I wrap myself in a blanket and I go onto my chilly balcony with a cup of tea to sit and watch the building across the street bright with light. The power outages are still pretty regular, these lights most likely will go out in several hours, but I hope the people there can take showers, cook some food, do some laundry, charge their gadgets. This is hard, and it's gonna get worse. We know that they'll keep smashing our infrastructure, we know we won't have power for weeks at a time in winter. We know. We're ready. We still choose to be without russia. They're not even hiding that they're doing this to pressure us into accepting their ultimatum, but what they don't realize is that we've survived everything they've thrown at us so far, we'll survive this winter, and after we survive all of it any sort of "negotiations" is gonna be a spit in the face of both us and our partners - so honestly, they're just hammering nails into their own coffin. They did not understand us 9 months ago, and they still do not understand us now.

In other news, I caught a terrible flashback to Feb 24 a few days ago. I woke up from an explosion at 6 am, and it sounded just as distant and just as loud as that day. There was no air raid alarm. Sometimes they miss a rocket and then turn the alarm on after the hit, but they did not do it this time. So I assumed it was either the sound of UAF destroying another sea mine that washed ashore or they shot down a drone (sometimes if it's a reconnaissance drone, they don't even turn the alarm). Turned out it was a hit on infrastructure, but regardless, I was already up, scrolling the news.

Later that day I went into a grocery store and they had no power, but a few registers worked on generators. There was a special station where people could come and charge their phones for free. For some reason, there were a lot of people, and only one register had a working terminal, so it had a long line (I am so used to paying for everything with my phone that I don't even remember the last time I touched cash, so I had to get in that line). Standing there in semi-dusk with nervous cashiers and people running around, hit me with the same feeling of terror and uncertainty I had standing in the same store on Feb 24. When I learned that the register I initially chose did not accept cards, I stood aside trying to figure out what to do and where the nearest ATM was when a lady noticed me and probably guessed my conundrum then walked up to me all the way from across the store specifically to tell me about that one register that accepted cards. It made me remember the lady who ran to get me a loaf of bread while I stood in line on Feb 24. Usually, people here are shy to interfere with another person even if it's to offer help (that's why if you're ever in Ukraine and you need help - please ASK for it, people will be relieved that they are not imposing themselves on you), but at a time like this, we are more proactive at helping each other organize. I hope this habit stays - it makes for a nice society.

Other than that it was a gloomy rainy day, I was helping an old lady with groceries and some chores. I don't remember if I ever told you about her, she was a part of my February 27 story, the day I still cannot bring myself to write about for some reason. Long story short, back in February life was completely frozen. Nothing worked. My friend from Lviv has a grandmother here. They used to order her deliveries from grocery stores, but since deliveries did not work, and she also needed medicine on top of that, she asked me to bring her some food and meds. I started visiting her regularly. She is one of those old people who like to talk A LOT and non-stop, but I liked keeping her company, feeling like if I can bring her some comfort then I have to do it. Eventually, she wanted to thank me and offered to teach me art. Turned out she was an artist with 40 years of experience teaching at Art Academy. If you remember I have just had a fallout with my previous mentor so that felt just like a butterfly-effect / destiny / movie-level of coincidence. Now I visit her each week and help her with groceries and some minor chores, and she teaches me art, and I think we've become quite good friends.

It gets dark early so as I was returning home at about 6, it was already pitch black, and with streetlights turned off and half the city not having power + rainy weather, dark means DARK. I was looking at the building counting the windows that had their lights on and feeling so bad for the windows that didn't. And I wished strength and safety to my people - and death to russians. It'll get worse. But we will stand.