[20 years ago]

[20 years ago]


This picture above was taken about the same time Ukraine got independent. The same year, that is.

Today is the 20th Independence Anniversary of Ukraine.

I look back at the brief history of my country that I got a chance to live through and I wonder… What if things could be different?

I remember the glorious days of Orange Revolution and I miss being proud to be a Ukrainian.

On my way home today, I called a cab. The driver navigated the car in silence for a couple of minutes then blurted out, “You don’t look Ukrainian.”

“Really? What do I look like?” I asked, a wry grin on my face since he’s far from being the first person to tell me that.

“An American.”

I sighed. I really have no idea why so many people are convinced that I am not local (granted, I prefer sneakers to high heels, and I like comfortable clothes instead of fashionable, but that’s about it). Most of the time, it doesn’t bother me because I simply got used to it. However, there are times when I wish people would think that I am Ukrainian.

Those times are rare.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my country, the rich  history of my 1,500 year old city, I love Ukrainian people… Yet I wish things could be different – politically-wise. We’ve got such a potential here – labor resources, minerals, coal, metals, land, you name it. Nonetheless, in hands that only want to grab stuff for their own pockets, Ukraine is on 164th place out of 183 countries economy-wise. Guess you can’t really want much with a president who had two prison terms…

On a happy side, I always say that we only need to go 20 more years. Like Israel, we need 40 years of desert time, so that USSR people will die out and a new generation will take over. Will that work? I’ve got no idea.

So… happy 20th birthday, Ukraine. I love you and wish you success.

What were you doing 20 years ago?

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