‘My dream wedding to design – if money is no issue! – is in different shades of white. I would decorate the walls with fabrics in various textures and tones of white. I simply love to decorate with fabric because it gives such a dynamic touch. I would roll out a white carpet – rather than red – and drape white cloth around the table tops and chairs. I would dress the bride in a simple gown. Classic lines, elegant white fabric, embellished with stitching and pearls, and partly smooth.
Our pastor used to say: ‘Girls don’t really need any education after high school. They should marry and have children.’ What I really wanted was to become a designer and to decorate weddings. But life intervened. My husband asked me to marry him when I was eighteen. I wasn’t in love with him. Yet my heart said: he is the one. I said yes. It’s the setbacks and challenges in our lives that have taught us how to love each other.
None of my three pregnancies were easy. My health was poor right away and I needed medical care. We couldn’t afford it because neither of us could find work. We learned to love each other by needing each other. My husband was incredibly sweet and caring for me during that time.
Now we have three kids. Sometimes I wonder if Ukraine is the best place for them. Our economy has very little to offer, and now there is war. It makes me so sad. I want them to have a better life than mine. I want them to be able to study and travel.
Last year my husband and I thought up a wild plan. We were going to sell our car and use the money to buy a visa and tickets to Switzerland and pick berries there for a couple of months. We would use our earnings to fix our house and to save up for college. It was such a scary decision! When we had decided we would do it, it turned out the car was too old to be worth enough money. We’re selling its parts now to make a living. It was a huge disappointment for me.
I have a new dream for our family now. I’ve learnt that you can be tempted to give up, but that you don’t have to give in to that temptation. I hold on to hope, especially for my kids. I believe that they will get education. I even have faith that one day I will design weddings for a living. Now and then I design one already. I can’t tell you exactly how many I’ve designed - more than ten. I know I will design my dream wedding one day. I cannot say when, but I just know that I will.
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