refugeenotes: how I decided to become an asylum seeker.

As you already know, I arrived in Northern Ireland in November 2021, before the war in Ukraine began. I arrived in the country legally, on a 6 months work visa and planned to fly home after the end of the contract. But life has made its own adjustments.

I worked in a place where the most of the employees were Ukrainians. And even before February 24, we discussed the possibility of starting the war (that time the Biden administration announced Putin’s plans). I was one of those people who completely didn’t believe in such course of events and called these article a provocation. So as you see my naivety knows no bounds.

On the day the military actions began, we were all working and I could see the feelings of my colleagues. These people were broken, depressed, they were worried about their families, women were crying, no one knew what to do.
I was both upset and angry at Russia’s actions.
But I continued to believe that this was some kind of misunderstanding and it would soon be over. That Russia just wants to scare Europe, to show that world needs to consider its opinion, but it doesn’t want to bomb civilians, hospitals, schools, kindergartens, supermarkets, destroy cities and human lives, brainwash its own citizens, become a dictatorial state. I was wrong.

I continued to work, my visa was still valid, and I hoped that by the end of it the conflict would exhaust itself. But that didn’t happen. What’s more, I was fired before the end of my contract. After the beginning of the war, we were all under stress and the working capacity of the employees slawed sharply. We were warned that we had to do better and given a two-week probationary period. After that time, some people were fired, including me.

This happened in the end of March. I was allowed to stay in the house for another week until the end of the month, after which I had to move out. Thus, I was left without a job, without housing, with a limited budget, an expiring visa, without the opportunity to stay in the UK (yes, Ukrainians had their visas extended, but my visa was put into Russian passport).

I can say with conference that this was the most terrible period of my life. I would never wish anyone to experience it. I was desperate, depressed, at a crossroads. I was chaotically thinking about what to do next and I had these options:

To go back to Crimea.
But I didn’t want to be involved in the actions of Russia and I still believe that even being in the country and not opposing, cruelty is committed with your tacit consent. But the attempt to say something and protest is stopped by fines and imprisonment. And sorry, but I’m not ready to sit in prison..
To stay in GB illegally.
But I’m the most law-abiding person I know. Not because I think you can’t cheat, but because I’m a coward. I choose to tell the truth and live according to my conscience in order not to live in fear.
To claim asylum.
I’ve been thinking about this point all my free time. Between of all of the above, it is the hardest and most ambiguous. It takes a lot of endurance and willpower to live in ignorance and under the supervision of the authorities all the time.

I wasn’t sure until the last moment that this was my option. I was standing outside the Home Office and hesitant to enter. I really didn’t know what to do. But everything was decided by itself. Apparently the guards saw me standing with my luggage and lost in the territory of Home Office and came out with the words “come with me.” That was the beginning of my journey as an asylum seeker.

all my belongings here

P.S. To be continued… And! Which of these options would you choose?

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39 Comments

  1. Patrick Cole says:

    I appreciate your thought process and support your current choice. Stay as safe as you can friend.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Sofia says:

      Thank you 🤗

      Like

    2. kiangablog says:

      My heart goes out to you but I support your decision. I have worked with many asylum seekers here in Australia. It is not an easy option but your personal safety and wellbeing is paramount. You did not start this conflict and sadly like you I thought it would end after a bit of posturing by Putin. Keep safe and be a voice for those who are silenced, through your words. I have memories of visiting the Ukraine when it was part of the Soviet Union and singing along with a traditional folk music band “Those were the days my friends”. Take care and accept support when offered by those who understand.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Sofia says:

        Thank you ☀️

        Liked by 2 people

  2. I would probably be operation a radio or hiding in a grove of trees with a sniper rifle. Or maybe remote controlling a drone or doing something else. But then I was a soldier for 6 years in another life from long ago. Combat communications was my specialty and I was an expert marksman. Those options aren’t available to you, so you did the right thing.

    Too seek asylum was also the right thing to do. Illegal migrants are subject to terrible abuse and they don’t report it for fear of deportation.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Sofia says:

      Yeah unfortunately those options are not for me 😄🙈

      Liked by 1 person

  3. elsabeskryf says:

    I would do the same… for sure the best option between the 3. Looking forward to read more!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sofia says:

      Thank you 🤗

      Like

  4. rose2852 says:

    Come to Australia! We need teachers!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Sofia says:

      Maybe one day 😄

      Like

  5. Orca Flotta says:

    “(that time the Biden administration announced Putin’s plans). I was one of those people who completely didn’t believe in such course of events and called these article a provocation.”
    Ask yourself how Biden knew how Putin would react? Because Victoria Nuland planned it all for him. It was indeed a well laid out trap that didn’t leave Putin any other choice as to react before the Ukraine started the big offense on Donbass republics. It’s all a perfect Hollywood screenplay and all then actors in it are acting perfectly as planned.

    “So as you see my naivety knows no bounds.”
    Indeed,very naive. Just towards the wrong direction. You follow along the American empire’s narrative … against your own best interest.

    “That Russia just wants to scare Europe, to show that world needs to consider its opinion, ”
    At that point in time Putin was done with Europe. He tried to negotiate since 2013 or so and nobody listened, nobody was willing to negotiate. So Russia decided they had enough and went alone, without any western allies.

