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"Never say never!"

Natalia Lytvyn, 24 August 2023


I begin my story with these words, because things can happen in the life of any person, not that they are not expected, but simply unexpected, which can turn your fate 360 degrees. This is what happened to me, when I was receiving a B2 Spanish language certificate from the Cervantes Institute in Kyiv back in 2018. I skeptically said: "Okay, I got the certificate, what's next? Anyway, I'm not going to live in Spain, especially since Spanish is just my hobby! And here I am in Spain, I have lived here for almost a year and I have wonderful friendships with the local people and, in addition, I started my research work with the Jaime I State University of Castellón thanks to the ease of communication and knowledge of the Spanish language. But everything is in order!

On February 18, 2022, having a plane ticket to Valencia, I packed only one backpack (hand luggage), since on March 1 I had to return to Kyiv and continue my work at the university. In addition, I had a return ticket and had plans to visit my Spanish friends, as they say, "visit" for just one week. On February 24, I was horrified to be informed about the terrible events in Kyiv and the vicinity of Kyiv. It was not a terrible dream it was a terrible reality! But, I was not surprised, although it was scary and painful. Back in December, I heard gossip more than once, on the sidelines, about a possible Russian attack on Ukraine, and this was said by military personnel. That is, somewhere I had hope that this would not happen, but common sense suggested that it was very real. I remember that at the time of departure, I felt anxiety in the depths of my soul.

During my long stay in Spain, I faced a number of problems, but the main problem was adaptation to new conditions and, most importantly, constant worries about the fate of my family, relatives, friends, colleagues, people who went through these torments when our loved Ukraine was, in fact, completely smashed, but was able to withstand this blow thanks to our spirit and our psychological stability. I saw how difficult it was for our Ukrainians to adapt to new conditions, especially without knowing the language, but people simply had no choice, they went to where there was a possibility of salvation. I became a member of the "Red Cross" organization and more than once helped Ukrainian people with translations into Spanish, and thanks to my scientist friends, I got in direct contact with Jaime I University in the city of Castellón.

The management of the university understood our tragedy, provided all the opportunities for work, namely, a computer, an office, access to the library, a gym, where I was able, despite everything, to conduct classes with my Ukrainian students online and was included in the international group of history researchers, where she proposed a joint project of cooperation between Ukrainian and Spanish researchers. Therefore, from the bottom of my heart, I want to thank all the caring people abroad who supported our compatriots in this difficult time, and international organizations such as the Red Cross, volunteers, and ordinary people who helped with clothes, medicine, shelter, and most importantly, with words of support.