Refugee notes: How I ended up in Northern Ireland

As you know, I am from Crimea. And this means that my main documents could hypothetically be either a passport of Ukraine or a passport of Russia. But in any of these cases, to get into the UK, I needed a visa. However, the UK government is strict about issuing visas and for me to get a visa here seemed like to fly into space.

my vision of the UK before coming here πŸ˜…

So I didn’t even see the UK as the part of the world I was going to go. But my friend found an interesting job option here just for six months and offered it to me. I only had to fill out the paperwork and file it with the embassy. I didn’t need to provide information about bank accounts or rent a house because my employer was appeared as a sponsor.

Difficulties I have encountered:
1.I had to accept the fact that this wasn’t the job I was used to (I was a teacher in Crimea). So it was more of a job that locals don’t want to do.
2.I was afraid of the refusal due to the fact that I am from the Crimea, which has been under sanctions since 2014
3.Quite expensive tickets and all of them with multiple transfers.
I agreed to these conditions, got a visa surprisingly very quickly and without problems, bought a ticket and arrived first in London then to Belfast and finally to the town where my job was.

I was sure I would go home in six months and didn’t consider other options. However, life makes its own adjustments and where the end of my story should have been, it turned out to be its beginning…

59 Comments

  1. rose2852 says:

    Can you share what job you do in Belfast? Or am I jumping the gun on a future post?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Sofia says:

      I don’t work now. I’m not allowed to πŸ™„

      Liked by 1 person

      1. rose2852 says:

        I’m so sorry to hear that. Keep writing, you never know where that will lead you.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. I must admit, I’ve been curious about how you as a refugee, ended up in Northern Ireland. Thank you for sharing. I hope you find a job doing what you obviously love and that is teaching. 🌹

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Sofia says:

      Thank you πŸ€—

      Like

  3. rhamhona says:

    Adapting to a new environment will be tough, but always believe that you can and things will be better. πŸ™πŸ»πŸ˜Šβ€οΈ

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Sofia says:

      Yes I hope so πŸ™
      Thank you πŸ€—

      Liked by 1 person

  4. rajkkhoja says:

    Very nice. Good your experience. You excepted.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Sofia says:

      πŸ™‚

      Like

  5. elsabeskryf says:

    A whole new world…. the song come into mind. May you be happy where you are in your life now.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Sofia says:

      Thank you πŸ€—

      Like

    1. Sofia says:

      Thank you! πŸ€—πŸ”…

      Like

  6. Dear Sofia, I am sorry to hear that you are not allowed to work now. If it is possible for me to send you a little money, let me know how, privately via the contact page on my blog. Or, if you prefer, tell me your favorite charity in Ukraine and I will send it to them. Your new blog is touching, and important. I will share it so that more people can understand Ukraine’s people better, and to help other refugees connect with you. I am in the far northern part of New York State, near the border with Canada and Vermont. I learned about you from a friend in Ecuador. So, your story is getting around! Please keep writing. It is precious. Here is the blog post I wrote about you today: https://thebalsamean.wordpress.com/2022/05/19/meet-sofia-from-crimea-to-uk-to-ecuador-to-ny-to-you/
    You will find other posts there about Ukraine’s horrible situation. We care deeply about you. Keep writing your blog, please. Warm wishes, -Dennis (The Balsamean)

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Sofia says:

      Thank you very much! But now, thankfully and with the support of the UK government, I have everything I need. You might want to make a donation to the Ukrainian Red Cross and help those who need help more than I do. This is a humanitarian organization and they help civilians not military
      https://redcross.org.ua/

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I guess I got ahead of you, but you won’t mind this choice. Yesterday I made arrangements to help the International Rescue Committee because of their work with refugees. You might find their story about refugee Anastasiia interesting or helpful. https://www.rescue.org/article/anastasiias-story-life-after-fleeing-ukraine

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Sofia says:

        Thank you for your help. And I hope all refugee around the world (not just Ukrainian) will be safe and protected πŸ™Œ

        Liked by 2 people

      3. I had trouble getting my first comment to post, so you ended up with two. You can delete the second one.

        P.S.: IRC works closely with Red Cross. IRC has announced an integration with United For Ukraine. See if this is useful to you, or maybe for someone you know:
        https://www.unitedforukraine.org/
        “United for Ukraine is a volunteer-run platform initiated to provide information and assistance to people affected by the war in Ukraine. United for Ukraine provides emergency relief, humanitarian assistance and essential information.”

        Liked by 3 people

  7. I am sorry to hear that you are not allowed to work now. Your new blog is touching, and important. I am in the far northern part of New York State, near the border with Canada and Vermont. I learned about you from a friend in Ecuador. So, your story is getting around! Please keep writing. It is precious. Here is the blog post I wrote about you today: https://thebalsamean.wordpress.com/2022/05/19/meet-sofia-from-crimea-to-uk-to-ecuador-to-ny-to-you/
    You will find other posts there about Ukraine’s horrible situation. Warm wishes, -Dennis

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Gibberish says:

    Keep writing more, gives the world a peek into the lives and challenges of living as a refugee in another country…hope you get to go back to work and become a teacher again πŸ˜ŠπŸ€©πŸ’•

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Sofia says:

      Thank you πŸ€—

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Orca Flotta says:

    Thanks Sofia for fixing the blog. I can see all stories now. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Sofia says:

      Thank you for telling me about the problem. πŸ”…

      Like

  10. Daily Poetry says:

    It was brave of you to move. I hope you’ll soon be teaching again. Stay strong.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Sofia says:

      Thank you πŸ€—

      Like

  11. Thank you for sharing this post, Sofia! I admire your courage! πŸ™

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Sofia says:

      Thank you πŸ€—

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome!

