Russia has invaded Ukraine in an illegal war. 141 nations in the U.N. voted that Russia was the aggressor. Only 4 countries in the entire world disagreed or remained silent. Whole city blocks have been flattened by Russian missiles and bombs, including a children’s hospital and a maternity hospital. Ukrainian civilians are being killed. Thousands of Russian soldiers are also being killed.
I visited Lviv, Ukraine in 2020, only the second time I’ve left the United States.
I tried to code from an office there. To be honest, I didn’t get a lot done. I was looking out the upper floor windows yearning to go explore the amazing city I could see down below. There were people walking their dogs and a child riding his bicycle.
After work we returned to a quaint downtown hotel with all the amenities and comforts I’m used to back home. I got cleaned up and then walked out onto the golden cobblestone streets. I saw amazing architecture older than my country. There were jovial police officers taking a break in the square. We slipped through a tunnel, into the center of an old apartment building, and into a tiny hidden art store filled with the work of local artists.
I had wine (or was it liquor) at the Drunken Cherry, a tiny shop filled with wood barrels and a small bar where bartenders feverously served a delicious dark red drink to all the people gathered to enjoy it.
We returned to the hotel to get some rest but stepped back into the streets later that evening. Our Ukrainian friends joined us a few minutes later and we spent an unforgettable evening exploring the night life. We ran into another friendly English speaker, an Italian who was sitting with others in a small group. He invited us to join them as they played guitar, sang songs, and danced in the moonlight.
Later in the trip I got to see some of the countryside as we took a bus to a mountain resort. There, our Ukrainian hosts surprised us with fireworks; it was the 4th of July and they wanted to help us celebrate our own country’s independence. Perhaps back then, but certainly today, they are fighting for their own independence.
I decided to write about my experience after reading about the Kharkiv Rubyist and his prompt to write about them.
Written by Joel Dare on March 18, 2022