Heading out from our office down one of our city’s busiest streets, I
happened upon a lovely romantic couple who were ready and willing to be
caught on camera. Ivan, who is a 19-year old student from Russia stood
in the cold with his 19-year old Kyivian sweetheart, Olha who is also a
student and said, “This year, we are hoping to be able to continue
meeting each other on a regular basis. We would also like to find
better jobs and expand on some of the truly wonderful emotions we have
already experienced. As most of our 2009 dreams have already come true,
we are very positive about the upcoming year.” Ivan also admitted that
he thinks the country’s situation will definitely be better in 2010… He
says it a bit tongue and cheek, however, as he is still a citizen of
Russia. Perhaps we should enlist their optimism to ensure Ukraine’s
success as well!
The snowfall has only increased and yet we push on and in doing so, our
photographer Artem and I hook up with Anna, a 26-year old Human
Resources manager from Kyiv. She says, “I’m looking forward to lots of
changes this year and I’m sure that we all can make this year better if
we try a little harder. Personally, I’m waiting for another member of
my family to come into the world so I’m full of positive expectations.
Apart from that, a better job and a raise would be great motivation for
me to continue on the right track this 2010. So let’s hope this year
will be full of cheerful changes to make the years after stable and
The next bunch I was able to stop included three young friends who were quite ecstatic to be off and enjoying their winter break. Vadym (18), Vladyslav (17) and Natalya (18) all agreed that, “We want and need change and we hope that in 2010 there will be as many good transformations as can be imagined.” Vladyslav added, “As a young guy, I want to stay active and try out as many new things as I can independent of the situation in our country.” In congruence to what numerous men here in Ukraine already think, Natalya also added jokingly, “I want it all and even then just a little bit more!” With exception to that last comment, unfortunately, it would seem that even the younger generation has felt the difficulties of this last year and so they too are hoping for an easier 2010.
Sophiko is the next victim ending up on the gory pages of What’s On this week and as a 24-year old decorator, she’s got lots of fancy ideas which she is excited to share saying, “You are the first to ask me what I expect this year!” And continues: “Of course I want the situation to change - I want a better state of affairs and I truly believe that it will come about. For me personally, I am positive that 2010 will be full of excellent things as my dreams of getting engaged materialised last year and we will - hopefully – be getting married this year, so I believe everything will turn out fine. I would love to be able to travel and just live in the joy of my encouraging future, hoping that everyone would be so lucky in their own hopes and dreams.”
After talking to a handful of Ukrainians and realising that all of them in fact are overfilling with hopes, dreams and only positive emotions, me and my picture-taking partner decided to see if the optimism also extended to those who are not permanent citizens of this great country. Thirty-five year old camera man, Sum, shared his expectations for the upcoming year: “I’m pretty sure that the country will come out of the crisis this year and the life of every Ukrainian citizen will be better than in the last months. And with this great opportunity to speak to the Kyiv public, I would like to wish everyone many happy returns, with much happiness, joy and because your physical wellbeing is the most important of all, health of course! This year, be healthy and wealthy!”
And finally, seeing no one else who could offer a more accurate account not only of what Kyiv has been through, but what might yet happen, we caught up with the oldest of Kyiv’s citizens: Did Moroz. Meeting and greeting the kids on Maidan Nezalezhnosti, old Father Frost had this to say: “To be honest, the whole of 2009 turned out to be quite a difficult year. I think that our society is overwhelmed with political issues at the moment and so as people find they are more than tired of all this negative energy, they have forgotten how to feel happy. I am supposed to be a symbol of joy and change, but the negative affairs of state, the lack of positive attitude when it comes to non-political issues and the empty promises we hear all day and every day from those who have control of the country make Santa Claus himself rather depressed at times. So I’m hoping this year will bring us all a whole lot less to do with politics, more to do with money and in the process, make us a whole lot happier.” The granddaughter of dear old Did Moroz, Snigurka, didn’t take the question about what to expect in 2010 so seriously and like the joyful youngster she is, commented, “My main hope for 2010 is to finish my third year of University. Studying is getting harder and harder each day, but nevertheless, I believe in a bright future and hope that life will soon change, becoming brighter and more joyful.”
With the immortal words of two of the dearest figures in our culture today, we headed home with a bounce in our step, where the salted sidewalk bits would allow. I had another look over the comments I’d received and reflected that while most people didn’t see 2009 as one of the easiest years on record, almost everyone is full of hope and looking forward to a brighter future. And that’s the key.
Each one of us is our own architect. So regardless of the situation, put a little more effort into building a good life for yourself and those you care about this year helping to make 2010 great.
Happy New Year, once again!