        Liked by 2 people

  12. simba frank says:

    Stay strong being away from home is the new reality for many of us who had to leave for various reasons, most of them largely out of our control

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Sofia says:

      πŸ€—

      Like

    2. Orca Flotta says:

      Don’t forget Sofia left weeks before the Russian intervention, for reasons completely unconnected to the war. So she’s hardly a refugee, neither was she forced to move to North Ireland. As far as the UK goes is North Ireland probably the worst province to live in. Wales and Scotland are a 1000 times nicer. And if I wanted to live in Ireland I’d move to Ireland proper, not that little British appendix.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sofia says:

        I like Northern Ireland. I would even say that I like the whole world. And I’m incredibly grateful for what I have. And I’m sure that if people valued what they have more, rather than chasing something illusory, there would be less wars, violence and cruelty in the world πŸ™Œ

        Liked by 2 people

  13. bhb says:

    There should be an office for you in the United Nations! Or NI’s ambassador to it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Sofia says:

      I’d wish to! πŸ€—

      Like

    2. Orca Flotta says:

      Holee Jeebuzz, NI ain’t a country! It’s a county, an exclave part of the UK, located on the northern tip of Ireland. I guess it has a similar status as Wales and Scotland have, so it can’t have its own seat in the UN.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Monch Weller says:

        Seconding you right there. That’s why the formal name of the UK is the “United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.” Great Britain pertains to the landmass where England, Scotland and Wales are found.
        Hope this helps other readers!

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Sofia says:

        I think that the main idea of this wish is not in the conditions of joining the UN, but in the fact that it would be great to become part of such an organization πŸ€—

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Orca Flotta says:

        “become part of such an organization”

        Huh?
        How old are y’all? You need to be a sovereign country in order to join the UN, which is the only UN and there are no other organisations like it, so there is no “such an” organization.

        Personal Q: You Russian-Ukrainian or Ukrainian-Ukrainian? And what side you rootin’ for?

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Sofia says:

        I’ll write about this in my next posts.

        Liked by 1 person

  14. emmblu says:

    Good luck to wherever the wind takes you. As they say, life is a journey, not a destination

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Sofia says:

      Thank you πŸ€—

      Like

  15. I believe that Ireland is a beautiful place and you’ll enjoy it there. I hope to visit there someday.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sofia says:

      Thank you πŸ€— Yes it’s nice here. Hope you’ll be here one day. 🌈

      Like

  16. Monch Weller says:

    Hello. Just had the time to read your post, and I’m glad you made it out of the conflict zone. In the same manner, I hope cooler heads prevail and things are ironed out. Best of luck there in Belfast!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Sofia says:

      Thank you πŸ”…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Monch Weller says:

        No problem, and hope to read more of your future entries! πŸ™‚

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Sofia says:

        πŸ€—

        Liked by 1 person

  17. Lance Dean says:

    North Ireland has seen some troubles, but I’m glad you are there now over Crimea. Best of luck to you!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Sofia says:

      Thank you πŸ€—

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Forestwood says:

    Moving countries and being accepted by their immigration office is not an easy path to tread. Although if you have lots of money this sadly, seems to give you an edge. Visas are hard to come by and ironically, my country used to beg for immigrants and now makes the applications lengthy and difficult, and expensive. Best of luck with your journey. I interested to hear more.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Sofia says:

      Thank you πŸ€—

      Like

  19. Emille says:

    Ah, so now I know where you live now. Quite a different culture and hope you don’t miss the Mediterrean climate too much! Keep looking for another job … wait… are you there with a tourist visa? Hopefully you can stay longer on another kind of visa…. untill the war is over?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Sofia says:

      Unfortunately I can’t work here now but at least I have lots of time and I can start studying!
      And thank you for your kind words πŸ€—

      Like

      1. Emille says:

        Hope you know that when you start studying, you can apply for a student visa (I forgot if you need to study a full-time amount of hours). I am a retired psychologist, but I still like to help people:):)

        Liked by 2 people

    2. Orca Flotta says:

      Crimea is not in the med but in the Black Sea, dear. And the culture is somehow samesame. We’re not talking about some northern African desert country or a south-east Asian jungle paradise here. People in Ukraine and Ireland are mostly white Europeans.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Emille says:

        I checked my map – I know it’s in the Black Sea -I am measuring by American standards – I said Mediterranian, because it’s so close – a stone throw away (in MY opinion).I am Dutch and lived there till I was thirty, and have traveled throughout Europe and Asia in my younger days –

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Orca Flotta says:

        “I am measuring by American standards”
        Why? Never – ever – do that!!!
        FFS the whole war is about driving America, and its harmful influence and meddling, out of Europe’s business.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Emille says:

        I am still a Dutch citizen, and I do NOT agree with the decisions of the current government – the decisions about the Ukranian war would have been very different with Trump.
        That I go by American standards, I meant: measuring the distance on the map from the Black Sea to the Meditteranean Sea, lol.

        Liked by 2 people

      4. Orca Flotta says:

        It’s quite a distance. I mean, first you gotta sail thru the Dardanelles – Sea of Marmara – Bosporus – Black Sea – Crimea. Everything looks close by but for the whole way it’s tight and complicated navigation.

        Liked by 1 person

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