Perfect Places – How to Love Where You Are [as an immigrant and an artist]

Chocolate Labrador Puppy

It was 8:30 AM. I locked my chocolate lab puppy, grabbed the keys and a tray with painted fondant trees, put the cake in a bag and rushed out. I was excited. 15 hours ago Lorde’s new song ‘Perfect Places’ was trending on Twitter. She asked in the song, what was the perfect place? Today I new it is “where the wild things are”. It was painted on a cake I was bringing to the whether Cake House in Old Town Scottsdale in Arizona. In fact, on the way there, I pulled my “follow the green lights” thing. The trick was to never stop at a red light. Ten years ago that brought me to the doors of the National Art Academy in Kyiv, Ukraine. Ten years after I was parking by the cake house.

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Jessica, the owner, was making magic with her mom and two other girls at the back of the bakery. She is probably the ‘meant to meet’ kind of person and also, the one who gives the most excited response to anything I paint. That is the second cake we made together, and I find it thrilling to be able to deliver your art to a viewer through food. Not that kind of food, like molecular restaurants, do, that screams: “I am so spoiled and fed up that I need an exquisite something to play with”. No, I learned my homework good. I can still hear Zazu’s voice asking Scar if his mom ever told him to not play with food [in the Lion King movie]. Food is meant to be rich in nutrition.


Click on image to see Prints

Now, sweets are where the game begins. The illustration I painted this time on the cake is taken from the Maurice Sendak’s book. It tells a story of a kid who rejected his parents and dinner, and left his room for the place ‘where the wild things are’, becoming the king of ‘wild things’. The book is only about 338 words long but it gets you deep. How many of us are in search of that perfect wild place? I know Lorde is. I always have been.

Primavera Sound 2016 BCN Spain
Primavera Sound 2016 BCN Spain
A year ago my best friend and I went to Primavera Sound concert in Barcelona for that exact reason. My tattooed [during that trip] on the wrist space shuttle brings me “there” every time I seek to it. Today, she made a video call at 7:30 AM on a beach in Barcelona. I am not there this time, but I am happy to have a puppy and a cake to deal with. #FlashBackFriday right?


Click on image to see Prints

In the book, the little Max kid chooses the comfort of his room and a ‘still hot dinner waiting for him’ to the wild place. But what if you decided to indulge the wildness? What if you moved to a different country or even a continent. Crowds of people speaking a foreign language, strange glances when you do something so habitual to your birthplace, yet completely odd under new circumstances, weird food – all these may make it seem like a legitimate jungle.DSCN7993.JPG

I remember when I was to Starbucks for the first time (during my first visit to AZ at fifteen years). Those bagels with cream cheese ‘to go’ and decaf caramel macchiato amused and took me away. I was seriously thinking of bringing it to Kyiv and emailed Starbucks later on, inquiring on their licensing policy. Naturally, there was a response that they are not interested…

Am I interested in their bagels anymore? Not really. It has become a regularly available item you try to avoid. (See my nutrition reasoning above) On the contrary, Americans are still flattered to be treated to a home cooked meal made completely ‘from scratch’, (meaning of which they had to explain to me over a long period of time), unless it has a ‘weird texture’.

National Donut Day

Ukrainians have no sense of time, so all the meetings are arranged ‘around sometime’ which can be in a range of at least an hour. Americans don’t seem to approach to a lunch with friends as an activity that accedes an hour and a half time period. Unless it’s a football game on Sunday and you meet at a bar over a beer or bloody mary at 10 AM. Back in Kyiv I once bought a bottle of vodka, celery and tomato juice and brought it to my friend’s place in the morning. Not gonna lie, I received that questioning look, as in whether I needed some help or a friends advice.


Click on image to see Prints

The point is, it’s hard to fit in sometimes. It gets confusing. It’s like hyperbolized feeling of leaving your parents home in search of the one of your own. You get to deal with bureaucracy. You need to get a new driving license, work permits, permanent residency cards in addition to rent contracts, cellular etc. I was used to thinking Ukrainian system for that is a disaster, due to corruption. No visible corruption here, in the US. However, you go apply for a driving license, spend 3 hours on a chair, holding random conversations with strangers like you, and then they say you need a social security card. You drive another 40 min to a place, where you can get a social security, only to sit on the same chair waiting for your number to get called and hear you need a driving license, ID or a permanent residency card to receive social security number. And then, like in the book by Marcel Proust it all repeats itself. I traveled a lot around the US. I wanted to stay in Arizona forever, then I cried to leave it forever. According to quantum physics theory and a movie ‘Interstellar’, there are the endless number of layers to our life, we exist within all of them at the same time. To an extent, it will never matter where you at. Finding your inner peace is the key to a ‘Perfect Place’ that is inside of you.


