Monday, 21 July 2008

good old times

V. comes from Ukraine. He has 2 sons in their late 20s and 1 daughter in her 20s.
V and his wife M work in Italy as keepers at the villa of a wealthy italian professional. They look after the villa, the park, the swimming pool, they cook food when someone is in, clean, do shopping, pick up the owners at the station, drive them back, etc.
V is taking us to the nearby station. He is wearing what looks like his "driver" uniform: freshly ironed trousers and shirt in blue. He is silent and so are we. I have never had someone's driver drive me somewhere.
Then I ask him casually about Ukraine and little by little the picture start shaping up.
He was a worker in a farm, he managed to send his children to school and University.
Then they lost everything, all their savings. And now they are in Italy, one of the sons too is in Italy, probably doing some kind of dead end job like his father, despite the degree; the daughter is in Russia doing god knows what and one son is back in Ukraine.
They share dreams of making enough money between all of them to go back and start some sort of business.
The sadness of a man who is a grandfather but can rarely see his grandchildren.
And then I ask him without any regard, the question that has been burning inside me all this time: Was it better before, when you were in the USSR?
Without any hesitation V replies: "yes", vigorously, and he repeats it 3 or 4 times, like a mantra, yes our lives were much better, we had work, money in the bank, a place to live.
"I would have never thought that we would end up like this, having to emigrate abroad to survive".

2 comments:

QOTFW said...

i this a true story? you now have a driver? exactly what kind of communist are you?

logube said...

I am not the wealthy italian professional.. I was just a guest..