If you've read my blog since the beginning you know that I tried to document things chronologically since day 1 of the invasion, and then I got stuck on Feb 27 because it's a hard day for me to re-live. But it means that I left behind some events like the day ZNPP was taken hostage. That was one of the scariest days of my life, russian invasion included. It happened after dark, I was with my family, we were all cramped on these blankets on the floor in the hallway because it was early March, things were extremely uncertain and changed every second, stuff was exploding all around. I remember my parents snoring, and how happy that sound made me feel, because I was glad they could sleep and get some rest. While I was just lying there, doom-scrolling on my phone. And that's when I saw it: ruzzia was shelling ZNPP, the biggest plant in Europe.

I've been thinking of telling this story for a long time, and after all these months I still haven't found the words to describe exactly HOW terrifying it was. I grew up on stories of Chornobyl, I had a friend who was a child in a town near the Chornobyl plant during the accident, she has severe health issues, she's always in pain, and the doctors don't know why, she just lives in constant pain 24/7 for decades. Now imagine growing up with those stories, imagine being scared and exhausted a few days into the bloodthirsty invasion, and you read that those insane creatures are shelling a plant that's several times bigger than Chornobyl. You don't yet know that it's built with strong walls that can handle those rockets, and you're on the floor of your house, trying to figure out how much time you have to run (and where to) before you die.

Yes, obviously I imagined a nuclear blast burning me to crisps that first night, and I imagined my beautiful hometown turning to ashen remains from many of the post-apocalyptic movies and videogames. I even imagined surviving and unironically hunting for rats with other survivors... But again, even as I am typing this, it doesn't sound nearly as terrifying as how I actually felt, it sounds like a plot of some cliche movie - except it was real, and I don't know how to make it sound real to you. You just have to take my word for it: it was very-very scary.

Yesterday we received the news that ruzzian terrorists left ZNPP, but left a huge amount of ammo there. Later their propaganda posted that "Ukraine is planning to blow up the plant and blame russia" aka their way of announcing what they're planning to do without accepting responsibility. And I don't know what it's gonna be, because I understand nothing about nuclear power plants, types of reactors, and many other things involved. All I can do is read articles and listen to people, and all of those are NOT helpful, because they are extremely different.

Some say that since ZNPP is a lot bigger than Chornobyl the catastrophe is going to be that much bigger, too. And some use this as a reason why putin wouldn't do it: it might get NATO involved, and he's not stupid to provoke them (except that's exactly what I heard all February: "putin won't attack Ukraine, he's not that stupid." Turns out he is). Others say that since it's a plant, not a bomb, they'll be able to deny any responsibility, and NATO countries will once again express their "deep concern" and that will be the end of it. Some other people say that since it's a different type of reactor, the destruction will cover an area of a few dozen km, and we'll have to stay out of radioactive dust for around 48 hours inside our homes, and that would be it.

The last theory suggests that they would just turn the station off, meaning that huge amounts of cities (mine included) will be left with no electricity. So yeah, if you don't hear from me for a while, I'm either dead or have no access to the Internet - one of those two. I would much rather prefer the no-power option to ecological catastrophe. The hospitals will suffer without electricity, logistics, food and water supply... But I am willing to take that over nuclear pollution. We're Ukrainians, we have kitchen gardens and farms, and we're there for each other, we'll rebuild what needs to be rebuilt, we'll share food and medicine, we'll fix everything that can be fixed. We can't fix radioactive dust, we can't bring back lives. Anything other than that - we can fix.

So, in conclusion, we expect some huge tragedy today or within a few days. We also expect heavy shelling on August 24, Ukrainian Independence Day. We've been watching ruzzia pull ammo to our borders for weeks in preparation for this day. The bavovna* you can see is our special forces trying to relieve that day for us, trying to prevent deaths, to take away their ability to kill many civilians. Because ruzzian terrorists like their symbolic dates.


*Bavovna - explosions on russian-controlled territories. Ukrainian meme. It's a play on words. So, ruzzia doesn't want to call the explosions on the territories they control "explosions". Instead, they use the word "clap" (хлопОк), as in "A loud clap was heard in Crimea". Now, it's spelled the same way as "хлОпок" the russian word for "cotton", and in Ukrainian, the word for "cotton" is "бавовна" [bavovna], so that's how we've been trolling them, and we call all explosion on russian-controlled territories bavovna. That's why you might see a lot of art with cotton "flowers" in it. That's just Ukrainians trolling russians, who aren't even free enough to call things by their proper names.


All I can do now is wait. Wait for ZNPP to culminate one way or the other, wait for August 24 shelling. Wait and know I can't do anything. So. I'll go buy myself some iced latte in a nearby cafe that does amazing coffee, I'll pick up my package from post office with some cosmetic products, then I'll come home and prepare a nice relaxing bubble bath. I'll bring with me a bowl of grapes, I'll do a face mask, and a hair mask, and I'll watch Netflix and play some games on my phone while I wait and see if I die today.

This is the surreal stage of existence that I have entered. I'll talk about it more in my post about a week in Lviv (I have not forgotten, I'm just procrastinating), but here is a little spoiler: when I got on the train to Lviv, the train conductor knocked on each compartment and told us to close the blinds all the way down so the light doesn't come through, because if some russian drone/satellite/whatever sees us, they may try to bomb us. That might have been a hysterical reaction, but I found it so funny, that I was snickering for 20 minutes about it. I was on my way for a vacation and I had to close the blinds all the way down so I don't die. Isn't that abso-fucking-lutely ridiculous?

Something similar happened yesterday: I prepared myself some delicious bowl of ice cream with fresh raspberries and cantaloupe and they announced an air-raid just as finished making it. No reason not to eat my ice cream, right? So I brought my parrots, and pillows, and a tablet to my usual nest in a hallway, and I was eating my awesome ice cream and watching a cooking show on Netflix to this usual bone-chilling wailing of air raid alarms. And I caught myself thinking "This is actually quite cozy." And I started laughing again. It's a weird sort of feeling when you think that this is so fucking funny, but also messed up, and you want to text some friend of yours "hey, watch me, I'm eating ice cream in a hallway, let's see if I die before finishing it!" Only the rational part of you knows that nobody will laugh and there is something wrong with you for laughing, and if you think about it too hard you start crying instead...

So yeah, I don't know to unpack that yet. My therapist says we'll be sorting all this out AFTER the war, right now my goal is to survive it. So I'm off to get my coffee and my bath bubbles, and I hope to talk to you again soon.