It’s just being an immigrant makes it more fun! You get to experience multiple childhoods with a need to explore in the ‘trial and fail’ style. It is important to be tolerant, adaptable and motivated to start over and over again. It’s also easy to get lost in a place where nobody seems to care about your existence. But then – see instructions above, regarding the perfect place. In the end of the day, it presents you a life from different angles. Just like that cake that Jessica put on a perfect black stand now. Happy future Birthday baby Max and Happy Birthday to everyone, who immigrated today. For my next move strategy – see a ‘why you should start your bucketlist yesterday‘ post 🙂



how to stop profiling and wake up from day dreaming

I came across this haiku by Matsuo Bashō (Matsuo was a Japanese poet, lucky enough to be recognized during lifetime):

“Frozen in the night

The water-jar cracks

Wakes me”



It made me think of the absurdity of dreams. One may be a homeless, ‘the next top model’, or a manager (you name it) in everyday life. But similarly to a butterfly, that gets out of a cracked cocoon, one reveals the real self in dreams. Guided only with subconsciousness, you travel through intricate scenarios. The development and outcome are based on decisions that you make. Cheating yourself is impossible, though. One can only be a true self. It’s a tricky game, you know.


I once wanted to make an object: a bar cabinet in a shape of a drunk person. A joke would be: ’a person’ stores liquor inside. This idea quickly transformed into an art project: ‘A Dream That Hatched From a Broken System’. Instead of a bar, I felt like I needed to visualize a concept of dreams as a cracked cocoon. In this case, that would need to be a broken, transparent, real-life sized sculpture of a homeless person. I wanted to make it very realistic. My friends and I searched the streets of Kiev to find an ideal model. We provided a full-service: drinks on a bar, car transportation, change of clothes, all in exchange for a couple of hours modeling. We needed to mold a man’s face that had all the signs of street lifestyle.


As it turned out, it was a rather sad story that he had to tell us. He spoke English, he quoted literature and poetry by-heard, in fact, he was rather well-known in the neighborhood. Kolia ‘Fisher” (his nickname) was just unlucky at a certain stage of his life. He used to work in advertising and video production once, used to own an apartment in a prestigious part of Kiev. Then things went downhill. And from there, it’s just a snowball effect. He said he was fine now. What else could he say?


His story was a perfect fit and I was glad to tell it. We all just love to stereotype people we know nothing about. I still see him from time-to-time around, when I am in Kiev.


But my story is about dreams. It only becomes more real from there on. It is a story from within ourselves.


After we had his face, we needed a body. Kolia didn’t seem to be excited about it. So it had to be me now. I put on two thick winter jackets to reference the size of a grown man. Slavik, my sculpture-artist friend helped me. I want to tell you: being covered with gypsum, that is heavier than my body weight was a challenge. When gypsum dries, it releases heat. It was very hot. Two jackets didn’t help either.


Then there was a process of filling the shape with plastic. Plastic is a great material on one hand, as it copies every single nuance of a mold (its texture in particular). On the other, it is very toxic and fragile.

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In the end of a day, it turned out to be a great project. It was a real trip and I believe it educated all of us (who helped its creation). It is important to be conscious. But even more so, to try to reflect the dreams in real life. Be true to ourselves, and maybe we’ll start to see more clearly the stories, that people around us are ‘filled with’.



See more installations here:

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Masha 🙂

I have a problem – I can’t stop cycling


It was in mid April 2013, that Kiev drowned in snow almost overnight. And that snow storm just wouldn’t stop. In spite of a perception of Eastern Europe as an eternal winter – it’s not rue. At least in Kiev [Ukraine] we normally wear jeans and t-shirts in mid April. But it started to snow. I remember my neighbors tying to dig out the front door to our apartment complex, as it was blocked by snow. (In fact in Russia during the USSR, it was common to build doors so that they open inside the room/building, for that particular reason. But we are not Russia, so we still have problems opening doors on the days like that.)

Cars got stuck in traffic on the highways that lead in and out of Kiev for two days. Many including myself happily used this opportunity to snowboard down the streets.


