This past Monday morning at 1:00 am I picked them up at Logan airport. Maryna and her 16 year old son, Timur were waiting each with one medium bag of luggage and a set of golf clubs. They had flown in from Washington from Frankfort and departed from Bucharest, Romania, after taking a northern train from Sophia, Bulgaria. Before leaving Bucharest with his Mom, Timur was anxiously awaiting for her as she had taken a train from Kiev to meet him in Sophia, Bulgaria where he was staying safely with friends. From there they traveled back to Bucharest to fly to Frankfort. A United States Traveler was giving his air miles to Ukrainians.
Maryna showed me a picture of a flat that had been destroyed next to hers. The destruction in the city is appreciating daily as missiles land on homes. The city is a ghost town. The club where she managed several sports and coached tennis is now a Russian Command Center. Three million citizens populated Kiev. Not now. The Russian ground forces do not enter the city as they suffer great losses when they attempt to take it.
Timur is in the process of contacting golf courses in the area
and has made progress. I have a contact who is working on this. He may be teaching to juniors and training. He is listed as a scratch golfer and the number one ranked Ukrainian junior in the 16’s. He was was getting ready for international competition when the war began. Maryna worked from 7 am to 9 or 10 pm at night to fund his golf and extra schooling to learn English which he speaks quite well.
Maryna was former top five in Russia as a junior tennis player. Timur is an exceptional tennis player as well, but his first love is golf.
I’m learning a bit of Russian which is easily understood by Ukrainians. Learning Russian as an American is easier than learning the difficult annunciations of the Ukrainian language. They both enjoy my Coon Hound, Mandy and have met my son, Eric who lives with me. Eric is a tennis pro for the Marion Indoor Tennis Club, Menauhant Yacht Club, and the Boy's Tennis Coach at Falmouth High. This morning we ate rice with milk and sugar, bread with cheese and boiled eggs. It was explained to me that rice with milk is good for digestion and that left over food is given to the dog as a meal and given to stray dogs that roam Ukraine. Also, they compost for gardens. Timur, when seeing the heavy rain said to me, "Don't throw the dog into that." It is a Ukrainian saying that speaks of how one might discuss bad weather of the day. I had to explain that my dog dog has her own special food for sensitive stomach and skin. I could hardly explain it without holding back laughing. And they said the dog they had ate bread with cheese, rice with milk and boiled eggs. Nothing was ever wasted and their dog also enjoyed pizza from time to time.
I reached out to Oleksii, my tennis contact from the Ukraine who when we last spoke was in Chernivtsi. Chernivtsi is a border town to Romania. He’d like to be on the other side of the border but realizes he must stay. He has not signed into "the office" where you will immediately go into fighting service. He has not broken any law, it's not something he wants to sign up for and yet he cannot leave the country.
He is involved with some some sort of service in the town but of what I do not know.
He has already shared incredible information regarding the assessment of the war from inside the country. He’d rather be teaching tennis. I hope to hear from him again soon.
I'll update more later.