were planning to go to attend the SXSW and present our startup, Effa, there. We were getting ready, dreaming to meet investors, clients, and maybe even celebrities, the world was opened to us.
Getting back to the counting point. 5 am, Feb 24th, I am standing in front of the window of my hotel room, holding the phone near my ear and looking at the window, not knowing what to do, in total silence. And I hear “BOOM”, and once again, and again. I was not scared and did not panic or wanted to run away. I was still looking at the window, with no thoughts in my head. My husband hugged me and we began to cry. That’s how the war started for us.
I have cried unstoppably for 5 days after that. I barely remember those days. They were full of phone calls with parents, friends, relatives, or whoever I could remember, and wanted to ask if they were safe. I remember only one single moment: we were sitting in the kitchen, trying to eat (btw, we did not eat anything for those 5 days, you just can’t eat. Your body does not let you eat.) and suddenly the siren went on. The sound of a city siren is horrible. Long moaning, going on and on for minutes, too loud to hear your thoughts. We jumped from our chairs, grabbed our baby, and went to the bathroom, the nearest safe place we could get within seconds. They say the first siren goes to grab your attention and keep you near your phone, radio, or TV so you will keep yourself warned and updated. The second siren means that bomb, or rocket, or whatever that might kill you is going in your direction, the city you are in. If you hear the third siren — you have a couple of seconds to hide. So we sat on the floor in our bathroom, cuddling our baby and counting the sirens. One-two-three. We began to pray. My son asked me “Mom, why are you crying?” and we began to calm him down and told him that that’s just a fun game, we are hiding in a cave from dinosaurs and we’ll be safe soon. We did not leave the bathroom that night.