My house is your house

Veronique said to me: “We want to tell you the story of our Ukrainians, but you don’t say our name, we don’t do this to get flowers … A deal?” I said: “Agreement.”

Posted at 5:00 am

Veronique and her boyfriend Simon own a house somewhere in Montreal. yard. In the yard is a tree with a rope full of knots, for their two daughters to swing and cling to with their feet.

the house is big. And when the Russians attacked Ukraine, when they saw the devastation, when they saw families fleeing from the bombs, Veronique and Simon felt helpless, like everyone else.

As a man, a woman, what do you want to do to hold back the date pincers?

Nothing, you can’t do anything.

The denunciations of men and women of good will, all over the world, have no bearing on the geostrategic seed-gauging contests of the megalomaniacs who run the world…

Veronique: “I told my friend: I want to welcome Ukrainian refugees …”

Simon said, “Okay, go ahead. The couple agreed to take in a mother and child, and thought they would stay in an empty room upstairs. His small contribution would be to try to restore order in the world.”

And one thing leads to another, word of mouth – someone who knows someone who knows a Ukrainian seamstress (I was saying something leads to something else) – we showed Véronique and Simon to welcome a Ukrainian woman who was soon to come to Montreal with her child …

Then, the day before, the lady called us and told us it was no longer working. But she was desperately looking for a family to welcome a Ukrainian family, father, mother, their two daughters … and a 20-month-old boy.


Simon and Veronique looked at each other: Christy, we’ll put them in place, we have no place …

They were going downhill.

Then the contact sent them a description of this Ukrainian family. The two girls? They are exactly the same age as my daughters Simone and Veronique, in a few weeks…

The oldest Ukrainian couple named Sofia.

The first name of the eldest Simon and Veronique: Sophia.

If it is not fate, then this …

Well, there, Simon and Veronique went downstairs, and looked at the layout of the place, and wondered if, by packing a little bit of furniture, we couldn’t…

Photo by Dominick Gravel, LA PRESSE

When they left Kyiv, the young Ukrainian family first fled to the Yulia family’s cottage.

maybe you can be.

Thus, for two weeks Oleksiy and Yulia and their children Sophia, Barbara and Andrey lived in the basement of the Montreal house of Veronique and Simone.

During the week, Ukrainians live in the basement. They have access to the kitchen, on the ground floor, the two families live parallel. On Saturdays and Sundays, the two families rub shoulders on the ground floor and in the yard, and eat meals together.

Véronique says: “The idea is that we don’t step on each other’s toes. For it to continue…”

I recently went to visit the two families in the courtyard of Veronique and Simone. Girls were running everywhere, little Quebec girls and little Ukrainians who looked like four sisters: dark hair, brown eyes, the same inexhaustible energy.

Photo by Dominick Gravel, LA PRESSE

“I miss home,” Yulia says.

Oleksii does well in English. For Yulia, it is even more difficult. Fortunately, there Translated by Google, On the phone. They told me about the shock of February 24 when Russia invaded their country. Yulia: “It was the sound of the bomb that woke us up. Feeling: disbelief first. I must note that before the invasion, in Ukraine, very few people believed that Putin was not a deceiver. Oleksiy: “At worst, we told ourselves, he will try Take Donbass…”

Except no, it was an all-out war, with the ambition to steal all of Ukraine from the Ukrainians, and to capture Kyiv within two days.

They told me of leaving the outskirts of Kyiv with three backpacks and their three children, and a flight to the Yulia family’s chalet, a chalet that was already full on their arrival, full of family, friends, and strangers. They told me that at first, there was nothing to eat, and we had to beg in the neighborhood …

Oh, I forgot. Oleksii is a biologist. Worked in in vitro fertilization, in three centers around Kyiv. He took some time to go down to the cabin, because he decided to go and freeze the embryos, and, feeling responsible for the dreams of parents – clients of the mentioned clinics …

Photo by Dominick Gravel, LA PRESSE

Oleksiy, a biologist, was offered a six-month contract at a fertility clinic in Montreal.

The chalet – the dacha, as they say – was packed.

” how it was ? “

The Ukrainian searches for his words, and fails. He pulls out his phone and finds Translated by Googleenters the words, and shows me the translation:

“The problem unites people! Everyone wanted to survive. There was only solidarity. »

The train to Poland, the Ukrainians of fighting age, asked to leave the train at the border, and go home. Oleksiy managed to leave Ukraine for only one reason: he has three children. Under the ban on the three children, you were prohibited from leaving the country.

After Poland, we had to decide where to go, Oleksiy says. Denmark? Mexico? United State ? Canada? The biologist sent letters to all his foreign acquaintances in the world of fertility. It was Montrealer who responded, offering him a six-month contract here …

What followed was a long, bureaucratic geographic crossroads – from Poland to Slovakia, through Austria, Germany and France – to get papers on Canada.

They finally landed on May 9, heading to Blainville, for temporary accommodation. On the twelfth, Oleksii was at work, fertile, in a clinic in Montreal …

I listened to them, and I had a headache in front of their flight, in front of the turmoil this family has been through since February 24th.

Véronique and Simon served raw vegetables and sausage, and then the young girls stopped running in the yard to come eat. Oleksiy showed me photos of family life in Ukraine, before and after the invasion. He praised the generosity of people who, like his hosts, welcome and help people like himself and his family. Yulia wanted to say something, and she was trying to find her words, so I told her: “Go Translated by GoogleJulia…”

I wrote lyrics, and showed me the screen: “I want to study, because I am depressed and miss home. But we cannot go home. »

She wants to learn French as quickly as possible to integrate.

Photo by Dominick Gravel, LA PRESSE

Sofia has a great time in Veronique and Simone Square.

In the courtyard of Simon and Veronique the Great, I watched them, these two families. I wrote it all, the little cries of joy from four little girls running around and the parents’ words, beautiful and terrible. And I thought of Gilles Vinault’s words, as so often when it comes to those people from everywhere who land here, for a thousand reasons…

From this one great country
I scream before I shut up
For all the men on earth
My house is your house
Between its four walls of ice
I put my time and space
To prepare the fire place
to mortal horizon
And people are of my race

Yulia, I have translated these words for you, so that you can read them in this column, I hope they calm your grief, which I know is immense:

цієї великої самотньої країни
Я кричу, перш ніж замовкнути
Усім людям на землі
Мій дім-це твій дім
Lyrics meaning: його чотирма стінами льоду
Я вкладаю свій час і свій простір
Щоб підготувати багаття, місце
Для людей горизонту
А люди моєї раси

long live freedom. Long live the brothers.

And have sex with Putin.

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