Later I stopped by my friend’s art studio. Slavik is a sculpture artist. He had been working on this project for three days now, and cycled to the studio in spring outfit (as three days ago it was spring), before he knew the snowstorm would break out. Slavik is from Odessa and these people are known to be arrogant, but also very hard-working. After locking himself up and eventually finishing the project, he realized he had to make his way home now (to the dorms, where he lived at the time). He got his bike ready. It was a nice Bianchi road bike.

Next day he told us how he cycled to the dorms all the way through the snow-covered  streets and that, even though his bike was rather sliding than riding – he made it home quicker than all those cars stuck in snow and traffic, because bikes never get stuck.

I remember cycling to the presentation of my first big commissioned project with a laptop in my backpack through the rainstorm, that would challenge my eyes to even attempt open for a second (as pouring water would momentarily get in them). And then standing in front of the ‘white-collared’ customers, all covered in dirt, with that soaked laptop. But I really wouldn’t rather stay in traffic, because of some collision ahead.

1936 Tour de France Stage 1 by BikeRaceInfo

And of course there are those days when you get a flat tire, during that ‘I’ll be right back’ trip. You realize you have nothing that could help you to fix it, and no people around that are willing to assist.

Just that group of mtb cyclists, who almost break your tube even more, by trying to use their air pump on your bike.

And then you walk in your cycling shoes for an hour and a half, with only Slavik on the other end of the phone to entertain you, because his stories are always unbelievably more intense and it somehow makes you feel lucky.

My new art series is about this impossibility to stop cycling. You just don’t stop, however out-of-this-world the circumstances around you seem to be.

Painting above: ‘Froome Chasing Geese’ – acrylic on canvas. It was inspired by that stage of 2016 Tour De France, during which, after a massive uphill and nervous competition between Froome and Quitano (who was unsuccessfully trying to break away), a crash took place in the front rows of break away. It happen because of the misplaced finish line. It was high in the mountains and due to weather conditions the finish line was moved a bit down. That caused a tight crowd. A motorcycle, that was supposed to clear the way, ran into standing too close spectators and suddenly hit breaks blocking the cyclists. Froome got left without his bike as it was broken. Without further hesitation he started to run to a finish line, that was just around the corner. It reminded me that feeling of chasing geese when you are a kid and you are running for life. Also I was inspired by that book ‘The Wonderful Adventures of Nils’, that I remembered from childhood.

Paintings above: series ‘Chasing The Pink’ – acrylic on canvas. They are dedicated to chasing the dreams (the allegory is a reference to the pink shirt of a champion of Giro d’Italia).

Read more about the creation of the painting above ‘Sky is the Limit’ in my previous post.


The new painting, I am currently working on, explores the absurdity of cycling situations. In this case it’s cycling through snow, no matter what. See the sketch below.

Follow my blog and Instagram to see the finished painting.

See more sports related paintings here.

How you like it? – RAW

Marketing is a common part of our everyday life. Since the establishment of early trade relationships in society, we have learned to present ourselves at the highest value. We still have to ‘market’ ourselves nowadays: when we apply for school or a job (we have to prove our worth at any cost). Food at your local grocery store also participates the competition, and only that, that reaches to the highest standards becomes part of exposition.

Fall Pampering Harvest

I disagree with and at the same time admire the power, that marketing has on our common sense and the way we perceive objects; the way that marketing strategies are designed to read the target audience’s wishes fascinates me. I wanted to learn all about it.

‘Human On Display’ – photo by Oleksiy Zubrytsky; model: Olga Balashova; idea: Masha

Marketing is all about creating the unique experience, that stays long in the consumer’s mind. It aims at persuading the buyer, that this is ‘once in a lifetime deal’. At the same time it is based on patterns.

Andy Warhol depicted this process by creating a mass-produced art pieces (that was revolutionary at that time). Andreas Gursky, on the other hand, puts that almost ornamental pattern, straight into your face. His photos swallow the viewer with its infinite details.

Andy Warhol – Campbell Soup Series
Andreas_Gursky .jpg
Andreas Gursky. Chromogenic color print. 6′ 9 1/2″ x 11′ (207 x 337 cm) Lent by the artist, courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery, New York, and Monika Sprüth Galerie, Cologne. ©2001 Andreas Gursky.

I look at the theme of marketing from the point of view of a hypnotized customer. The one that is like a fly attracted to the light; the customer that is in the same way attracted to the product. This is a very powerful force, that is able to completely blind a person.

