"Can I talk with my family ever again I don't know?"
Sometimes You take an impressive photo. It tells you that you have to keep doing that work. That's what happened this time. On my first visit to the protest area, I noticed a young girl with a small dog in her hand speaking into a megaphone in front of the demonstrators. After completing her speech, I asked him to pose for me with his dog. It was an impressive photo. The looks of the young girl and her dog, and the fact that their shared the same fate in a foreign country, impressed me. I showed her the photo and asked permission to use it on social media. "Sure," she said. That's when I learned that her name was Yara. I introduced myself and asked him to tell me her story. When I got the answer "not now", I didn't insist. He always came to later meetings with her dog. About a month later, I was pleased when she said that he accepted my offer and that we could talk. Then we did our interview. During the interview, she told that she came before because she loves Istanbul and that she did her job as a software engineer online remotely. She said she was in Istanbul during the Russian attack on Ukraine.
Here is the story of Yara and her dog.
"I live in Istanbul for one and a half years. I came here just because I like this city but all my family is in Ukraine and I wanted actually to come here. I was planning to go to Ukraine like these days and I was planning for my mom to come here to visit me. But for now, it's impossible. Last time I was in Ukraine in November. All my family was there, my brother, my mother, my dad, everyone. Also, I have two dogs there, and it is the saddest story for me every day. I'm thinking about this as I will never see my dog again because he's 13 years old. But now I have a new puppy here. This is making me feel a little bit better, not so lonely, as when you are so far from your family. I'm working for a Ukrainian IT company. I was not working for one month and it was because of war and some internal issues of my company. But now I'm working. I'm working as a software engineer and I'm working remotely. As soon as I got this job I moved to Istanbul. It was in November 2020. So originally I'm from Lviv, Ukraine and I was living there for 26 years. I was working before in Ukraine but when I got the remote job I just decided to try to live abroad. I wish my family could come here or anywhere else. They live in a safe place but also I was reading that today was some bombing there. And they don't want to go. My mom is telling me 'I have two dogs, how can I go'. My brother, is 31 years old and he cannot go outside of the country he has a family, wife, and daughter. And his wife was telling him also 'I will not go without him. I am calling them every day for few times. and this all night waiting until the morning to call your family again and hear that they are okay, they are safe, it's like a nightmare which I already used to it. It's like my daily routine. But the first days I could not even sleep because I don't know if I will talk to my family again tomorrow or ever again. As soon as this war will finish, I just want to go back to Ukraine, but I will not live there, that's for sure. I don't know how long time I will stay, but definitely, I will stay longer than always. Always I'm going there once in a few months for one-two week. But this time I will stay longer because. For now, all I want is to see my family, see my dogs, and feel that I'm not alone. You know to be so far it's killing because you're just helpless. Of course, we are doing whatever we can for Ukraine. We are helping. Also, we are going to protests. We are donating money for the army and for people who need it. Anyway, I'm thinking that I'm not doing enough because they are inside of war in this country, but I'm so far from them. Better I was there I think, but I don't know. Well, I don't know what will happen to me, what I will feel if they will destroy my city. Yes, they bombed Lyiv but not like others." "I suppose you came here one and half years ago. And you are a software engineer. Why did you choose Istanbul to work from here? Because it's a beautiful city, that's why. I always wanted to try to live abroad. Istanbul impressed me before I came here the first time. My friends were visiting here and I saw their photos, then I said one day I will live there and when I came the first time I understand for sure "Yes I will live here" and this stupid idea came to my mind and it became true. I was in Istanbul three times before I moved. The first time I was here was in July 2020 exactly after the quarantine finished. 1st of July Turkey opened borders for Ukraine, on the 3rd of July I was there already. I love to travel. I was traveling a lot before the pandemic. but because of the covid restrictions, I canceled like 8 trips and it was only in springtime 2020. So I started to travel to Turkey. My dog is just four months. I got here around 1,5 months ago. She is like my sunshine. At least, you know, these days I was feeling so bad and hopefully, I got her. Now I am working, before there were some so I need to pause my work because of the war. I'm working for Ukraine, I'm registered as a private entrepreneur, and I'm working officially, paying taxes for Ukraine. But my customers, are from the USA."