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Ludmyla and Oleksandr

Ludmyla: All my childhood, I lived on Predslavynska street in a quiet and cozy yard where you can walk down to the cathedral. Then my dad got a room near the subway station “Pechersk.” He could choose the window side. And what a pity, he chose a room with the view of a highway. The sound of cars was awful, it was hot in summer, and you couldn’t open the windows because of the noise. But my dad liked sitting and observing the cars’ flow. When I got married, our family took a turn for a flat, and my husband and I got a flat on Obolon’ (residential aria of Kyiv), where I still live. There was only one bus routing from Podil to Obolon,’ and it was always full of people. But we really liked living on Obolon’, we walked a lot and swum in the lake.

Oleksandr: I came to Kyiv after the army. During the war, my father was injured, and he got to Baku. During his recovery, he was forced to stay there for work. And who could not obey then? Despite all our family being from Ukraine, one part was from the Hmelnytsk region, and another was from the Kirovohrad region. Ukraine always attracted me, so finishing construction school, I took my documents and went to fix myself in Kyiv. At first, I lived with my uncle on Petra Zaporozhtsia street and then at the dormitory on Tupoleva street, 16E. There were six of us (my wife, our children, and I). And in 1985, we moved to the flat on Troeshchyna (a residential area on the outskirts of Kyiv). There were our relatives nearby, and we could swim in Desna.

For now, our favorite district of Kyiv is Hidropark. It is the greenest one. We spend here all our weekends as we dance here. We come here in any weather.

Ludmyla: In summer, music is played from 5 pm till 9 pm, in winter square dance also works. We just shovel the snow and dance wearing coats.

Oleksandr: In 2011, my wife passed away, and some strange sores sprang out. I left Kyiv for a few years, went to my sister in Baku, and then visited another sister. I always loved music, played the guitar, and always loved dancing as I always danced for myself, but I never did it on a professional level. Then I saw an announcement in a newspaper that a Club of war veterans and labor holds a dancing group with people of different age on Bastionna street.

I came for the first class on the 23rd of February, Defender of the Fatherland Day in post-soviet countries. Women congratulated men and gifted everyone with a chocolate medal on that day. And somehow, it happened that Ludmyla congratulated me. That’s how we met.

Ludmyla: When I saw him, I understood that he was a newbie, he was told to learn tango moves, poor man, he stood separately from everyone and tried to learn moves. I felt so sorry for him, so I suggested that he join the group for newbies. So I brought him to this group and started looking for a good companion for him. And frankly, all women there were inexpressive and clumsy. So I approached one tiny woman and asked her to take him as a partner for dancing. And she replied: “No way, I have a husband!”, so I had to stay in their group and teach him dancing, although I always danced on my own.

When he smiled at me…How could I not fall in love? That’s how a dance brought us together in 2016.

I divorced my husband long ago when I was 46 years old, and now, I am 80. All that time I was alone, once a decade I fell in love, and my soul blossomed like a flower, but it was always one-sided love. So I got used to loneliness and never suffered because of it. I had relationships with dance. And I also started dancing late, at once after I divorced. I always dreamed my daughter would dance, but she gave up. So out of despair, I decided to fulfill my dream on my own.

Oleksandr: What is the main thing about a person? Soul. I will be thankful to Ludmyla all my life for having her nearby. The main thing is that you respect each other and have joy, love, and happiness. Two people are always better. You feel a shoulder and the hand of a close person.

Ludmyla: We have mutual understanding, common views about politics, same taste in music, dances, and literature. We love Kyiv a lot. I never thought about leaving this city. The only thing I regret is that someone built a lot of cafes in Hidropark. Let it be. But the music here is so awful! How do their eardrums not rupture? It is very harmful to an organism to listen to such a piece of music as it is only some primitive pops. I block my ears on purpose not to hear all of this. Who should we inform to stop it somehow?”

Ludmyla and Oleksandr


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