memories, childhood

To the Black Sea and Back

Avdiivka, Donetsk Region

I thought about Avdiivka last night, it’s the suburb of Donetsk, where I went to pre-school between the ages 3 and 6. I looked it up on Google maps and recognized some places in town I used to love as a kid. The reason I wanted to look back is I am afraid nothing will survive due to the war happening now. I found some pictures of the lake with very white sand and the monument of the plane, it was probably the coolest thing back in the day. I have a lot of fond memories of my brother, my parents, my grandma Rosa, her mom and my uncle with his GF. We all lived in a house in the old part of town, it was actually a duplex grandma had bought, it didn’t last very long because three families in that small of a house were not very comfy, so the house got sold, and we moved to a newer part of town to live in the dorm with other families with kids.

It was a lot of fun as I had friends next door, one floor up or down. Every family had young kids so we were never bored. It was quite poky, but who cares if you spend most of the time outside with other kids. My father was a factory worker and my mother was a street sweeper at the time. It was really funny because my mom was a dress maker, she worked for herself and sold things very quickly, we were well off. We also dressed up like no one else we knew and it caused a lot of jealousy. The thing is in Soviet Union everyone had to have official employment no matter what, so my mom had to sweep streets as well.

I remember walking to the lake with my grandma, mom and my brother, the sand was so white, and I nearly drowned at least twice, yet those memories are still with me. The one that stands out to me the most is my grandma’s habit to put my wet swimsuit on her head on the way back home, so that it was dry by the time we reach home. I was embarrassed by her actions, my panties didn’t belong to her head, I thought. I had very strong opinions when I was younger. I never expressed this particular one as far as I remember. The air quality was pretty awful due to the Coke Plant where my dad worked. It was chemicals production and not Coca Cola oriented. We called it Koksohim. You can still see it on the map although I am not sure how much of it survived up to this day. We hated it because of all the pollution it caused. Yet it provided employment for people, so it was a good thing after all. We resided in a dorm until the new apartment buildings were being built. 30 years later we went past the place and the blocks of flats were not finished still.

I went to kindergarten and I enjoyed every single day of it, well almost every day, some days were rough. My favorite teacher would let me come visit her with flowers and cake on the weekends, we had a very strong bond. She taught us how to paint Ukrainian folk art and embroider. It’s too bad I could never get in touch with her after we moved away. And we did it in 1990 when Soviet Union fell apart, and things started to get better and better. For us anyway. From other people I heard very sad stories, those years were the hungriest years they reported sadly. Not in my case, since we actually moved to live at the coast of the Black Sea in Russia. It was a long road trip in the car from one country to another. This is where my stepfather took us. His parents owned a house there, which in my understanding was a mansion really. The climate was much warmer there and the air was fresher due to no Koksohim (coke plant) anywhere near. There are a lot of green mountains, sea and vineyards. I started going to the 1st grade there, it was awesome, I loved it. The closest city was Novorossiisk where we went for major shopping needs.

Severnaya Ozereevka, Krasnodar Krai

My brother and I loved country living, we had a lot of friends in the village. They were beautiful people inside and out. We only had one grocery store in there. No school, no hospital. There was a tiny library in a wagon, and a club. Not far from this village, was Abrau Durso champagne factory that my parents frequented a lot. They had a clothes production business at the time, so we were the cool kids, my stepfather had a car and lots of money. We loved him more that our dad, he was really good with children, unlike my dad, he wanted to have kids. He loved teaching us how to swim, play chess, backgammon, cook, drink champagne, smoke and do other stuff. We watched Disney cartoons and American movies which was luxury at the time. We loved living in a big house near the forest, it was all fascinating and unknown. The house was on the hill, if you kept climbing it past the forest you would end up in the vineyards. We all loved to go there for the grapes. It was private property but as true children of communism we felt like it wouldn’t hurt if we had some as well. The owner had lots and lots of land with vineyards, he had a rancho with horses and 11 children. We were neighbors, so we would hang out with them from time to time. Those folks had very different values, the believed that their didn’t have to go to school since they were smart enough as they were. Looking back today I realize that taking kids to school was a problem as it was in a village about 20 minutes away. The bus only ran every hour or so. My brother and I took it there and back. It was a regular bus and not a school one.

