Monday, April 23, 2012

#12~ 1973 ~ Married life

Despite difficult living conditions, we were happy. Felix kept reading letters to me from friends and his distant relatives, who immigrated to Israel, Canada and USA, he was talking again about the possibilities, promise and freedom abroad versus stagnating and hard times in Ukraine. I was beginning to see his point, but still fear, apprehension of unknown and unfamiliar was winning...Strong prpaganda aginst western world was weighing down on me.  I was scared to even think about it.

In August, during my summer school break we went on our honeymoon. Our destination was Georgian town Gagry. 

Gagry, where we had our honeymoon.

Place was beautiful, right on the coast of warm black sea, at the foot of  the Caucasus Mountains.
We rented small room, not too far from the beach. We enjoyed sunshine, stunning views, swimming and exploring.
At the local, colorfl market for the first time in my life I saw banana and pineapple and tried mango juice. We were very tight with money (UNDERSTATEMENT!!!), but I saw plenty of people living "good life", eating in the restaurants, buying expensive clothes, drinking wine and champagne.
One morning, we were in line for breakfast in a local outside cafeteria, and I fainted. Since I never had anything like this happen to me before, I was not ready for it. I just collapsed, my head missing the trunk of a huge tree by inches. When I came to, I saw Felix's worried face and a strange woman standing over me. She was smiling and said:"Honey, you are pragnant". Really? Really??? I am too young, I am still in college, I am not ready! But the fact was that I was preagnant and I was happy.  I knew that we will manage, I was confident that everything is going to be allright.

Friday, April 20, 2012

#11 ~ 1973 ~ Decisions, decisions...

On a very warm bright, autumn afternoon we, Felix and I were walking in the park. He stopped, looked at me  and said: "I have a very important question to ask you." After a moment of silence he said that he is planning to leave Soviet Union and go to Israel or USA and if we are to stay together, I will have to come with him. I was in shock. I knew he was thinking about it, talked to a lot of people about it, but I had no idea that he was actually going to do it. So the decision I had to make: stay and live without him or go and leave my family, friends, life as I know it behind. It was just too much. I said that I cannot do it. And that was that...
I walked home by myself, crying, confused, scared. I don't remember if it was hours, days or weeks beeing without him. Nothing seemed real. My friends were trying to help me, but I could not tell them the real reason we broke up. I could not tell ANYONE the real reason.
I was home, tired and depressed, when Tanya, my roommate said:"He is here, Felix is here!" I turned around and here he was. He looked sad and exhausted. He simply said: "I would rather stay here with you than lose you. Forgive me." I was elated, ecstatic, overjoyed, in seventh heaven. Huge, enormous stone fell off my chest.
Life went on. We saw each other every day, I was going to school, he was working. We were busy. Still read letters from abroad, still listened to the BBC station.
 My Coach, Elena Vasilievna was talking to me about becoming her assistant. Life was good, or so it seemed at that time.
I would go home (city of Vinnitza) to visit my family several times a year. Since Kiev was the Capitol of Ukraine, there was a little better selection of food products in the stores. I could buy and bring with me some cheese, sometimes oranges or some kind of cake. My brother, Eduard was always happy when I came to visit.
In the winter of that year, we were walking, holding hands and Felix simply said:"It's time for us to get married." Just like that: no kneeling down, no ring, no big words or flowers. I did not say a word. But as everyone knows, silence is a sign of agreement. So in May we got married. Nobody approved of this marriage at first. My family were saying:"Where are you going to live? Why don't you wait until you finish College?" His Mom just was not happy with his choice.
Felix and Marina Davidovich are getting married in the City Hall, Kiev, Ukraine

Felix and Marina Davidovich are getting married in the City Hall, Kiev, Ukraine
But we did it anyway. We had only close friends and family present at the ceremony and a small reception.
After getting married, we still lived in separate apartments. But we spent every waking moment together: talking, planning, dreaming, laughing, enjoying each others company.