    “but it doesn’t want to bomb civilians, hospitals, schools, kindergartens, supermarkets, destroy cities and human lives, brainwash its own citizens, become a dictatorial state. I was wrong.”
    No, you weren’t. Because, as the last few months since 24 Feb have shown, they did their utmost to avoid any harm on civilists. You can’t say the same about Ukro troops who love to use human shields and hide in civilian buildings. All the things you mentioned never happened! It’s pure propaganda lies. And you fell for it. By now you should, know how bad and manipulative the UK press is. 😐 Don’t you have any media competence?

    “I was both upset and angry at Russia’s actions.”
    Oh! 😮 For tripping into Nuland’s trap? For trying to end the shelling of Donbass and de-nazify the Ukraine? For the record: Russia’s not to blame here! They just reacted pre-emptively, barely a couple hours before the allegedly planned Ukro strike. I’d done the same, as every caring person would’ve done.

    “but my visa was put into Russian passport”
    Why? Because as a person from Crimea and a Russian passport holder you are officially a Russian? That’s all sorts of cool and puts you on the winners’ side. How dare the UK thinking you might be Russian? ^.^

    “Which of these options would you choose?”
    Easy choice: Go back to Crimea. There you be safe and protected, get job and money and can live a normal life. All the other options are just harebrained stupid. Your time as a glorified refugee’s slowly running out. In the UK nobody cares about you and your well-being coz people’s attention span is short and then Ukro war wil be forgotten in, like, half a year, even if the Russian action will tar longer. Look how quickly Biden’s Afghanistan debacle was forgotten. You think his unholy and doomed Ukro venture will stay longer in the collective west’s mind?

    In a couple weeks time UK and Germany and the whole EU will run out of gas and in the upcoming winter people will freeze to death. If they don’t die of starvation first. 😦

    Not so in Russia and Crimea. So choose wisely.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. rajkkhoja says:

    Good your decision. You can’t return.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I can’t imagine being in your shoes. I know you don’t feel like it, but you are brave beyond measure. I believe that you definitely did the right thing. You have been and are going through hell. I wish I could give you a hug 🤗. Stay strong. Blessings.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sofia says:

      Thank you 🤗

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You are welcome. Take care of yourself.😊

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Do you mind if I reblog your post? I believe more people need to hear what you have to say. Stay safe.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Sofia says:

        I’ll be grateful ☺️

        Liked by 1 person

  8. margaret21 says:

    What terrible decisions to have to make, one on top of another, distant from your home, family and friends. I hope you have found people here whom you can trust and share your thoughts with. Good luck.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sofia says:

      Yes, luckily I meet great people and I am grateful to them for all the support they give me. As well as I’m grateful to all people who support me here 🤗

      Liked by 1 person

      1. margaret21 says:

        I’m so glad you helped me discover your blog because you ‘liked’ one of my posts. I look forward to your future posts and will work my way back through your earlier ones.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Carolyn Page says:

    Stay safe, my friend. You have many supporters!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sofia says:

      Thank you 🤗

      Liked by 1 person

  10. You were left no choice – just a pawn in a game of those in power. I think that seeking asylum was the best choice for you and it is what I would have chosen had I been in your shoes. But like you I would have needed to have been led by the hand to do so. I could tell that you were stunned and helpless. I hope you know now that there are many who support you. I wish you well. I cannot imagine what you are going through but I sympathize and send prayers and good vibrations to you. I will also be praying for peace. Bless you on this journey.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Sofia says:

      Thank you for all good words 🤗

      Liked by 1 person

  11. usfman says:

    Remember it’s the governments who are fighting the war not the people. Nonetheless I think you made the right desperate call. But why Belfast? Others above question this choice as well. Have you thought about Canada perhaps?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sofia says:

      I wasn’t in a position to choose. I needed to make an urgent decision and I was already in Belfast. Moreover, this city seems good to me, as well as this country in general. ☺️

      Like

      1. usfman says:

        I would welcome further conversations with you on this subject. Stay safe.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Anand Bose says:

    Interesting Narrative

    Liked by 1 person

  13. chattykerry says:

    I think I would have chosen the same route as you – such a hard decision when you are so young. My heart goes out to you and all the other refugees from war torn areas. We live thousands of miles from relatives – our choice. The Pandemic has made me realize how much I miss the ease of visiting them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sofia says:

      Yes, that’s true! Family is really important, I wish I knew it before, but unfortunately I just started to realize it. So we need to take care our families, it’s very valuable 🙏

      And thank you for your support ☺️🤗

      Liked by 1 person

      1. chattykerry says:

        You are most welcome, Sofia. I hope that you settle in Belfast – its a beautiful city. In time you will visit your family again. I last saw my closest family at a funeral more than 3 years ago. When my mum moved to America, she didn’t see her family again for about 8 years.

        Like

      2. Sofia says:

        That’s sad story, but I believe everything will be okay in time 🙌

        Liked by 1 person

      3. chattykerry says:

        💟💟 Have you seen Aiva’s blog “Our Crossings”? She writes about travel but moved from Latvia to Sligo in Ireland.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Sofia says:

        I haven’t, but I’ll check it ☺️

        Liked by 1 person

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