Everything What’s Going On

I have five blog posts in drafts which I panned to finish over the weekend, and they are not going to be finished. The current situation, and the ignorance of many regarding the situation does not let me focus on anything else. It’s not like there is nothing else in my life. I just can’t make myself to talk about all the rest of it…

My City, My Love is Badly Wounded

I should probably save all these photos because I am not convinced they will stay on the Tribune’s website for long. I will do it tomorrow. For now, I am just reposting the links… Mayor Lori said she is giving the protestors some time to peacefully disperse. Still, with all the bridges up and all the public transport halted, I am not sure how it will be possible.

Right now, I am blaming myself for letting it go. When I heard some people making comments about being afraid to take the Green line because there are all these black people on the trains, I would turn away with disgust but often comment little or nothing. I thought that there is no point in arguing with these people and that they will just die away because they are incurable…

These people may be incurable, but I should never let it go. I should never have given anybody the idea that they can say all these things, and think it’s a joke.

How will we rebuild ourselves? And before that – how will it end? How will this night go? Will we be able to heal? When and how?

My people. My city. My love. My soul.

Continue reading “My City, My Love is Badly Wounded”

Eyes Update

Another friends and family update. For the past month, I was learning to wear contact lenses again. It was very different from my previous experience because my eyes are getting dry fast. First, I was freaking out to put the contacts in and to take them out, because the implants are so close to the surface. Also, I started from just two hours, as I was doing thirty-eight years ago, when I started wearing contacts for the first time.

Another problem was that I wore hard contacts for thirty-eight and a half years and the soft ones just for four months. I was having trouble with soft contacts for most of that time, and now, after four months interval, it was even more challenging. It’s only through the past week, that I became more confident in putting the contacts in and taking them off, and that my eyes are not so dry all the time. However, I still do not wear contacts for the whole day. The good part is that with implants, I am -4, not -14.

Yesterday, I went to my next post-surgical appointment. The goal was to check whether I need a removal of the film over my implants, and as expected, I need it. There will be two procedures, one next Thursday, and the second one a week later. After that, I should go to my regular eye doctor and hopefully will figure out a more accurate prescription. She should be open by then. As for my retina, it looks like the problems which were likely to emerge, emerged indeed. Again, not like ai did not know that my left eye is only half functioning, but it looks like fixing it is not an option but rather a necessity. I was scheduled to go to the retina doctor on July 9, but the surgeon asked it to be changed to ASAP, which will be six days after my second procedure. Then, I guess he will schedule surgery.

All of the above make my travel plans even more uncertain because now I need to plan around Brussels decisions, our internal regulations, my medical procedures, and Boris’. Fortunately, the airlines are extremely flexible now, and you can change your flight plans an unlimited number of times as close to the flight as possible. So we will see what the retina doctor will say, what EU will say, and whether there will be flights with less than twelve hours connections.

State of Mind Update

Sometimes, I feel good. There are moments when I feel calm and content; when I can say to myself – I am feeling good.

But if I will be honest with myself – I am not the whole person now. I think that the primary reason for that is that other activities can’t replace the activities I had to cut. I enjoy all the things I can still do, and there are plenty, I was delighted with how I’ve spent the Memorial Day weekend.
But there are many things in all areas of my life which are currently off-limits.

I know that people hate what somebody says: “I want my life to be back to normal!” I do not think you should hate others for saying that. I think that everybody, including those who understand the necessity of the quarantine measures, would rather have their lives differently.

Although the EU is gradually relaxing the travel restrictions, the current regulations still do not allow me to go. The wording is extremely confusing, especially because now the “internal borders” are reinstated. I had to write a formal request to the Finnish Border Control, they replied with a lengthy and still not very clear message. I had to read the border crossing regulations of other EU countries to understand what it all means :). Now we are waiting for the next revision, which should appear by June 14. Some hints are indicating that I will be able to travel after that because they promise “more options for family travel.” I think that current restrictions on immediate family members of permanent residents to cross the external border are the only family restrictions in effect.

The thing is, however, that until the whole world is cured, there is no single country which can be OK. The world as a whole needs to come out of that crisis. It is not a competition. A single country can safe their citizen lives, but it can’t win solo. It was to be a world-wide effort.

As for me, I am going to continue to embrace all the good things in life which are still available and are becoming available. I am writing about good things (most of the time) not because no bad things are happening around, but because good things help me to move forward.