Problem of Choice
‘Problem of Choice’ acrylic painting on canvas by Masha


‘Problem of Choice’ – painting in process
‘Problem of Choice’ – acrylic painting by Masha
‘Problem of Choice’ – acrylic painting by Masha
‘Problem of Choice’ – acrylic painting by Masha

My series started with an observation of the problem of choice we have nowadays. Whereas it seems that our options are endless, we are in fact, just tricked by variety of labels,  that promote the same substance. When you choose between ‘cola’ and ‘fanta’ – it’s ultimately sweet water produced by Coca Cola brand.

‘Pick Me!’ – acrylic painting by Masha

The first work is called The Problem of Choice. It depicts the average woman anxious at the drink isle. I was inspired with the part of the movie ’99 Francs’.

Later I decided to dig dipper and play with the parallels between marketing of a product and marketing of the person. This theme basically starts with high-end modeling and luxury goods and ends with your next neighbor in the snack aisle of your local grocery store.

Salmon on display at the local store – photo

My friends (who so generously volunteered their time and effort) and I organized a photo shoot that would depict a ‘person on display – raw’. We brought a blown-up pool to the photo studio and filled it with 200 kg (440 lb) of ice. I was trying to stylize the models and their positions similar to those in the raw meat and fish section.

Two most adventurous models I ever had were Alina and Olga Balashova. Olga was the first art curator, who picked my artwork, piled among other things in corridors of the Art Academy, for the huge contemporary art show in Kiev. It happened so that we started talking about art and then I just asked if she would want to volunteer as a model for these new series, I am working on. The fact she agreed was a pretty big deal for me at the time! And looking back at those photos I still can not appreciate it enough!

Watch Olga’s art lectures on Vimeo and read more of Olga’s articles dedicated to the contemporary art here. (UA/RU)


For the photo of ‘meat’ I actually splashed that red-colored acrylic paint all over the model.

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Couple of the models didn’t show up. My friend had to drive my old manual stick ford car (that was lacking right mirror and would die every time you stop) to pick up the substitution. These were two guys whom she saw for the first time. They made their way back to the studio and brought a bottle of vodka. I also had to substitute one model. The ice was beyond cold. I can not admire enough the dedication with which Alina and Olga laid in that pool, waiting for our next command.

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Final pics looked like this:


And here are the paintings that came out of them:

"Meat" acrylic on canvas 200x100.JPG
‘Meat’ – acrylic painting; ‘Human on Display’ Series
"Fish" acrylic on canvas 200x155.jpg
‘Fish’ – acrylic painting; ‘Human on Display’ series
‘Meat-1’ – acrylic painting; ‘Human on Display’ series
"Fish 2" acrylic on canvas 150x100.jpg
‘Fish-1’ – acrylic painting


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Targo Florio – Brian Redman & Porsche 908

Brian Redman – a talented racer, who survived a massive crash at the pick of his career. Always with a smile and great charm. Brien’s is the one of a true British elegance and humble success stories. He is usually accompanied by his absolutely beautiful wife. Traveling around the US with the automobilia car events, races, and vintage car shows teach one to appreciate having such person nearby.

We meet closer at Monterey car week in California. Particularly at the Laguna Seca Vintage Race.

The portrait I painted of Brian was signed and copy on canvas was given away for a charity auction, that both Brian and myself committed to.



Later I decided to make a bigger piece of him. Brian raced at Targo Florio in 1970. That was a very unique race, as it was going through the mountainous Italian island of Sicily and was held entirely on the public roads. For this event, Porsche introduced their new car, the light and nimble 908/03. Pole position went to the Wyer 908/03 of Jo Siffert/Brian Redman, followed by the official works 908/03 of Vic Elford/Hans Herrmann.

I thought it made a great story for a larger painting. In fact, Brian wrote a great book based on his memories of racing career, that I became obsessed about.

See the complete painting, with a chance to purchase the original or a copy here:

Here’s how the process looked:

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Painting Targo Florio 70′ – depicts Brian Redman on the way down to Cerda in the Porsche 908
See the final product and buy the original painting here:
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Sky Is The Limit painting creation process

Sky Is The Limit – is the painting that was created at a very special part of my life. I am an artist and was painting for as long as I can remember myself. However after graduating from my art academy I was close to realization that I might be not that good at painting and maybe I will achieve more in promoting art (more of a PR/marketing sector of the industry). I also got involved in advertising and contemporary ballet. In fact, I even developed the whole ballet performance project (Sweet Expiration), that I took to NYC to try to raise funds for its production. Little did I know that was the trip that took me away from home country Ukraine for good.

