Heart Full

When can we meet?

The message is from Alla, whose bright voice messages always made my day back in the Spring, when I helped her family of five find flights and a host.

We are opening our little bakery…we will be very glad to see you.

Another message from another family, who with my help, found their way to Canada from Ukraine.

Ric and I committed to a visit and drove the 45 minutes yesterday to where they are both living. We met in the bakery/café.

Hugs all around, and much elated chatter, and then we got down to the business of what we would drink.

“Maybe you would like the best tea,” owner Mykola asked, directing my attention to a box of teas. He proudly pulled out his phone and hovered over the product to translate the ingredients: ginger, lime, and honey. I was in.

The men settled on Americana coffees with steamed milk. We were too late for their famous macaroons, but did get some chocolate covered strawberries.

I’m so impressed by the ingenuity and resourcefulness of these people who with young families in tow are redefining their lives. At the end of the visit, Mykola pressed a box of ‘best tea’ into my hands and insisted I accept. We left with more hugs and thanks and then followed Alla home to meet her family and share a bowl of borscht. More engrossing conversation.

The flowers were from Alla – red and white for Canada, with Ukrainian berries.

As we drove home, Ric and I marvelled at the fullness of our lives. Yes, war is evil, but it has not daunted the spirit of these incredible people.

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Permission to write, paint, and imagine are the gifts I gave myself when chronic illness hit - a fair exchange: being for doing. Relevance is an attitude. Humour essential.

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