Oh, and did I tell you that Vanille Chicago is back?! And they are going to deliver my postponed order the upcoming Friday! Can’t wait!!!

Daycare Pictures

Two pictures taken at Vlad’s and Anna’s daycare (aka Kindergarten)

Anna and Vlad are first from the left in the first row, and their later best friend Kolya is a second from right in the upper row. Vlad and Anna just turned three, Kolya is almost a year older. Interestingly, I remember all of the kids, their characters, but I do not remember any other names.

Vlad and Anna are dressed in “humanitarian aid,” and Anna wears shorts which was not common for the girls at that time. Almost everybody else wear the clothes from the stores, as nice as their parents could get. The boys wear button-downs and dark shorts, which was a standard, and most of the girls wear dresses and tights.

My historical posts are being published in random order. Please refer to the page Hettie’s timeline to find where exactly each post belongs, and what was before and after.

Soviet Special Ed Schools: What was Wrong

After I posted about Igor’s school, I kept thinking about what I considered wrong about that school. As in every other school, there were some good teachers and some bad teachers. The classes were small; the kid’s needs were addressed. Still, there was something fundamentally wrong in how we, the parents, the children, and the teachers were thinking about it. 

On the one hand, it was considered shameful to admit that your child is attending a school “for special needs, whatever these needs would be. A parent would be reluctant to say what kind of school is their child attending. On the other hand, the staff was constantly promoting the idea that these kids are so lucky because “in a regular school,” nobody would take care of them, and they won’t be able to learn. I remember teachers disciplining students saying that if they don’t behave, they will be sent to “a regular school.”

The students felt simultaneously deprived and lucky, being continually reminding them that “the government provides,” pumping up the sense of entitlement. Also, they had limited contact with the outer world, which would be a case in any boarding school, multiplied by their vision disabilities. 

And back then, I didn’t know how wrong it was, and I acted, and though, and felt like all other parents of children with disabilities (except some brave souls, but I was not one of them). I am just happy that the world started to open for me, and that little by little, I started to realize that things could be different. 

My historical posts are being published in random order. Please refer to the page Hettie’s timeline to find where exactly each post belongs, and what was before and after.

A Perfect Memorial Day Weekend (III)

When I was planning my long weekend, I planned for a long bike ride on Monday morning. Then, the forecast showed rain at 6 AM. I thought I will wait, but then I thought – what if it won’t rain at six, and instead will rain at eight? What a fool I would be then! I left at 5-40, and yes, the rain started at 6-05 :), so I had to come back. But after breakfast, it was beautiful outside, and I went for the longest bike ride of this season. Actually, I do not think I ever took such a long ride all by myself. I was not even sure how the paths are going where I was planning to go :). And I had a great time!

Continue reading “A Perfect Memorial Day Weekend (III)”

A Perfect Memorial Day Weekend (II)

I love summer in Illinois. I am not talking about just summer in Chicago, filled with all these amazing events and activities: music festivals, parades, markets, Crown Fountain, icecream at the River Walk, and the fireworks on the Navy Pier. Chicago summer is fantastic, but I also love Illinois summer away from the city. 

I love that it is hot. Yes, I know that many people hate the Midwest summer for being hot and humid. But I love it. Maybe, that’s because, since my early childhood, hot weather was a luxury. Something we didn’t get at home. You had to travel to The South. The South was almost as appealing as “zagranitza” (see related post). 

In any case, I love it when the outside temperature is in the lower 80’s. My picture of the perfect summer is the following. It’s warm enough that I can wear shorts and a sleeveless top. I am on my deck, or rather on the wooden steps of my deck, I am barefoot, and my soles feel the warmth of the wood. The mourning doves are mourning; I hear their uuu! uuu! The sun is not setting down yet, but it starts to go down, My back is feeling the door of my kitchen. It’s never extremely hot on my deck because the sun never touches it directly. And it’s that moment when I sit there and do nothing. No audiobook in my ears. No looking at my phone. Nothing, but the sun which starts to descent, and the mourning of the doves … 

Every year, the first day I can sit like this marks the arrival of summer. This year, it was so cold for so long that I could not even believe that this day will come, even a week ago. 

And now, for the fourth day in a row, we have a perfect summer. Each day of the long weekend was a gift! 

Here are some pictures of want I was doing on Sunday.

Very foggy morning, meeting a number of deers
Continue reading “A Perfect Memorial Day Weekend (II)”