"We had planned a wedding in May, but we got married on February 14th and came here on February 15th."

Hello. My name is Mihail Marchenko, I am 33 years old. On February 14, I came to Istanbul with my wife on February 15. My company sent letter and provided some money for everyone to relocate to Western Ukraine or other non sanctioned countries because staying in Kyiv and Kharkiv was too risky. We discussed this with my girlfriend and we decided that visiting other countries is a good option. There were separatists in Donetsk and Lugansk, and also in Kharkiv, but we weren't sure what was going to happen, but we didn't believe there would be a big war. We decided to go to Istanbul as it is very easy to come to Istanbul from Kharkiv. Before the war, we had two or three flights every day from Kharkiv to Istanbul. We had planned a wedding in May, but we got married on February 14th and came here on February 15th. I am currently a software engineer at my company. I work for established people in internal management activities, interviewing people, some skills of people, but I really want to get back to coding, because I think it's more useful right now, but I'm doing my best.

My wife, Maria (24 y.o.), works as a manager and continues to grow two or three projects, one of which is a US company, company. And I think one of them is Costa Rica. We have a house here. We rented a room in the hotel so we couldn't share it with our friends. We couldn't share it with each other, it just belonged to me and my wife. But there is another place that we use as an office and pay a monthly rent. We do our professional work online there I'm not sure how we're going on with our lives right now. We continue to work because we understand that it is important for Ukraine and we work in four Ukrainian companies. Companies pay salaries to our Bank of Ukraine accounts. We pay all the taxes we need. We're sending some money to help our military and for humanitarian aid. And I plan on continuing to do so to the end.

Istanbul is a very cool and beautiful city, but here we are more like tourists. We probably spend a few hours each weekend seeing the part of the city we live in. But we couldn't waste any more time. We don't really like working in Istanbul. That's why I think we care more like tourists. We have a job in Kharkiv and we continue to work on it. I attend meetings in Istanbul every day. When I have free time from work and meetings, I also try to join the volunteer center here. And I plan on continuing to do so until our last war is over. I live in Kharkiv and tried to share my house as it is close to one of the metro stations. It would be very useful to have the possibility to quickly go to the bomb shelter in the Metro. I shared my car with the district defense units and also yesterday or the day before the Kharkiv police came to my house to get my drone because it could be useful in city defense. This is my idea. I communicate with my friends who coordinate aid to the military and police, and we do it together. I love my home, but I don't know when you can go back there. My mother is still in Kharkiv. She does not want to see her man leave Kharkiv and Ukraine. He just moved into his cabin. It's like a country house near Kharkiv. It's like a small city, It has lots of food and lots of medicine. A safer place. My mom used to live close to the horror center and there were bombings and missiles etc. He felt a lot of guilt about it. I'm talking to him and trying to be helpful. But she doesn't want to go because her man is old. He could not go abroad, so they decided to stay. And I understand your decision. We also suggested he go there with my brother from Finland. But in any case, my mother and I, all want to be in Kharkiv. We want to rebuild Kharkiv because Kharkiv is a very beautiful and lovely city for me, for him. When we are done, me and my wife will go back to Kharkiv and try to support in rebuilding the city, make the city famous, beautiful and rebuild it again.

We do not plan to stay longer than what happened in Istanbul, Turkey, or other countries. It's really scary for me to go back tomorrow. I am not prepared to be a soldier and I am not a great driver to help a volunteer. And now I realize that there are so many good things I can do, to pay taxes, to help my mother, her husband, my wife's grandfather. These are the most important things I can do and help.