This week, the European Soccer Championship has started, hosted by Poland and the Ukraine. It’s rather strange for me to walk through the city and to see billboards advertising trips to the Ukraine. Five years ago, when I started planning my first trip there, it was almost impossible to book a hotel outside of Kiev. Together with my cousin Paul, I was the first person in my family to return to the Ukraine after all our family fled the country between 1905 and 1921. I wanted to go back to actually see and feel the villages where my grandparents were born. I remember how difficult it was not only to find those places on a map, but to even be able to find a detailed map of the Ukraine. Now, half of Europe is talking about going there as well because of the soccer. It’s still a bit unbelievable to think that a distant cousin of mine, who I’v never met, lives in Kharkov where the Dutch soccer team will be playing.
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