One of the brightest moments riding a bus was teeth-related accident. I was in the second grade riding the bus home alone, I exited the front door walking past the back door when a drunk man fell on me, he was heavy as you can imagine, I fell on the concrete thing and broke my front teeth. It was bad with blood everywhere, my teeth lose and useless. They were not my baby teeth unfortunately, I was reminded of the fact 20 years later when the surgery was very much needed. They explained that some sort of injury happened in the past…

Other than that I loved the time and days from first to third grade, I attended the school with a musical bias, it was just what the doctor ordered. We had music or dance class every day. At school we had our academics teacher, a lady, and a music teacher, who was a guy. My teachers were really nice to us, always helpful and friendly, I captured that very well. As far as I remember myself I hardly ever had a teacher who wasn’t just awesome, I maybe had one or two considering the fact that we moved a lot and I changed schools every year or two.

After the third grade we moved back to Ukraine, it was quite a change. My sister was born in Novorossiisk and the whole family dynamics changed. Due to my parents breakup, we moved back to Donetsk leaving my stepdad behind. The whole city of miners literally stank. Everything was covered with grey ash, I kid you not. The air quality was poor due to heavy industry plants here and there. Coal mines were big back then, you didn’t need education to work there and make good dough. So it attracted workers to the area. My mom worked from home round the clock and my brother helped her out. That year he went to the 8th grade, I went to the 5th: we made it to the cold season and then skipped the rest of it. There were a few reasons for us to quit: taking a bus, waiting in the cold and packing take-away lunches. So we both stayed at home instead. The following year I went to the 5th grade again. My brother never made it back to school. He had to take his GED later in life.

That year we lived on the edge of Donetsk in a nine story building, the district was called Hrabary. I remember that the area was grey, industrial and ugly, there was nowhere to go. My mom made some clothes and we would sell it locally. We had one grocery store in the whole area with not much produce in it. It was a suburb with privately owned local gardens. We would go out to pick up apples and nuts from the ground. The gardens were rich in crops that year, so the locals didn’t mind us helping them finish the fallen fruit.

We had really nice neighbors though, it was a family of five in a three bedroom apartment. The father of the family was disabled, he couldn’t leave the house, and the mother had to take care of their three children on her own. She was a very positive woman always smiling and joking around. It was exactly the same as our situation except we had no father in the picture. He re-appeared later. My mom and brother were sewing to make a living, we sold some of the things they made. I loved selling, people would always buy from me, I was about ten or eleven. It was around the time my sister was two, two and a half. I stayed at home to cook, clean and babysit full time. It was fun, I loved it, she was a nice kid and I loved being a mother, so the school had to wait.

life, writing

If your life was a story genre…

  • If your life was a story genre, what would it be? I thought about it a lot actually. My first thought was probably a comedy with occasional tragic episodes, but the thing is the more I think about it, the more I understand that real tragedy never came close ( as much as I would love to imagine myself in the middle of a drama LOL ) It’s not a thriller for sure, although there are occasional thrills here and there. How about a romcom? This definitely something that may come close to reality and make you believe I am a romantic poetry writer which is actually true. But I personally see it more as a dark comedy with all kinds of twists and turns that are very beneficial at the end.
  • What if it was a poem? I would wanna try that. Have you ever read a biography in a poetic form? I haven’t, so why shouldn’t I try something new. Although wait a second, I just remembered Byron’s ‘Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage’. Such an awesome read.
  • What do you think of a Manga series? I don’t know enough about it to get anywhere close, I need to talk to an expert most probably. Yet potentially it could have been unusual at least. I don’t have many friends who are into this genre so perhaps I will have broaden my horizons to meet those folks.
  • Actually, I just had an idea, it really depends on who would tell my story, objectively speaking it could be anything between ‘Lives of the Saints’ to ‘Devil’s Diary’. Point of View is the key term here for the writer. I would like to know all the possible points of view but they will not be available until I die, and after that I probably won’t be able to access those any more. Life is unfair like that.
  • The best way to depict my life would probably be a cartoon, and honestly it’s hard to tell what happens in the end yet it is definitely entertaining, well, in humble opinion at least. Absurdism is way to go about it in a cartoon to get all the things even more exaggerated and taken out of proportion.
  • Adventure is another way to look at the same old same old. Every day is not like the one before, because you make crazy choices and have to deal with the consequences. I think the reader would probably love this genre the most, because I would skip all the boring parts to jump to the most outrageous and unbelievable parts here and there.
  • We could make it as boring as a documentary kind of writing to bore my readers to death. But it will hopefully never happen, not in my lifetime anyway, life is boring as it is I have to admit.
  • Folktale is another creative approach to depict the life of a hero or a villain, I am sure there are supporters of both extreme points while I am somewhere in between, all the heroism on my part has never exceeded the bare minimum of what’s expected of an average human being. About the villain side of my dark character I can talk at length but it will most probably be bragging, haha, exaggerating the truth to seem a bit more impactful than I really am.
  • Modern Myth is a new genre to me so I had to look it up, here’s what I found out: 1)Modern myths are myths in camouflage, and, as a result of this and their timelessness, self-referential; 2) Modern myths embody an unthought known, quite the opposite of their traditional. ancestors; and. 3) Unlike traditional mythologies, they are not consistent with each other. So I do fancy an idea of a modern myth as a potential biography writing approach. So many options, my mind boggles.

