Where would we be without our parents? Most probably not in the world. That alone is enough to be grateful to our mothers and fathers for life. If, on top of that, parents do everything in their power to enable their son to realise his dream, then I simply don't have the words.
Many of my close friends know that I am not a native German. Very few, however, know the story behind it. Even for me, who was there myself, it seems somewhat unreal. In retrospect, I try to form a picture of my time in Ukraine from faded childhood memories. About how my parents, Boris and Irina, gave up their existence and left the country with me by the hand.
It was a huge step that I only recently understood the significance of. If my parents hadn't dared to take this step, I might now have fallen victim to a senseless war as a soldier. Of course, no one could have foreseen that, but that does not diminish my gratitude in the least.
I vaguely remember boring-looking VHS tapes. Labelled "немецкий язык" - German language. Heavy language, as I was to discover. Not of interest to me at the time, especially as I had enough problems with Russian. It was only when I suddenly sat in a kindergarten and realised that I didn't understand anyone that things got serious. But fortunately I don't have enough memories of that either for it to bother me today. Somehow I seem to have learned...
My dad Boris and I at Disneyland. Because nothing is impossible.
It's a strange feeling growing up in a country whose culture you don't feel you belong to. A strangeness that permeates school, work and leisure. It gives you a reason to withdraw and remain among your own kind. Hard to imagine for all those who grew up where they were born and whose parents speak the same language as the teachers at school.
But it is probably precisely this experienced strangeness that makes me who I am today. And it allows me to look beyond the borders of society, in which we have to see where we are every day. Such experiences are labelled as "bad" by the people who experience them and also by outsiders. As undesirable and to be avoided if possible. But it is precisely these experiences that allow us to understand what it feels like to be "foreign" and different. And only when we have felt this in our own bodies can we feel for the thousands of people who live in a world every day and do not feel they belong to it. My parents accepted this risk and this insecurity, above all to be able to offer their children a future that they themselves did not have. For me, that is goodness in its purest form. And since I decided to take a risky turn in my life, I feel the support of my parents. Like a safety net that hangs under every stupid idea I have. And that makes me feel I can trust myself and the world. The fact that it was my parents who pushed the crowdfunding with a sum of €5,000 honours me greatly. But, in truth, that is just the tip of an iceberg of support, trust and love.
Dad & Mum, thank you so much, I love you.