Joy Lane Happenings

Ukraine

This is the message I woke up to from one of my friend’s this morning. It’s translated from Ukrainian, and I’m leaving it mostly in it’s rough, translated form, some of which I don’t understand. She was at every camp I went to for almost ten years. I met her as a little girl and last saw her when she was engaged. Katy and I were invited to her wedding. She’s in Western Ukraine with her children and husband after having fled Kyiv, so receiving this knowing where she is and that it’s not covered in the news is really...

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My Friends in Ukraine

A bomb exploded in the backyard of one of my friend’s homes, a few meters from her apartment building. The shock wave shattered her windows and blew her doors off. The glass lacerated her face. She is stitched up now and friends came to get her and bring her somewhere safer. She lives in Chernihiv. Thank you to our friends who are posting about Ukraine. Thank you to our friends who are commenting sunflowers, texting, reacting, and setting aside their normal posts to push Ukraine to the forefront. Thank you to our neighbor who spray painted the Ukrainian flag in...

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Windows

Woke up at 5 am unable to sleep anymore to a newsfeed of Ukrainian friends who are facing explosions in their hometowns. How do you message old camp friends—people you had water balloon fights with, did skits with, and roasted marshmallows with—when they are in a war zone? I have no idea, but I messaged anyways. To ask if they’re safe, to ask about their families, to see if there’s fighting in their neighborhoods, to know where they are taking shelter. I want so badly for them to know that I care. And the messages came flooding back. Pictures of...

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Windows

Woke up at 5 am unable to sleep anymore to a newsfeed of Ukrainian friends who are facing explosions in their hometowns. How do you message old camp friends—people you had water balloon fights with, did skits with, and roasted marshmallows with—when they are in a war zone? I have no idea, but I messaged anyways. To ask if they’re safe, to ask about their families, to see if there’s fighting in their neighborhoods, to know where they are taking shelter. I want so badly for them to know that I care. And the messages came flooding back. Pictures of...

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Kyiv

I was sixteen when the Orange Revolution happened in Ukraine. I had been working in a Ukrainian summer camp for a couple years, and I remember one of my friends, Anya, writing me a letter saying how proud she was of Ukraine and what it signified for their independence. After that, I returned to Ukraine each summer and started helping with winter camps too during my school breaks throughout college. I’ve descended those long, apartment building tall escalators into the Kyiv metro maybe a hundred times. Do I have friends that are refugees now? Yes. Do I have friends whose...

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