Monday, April 16, 2012

#10 ~ My College Years Continue

College courses were very easy for me. Now that I am going back in time, it's interesting that I not only remember dates and people and events, I also remember what I was thinking at that time! I remember my thoughts and dreams...One day our rowing team came back from competition in Poland. They brought some things that were not possible to buy in Kiev: lazor blades for men, make up, clothes. We were all admiring those items behind the Gym on the bench. And then I saw a sweater: beautiful sweater. I tried it on and it was a perfect fit. I could not resist. It was $50.00 rubles, my monthly stypend. I bought this sweater and later that night Felix scolded me that I lost my mind, that I am not thinking, etc. My answer was: "But it looks so good on me, it's my money and I am a girl!"
Marina Davidovich in front of Kiev State University of Physical Culture with teammates after practice.

My favorite subjects were anatomy and bio mechanics. But later that year we had a new professor who was teaching psychology. He was brilliant. He introduced us to the works of  Sigmund Freud, Joseph Breuer and many more. I loved his lectures, his presentations and experiments.
 At that point we, my roommate Tatyana and I, were renting a small room in the apartment building. We had a very limited access to the kitchen and bathroom. But it was very close to College and very convenient for us. We could even come home between the classes. Since we did not have refrigerator, we kept some of our food supply outside the window. One day we came home and as usual we were starving. The only thing we had was the container with sour cream. We ate it with a loaf of white bread. In about half an hour both of us were lying on the floor crying from intense (understatement !)pain. Obviously we had food poisoning! I don't remember how we got to the medical center in College, but the nurse was very quick to diagnose us and made us drink 3 gallons of special water with disinfectant. It was horrible, nasty and horrifying! But she was yelling at us:"Do you want to die??? Drink!!!" We recovered, but NEVER ate sour cream again.
Felix was a big part of my life. He lived with his mother, Ida and shared kitchen and bathroom with her ex-husband. He slept in a narrow and dark hallway. But their one room apartment was nice and bright and nicely decorated. I loved coming there. Felix introduced me to some of his friends and there was a lot of talking about people that left Soviet Union and moved to Israel, USA, Canada. Some stories were tragic, some happy. We read letters from people, listened to the BBC radio, which was forbidden, had a lot of discussions about what it would be like to leave Soviet Union. But I never thought that it could be a reality, at least for me.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

#9 ~ My College Years

You might think that I will tell some crazy, wild stories about my life in College. Sorry to disappoint everyone: it was pretty boring. Since I had very high scores during the entry exams, I was awarded a stipend and a dormitory. Well, it sounds great, but the stipend was $50.00 rubles a month and dormitory was a depressing, tiny room that I shared with a girl from Belarus (Tatyana). The rules of the dormitory could be compared to the one in prison: no drinking, smoking, no boys in or near the building, front doors are locked, at 22:00 (10pm)... You got the point. The worst part of being in the dormitory was noise and total lack of privacy. Anyone could come into you room, take anything they wanted, including clothes, shoes, books, personal items, etc. I could only endure it for 3 or 4 weeks and along with my new friend we decided that we will be better off renting an apartment somewhere near the College.
Well, that was a rush decision based on our inexperience, immature and naive  we were. During our first year in College we had to move 6 or 7 times from a bad place to the worse one. It gives me shivers just remembering some places we had to stay... Few times we were lucky to rent a bed!!! So in about 2 months our dorm rooms seemed like a palace. But it was too late, since we gave it up.
But  despite of harsh leaving conditions and constantly being hungry I enjoyed classes, practice, new sites and new experiences.
I was dating Felix who was older, wiser and more knowledgeable. We would meet at night after my classes and gymnastics practice. He would always bring something to eat: sandwich, sweet cheese, candies. We would go to the movies, or just spent time walking the streets of Kiev. I was always looking forward to our dates. One night after the practice I was running late and coming down from the staircase I did not realise that one side of the huge glass door was closed. I just ran through it. I stopped on the other side of it,  turned around and saw the huge piece of glass just crashing behind me. It was a miracle, but I did not have a scratch on me. I saw all the people staring at me with horror and amazement and pointing at a pile of class on the floor... I guess, I was in a big hurry for my date :-).
My favorite subjects in College were anatomy and biology. I also enjoyed our training, competitions, performances and trips around the country. I was also beginning to practice how to be a judge and enjoyed it very much.
Marina Davidovich judging State Championships at Kiev State University