I met Vitaly in Cologne while I was out having lunch with some friends; he was sitting alone in the table next to ours and an elderly couple asked him if they could sit next to him (there were no free tables) and he nicely said yes, they started talking and I overheard him saying he came from Spain so I went to him, introduced myself to him in spanish and exchanged numbers.
A couple of months went by and I talked to him about the project, and if he wanted to be part of it; he happily said yes, and we met for a coffee.
We started talking and he told me he was born in Ukraine and his parents moved to Spain when he was only four years old. They left everything they had in Ucraine and had to start their lives from zero, learning a new language and adapting to a new culture. But what they missed the most and still do is their family and friends.
I can see in his eyes that he tries to stay strong while he tells me about the part of his family who still lives in Ukraine, but his heart breaks for them, as he understands why they don’t want lo leave their homes and their lives behind but at the same time wants them to be safe and to have peace of mind.
He talks about them with love and I can feel the respect and care he has for them.
Altough his experience in Germany was short, -one year- it was good. He visited a lot of places, cities close to Cologne and even a bit further away -Prague for example- he experienced the german culture and even brought a bit extra from Spain along, when his friends came to visit him.
Since he could work in english at his workplace (which is why he came to germany in the first place), he didn’t learn lots of german, but anytime he could he would try and learn some things that would help him in his dialy living.
He told me that after a year of experiencing the culture his heart was calling him home in Valencia-Spain, and he had decided that he was moving back with his mom, plus he could keep his work, so it was a win-win situation.
I feel that he and I could have been good friends, had he stayed here, but I know I have a friend who can show me around the marvellous streets of Valencia whenever I get the change to go there.