How would you present your story? What genre seems to be most fitting for it? Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments below

philosophy, poetry

Meditation XVII on March 17

‘No Man is an Island’
by John Donne

No man is an island entire of itself;
every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less,
as well as if a promontory were,
as well as any manner of thy friends or of thine own were;
any man’s death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind.
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
it tolls for thee.

Olde English Version

No man is an Iland, intire of itselfe;
every man is a peece of the Continent, a part of the maine;
if a Clod bee washed away by the Sea, Europe is the lesse,
as well as if a Promontorie were,
as well as if a Manor of thy friends or of thine owne were;
any mans death diminishes me,
because I am involved in Mankinde;
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.

Devotions upon Emergent Occasions
John Donne

People usually think that the phrase ‘No man is an island’ comes from Shakespeare, as it sounds like it is one of Shakespeare’s many famous lines. It also sounds as though it may have come from the Bible. There are hundreds of quotations similarly mistaken as Shakespeare’s, such as “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned,” that comes from a Restoration play, The Mourning Bride by William Congreve

‘No man is an island’ is an idiom taken from a 17th century sermon by the Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral. The Dean happened to be John Donne, a clergyman who now, almost four hundred years later, is regarded as one of the greatest English poets.

It is often assumed that ‘no man is an island’ is from one of Donne’s poems: it’s ironic that though he is the author of some of the finest and most memorable verses in English poetry, this phrase, not from a poem, but a sermon, is the most famous quote from him. (Taken from

Teaching John Donne in high school was a blast, I loved his insights and imagery of his poetry. The ideas he presents are very modern in my humble opinion and very Buddhist if you don’t mind me using this term.

  • What do you think of the quote? Do you agree or disagree with John Donne and his sermon?
poetry, spring

What kind of flower are you?

  • Spring flowers are soon to bloom, are you ready for that? Are you feeling the vibe? BLOOM

Poem by me, photo by me.

I want you to know

I hope you grow slow

no time to waste

no need to make haste

just be here and now

you have to prosper somehow

live long and prosper, my friend

I hope to see you again

as happy as you can be

running wild and free

I want to hear your voice

this is my pleasure of choice

March 15, 2023

cooking, vegetarian

Easy Apple Pie Recipe

This recipe I got from a friend in the dorm where I lived as a student. We didn’t have access to the kitchen yet she managed to gain access somehow to bake this. It literally takes no time to make, I highly recommend it to beginners or people who don’t have much free time on their hands. Here you are,

  • Peel and slice thinly 4 apples, put them in a tin
  • Sprinkle them with cinnamon and/or nutmeg
  • In a bowl mix 0.75 cup sugar + 0.75 cup flour + 3 eggs
  • Add half a teaspoon of baking soda +vinegar. Pour the mix on top of the apples
  • Bake at 375 F for 25-30min in an oven.
  • Serve with ice cream and love.

If the apples are not sour, sprinkle them with lemon or lime juice. White or brown sugar can be sprinkled on the cut apples. Let me know how it turned out, feel free to ask any questions about the process or ingredients.

Baked apples are great for you because they contain iron, vitamin C and pectin. If you are gluten you may consider baking apples with cinnamon and raisins, they are a great compliment if you avoid white sugar. I love baked apples, they are quick and easy snack / dessert with minimum calories.

The saying goes ‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away’ for some reason I never doubted this, and after looking up some health benefits I found this: Cooked apples are a good source of vitamin C. Microwaved apples have 0.3 mg of vitamin C per 100 grams while boiled apples contain 0.2. Cooked apples also contain smaller amounts of thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6, folate, vitamin A and vitamin E. You are welcome to eat fresh or baked apples, apple ciders and juices.

Apples, apples

Good to eat

Apples, apples

Juicy and sweet

Pick them off a tree

Buy them at a store

Apples, apples

We want more.


Baking is a rewarding skill that will help you impress your boyfriend / girlfriend or their family members. It’s also a good thing to give to yourself because you are worth it. Don’t miss out on those rare opportunities to make your life better and stand out from the crowd. Dessert will make your life sweeter, trust me.