I got acquainted with Viktoria through her roommate, Yulia, on the 27th of November at her apartment. She opened the door, greeted me warmly and disappeared right away, only to bring me slippers as the floor was cold. She prepared a pot of coffee with mint chocolates and we started the conversation.
Viktoria came to Canada in August of 2022 leaving her husband, parents, brothers and a sister back in Ukraine. She comes from Vyshgorod, a quiet town near Kyiv. As she was telling me about her relatives, she would often tear up. Her husband and her brother are in the army with no formal training, her sister works as a journalist on the front lines. With the bombardments in November and the outages of electricity, she cannot reach her family sometimes. Tears come down her eyes again.
Back in Ukraine she worked for L’Oréal and she was fortunate to get a job in the head office in Montreal. Viktoria takes French classes every weekday; her schedule is gruelling at times but still she sees this as a great opportunity. She tells me that not everyone is so blessed and that she feels guilty sometimes of her fortune, just like her roommate Yulia, while her loved ones are living the horrors of war back home. However, here she can send her earnings back to Ukraine which is much needed. She looks out the window and her eyes are watery again. As I prepare my camera, I realize that we lost all the daylight while chatting.