Ballet performance never was produced. I ended up moving to Arizona. The day my plane landed on the US soil, the national revolution had started in Ukraine. I didn’t paint for two years. Then I started that “so west coast” common routine of doing yoga in the morning at a gym, followed by those super overpriced kale smoothies.



I discovered that my yoga group instructor at the Village gym was a massage therapist. My spine is far from perfect and running/snowboarding etc. really don’t help. So I set up an appointment. She was great. I felt like I could breathe again (that magic was the massage, she gave). That day we agreed for a barter: I paint her a painting and she gives me massage sessions worth of the painting cost. I got intrigued to fit her place and concept of it with the painting I will make for her. I came across the Bolivian salt flats pictures. Then, I read all those stories about the biggest one of them – Salar de Uyuni.


It is the world’s biggest salt flat desert. And just a few times a year, during a rainy season, it get’s covered by few inches of water. That is enough to make it the world’s biggest mirror. In fact, it’s so perfect, it is used to calibrate satellites. The beauty of it (how I imagine it) has curved into my consciousness for a while now. I read multiple blogs on how to travel there. It is definitely on my bucket list. Among the best ones seemed to be this:

Source: Salt of The Earth, Cycling Bolivia’s Salars –

Deserts like that, are often used for setting speed records (due absence of obstacles). I saw this bike. It all suddenly came together: the Bolivian salt flat desert and Tour of Italy (Giro d’Italia – pro-cycling bike race) that I was obsessing over recently (as it was the end of May, and I was watching this race live).





I made the first painting, that inspired me to proceed with the whole series. My yoga instructor loved it. I quit yoga classes and smoothies very soon, and never saw her again. But she appeared in my life in the perfect time to kickstart my painting process.


There is also a great song Sky Is The Limit by Notorious B.I.G. The actual painting was titled in its name. It still hangs in my bedroom – looking for the right buyer. But it is definitely one of the most special for me.


The final version of the painting is here.

See more of original art at my website: and follow me on Instagram @createdbymasha. Also please feel free to comment and subscribe to my blog. Looking forward to hearing from you!



В Сан-Франциско на 5 часов, за визой

Говорят первый шаг самый сложный. Дальше, как снежный ком – по иннерции становится проще. Примавера в Барселоне вначале лета. Назад через океан в Европу. И все еще без визы в зону Шенген никак. Билеты есть, в первые в жизни так заранее! В ожидании сщитаешь дни оставшихся трех с половиной месяцев. Второй, неменее сложный шаг скрашивает проходящие будни, озадачивая знакомой до боли бюрократией.

В штате аризона нет посольства Испании. Никакого европейского посольства нет. Есть консульства. Как оказалось консул Испании в Аризоне, так же есть владельцем самого закрытого ювелирного магазина (Ювелирный Бутик эт Молина). Его зовут Мистер Альфредо Молина. По смешному стечению обсоятельств я познакомилась с директором этого магазина и меннеджером пару недель ранее, на выставке моих работ. Они проходили момо случайно и, заинтересовавшись картинами, поделились своими визитными карточками и предложением зайти однажды и обсудить возможную экспозицию на втором этаже их магазина. Лица я их успешно забыла,  но понадеявшись на художественную визуальную память, нарядилась и поехала к ним в госте. На парковке меня встретили два охранника, идиально вписавшись в американские стериотипы из фильмов: обширные плечи, рост и пружинный провод за ухом. Спросили назначена ли у меня встреча. Я сказала, что в госте к директору, назвав ее по фамилии. Меня пропустили. Внутри было очень нарядно и тихо. Я заметила красивую женщину. Не было сомнений, что это она тогда подошла ко мне на выставке. Я постаралась как можно ненавязчевее дать ей знать о своем присутствии и напомнить, как я рада была с ней познакомиться. Она с улыбкой меня выслушала и сказала, что наверно я имею ввиду директора. И вот я второй раз, другому человеку рассказываю, как рада встрече. Встреча закончилась быстро – к ней (по рассписанию) пришли клиенты и мы обещали друг-другу оставаться связи.

Консульства визу дать не могут. Нужен генеральный консул, который работает в посольстве Испании. Посольства находятся в нескольких основных городах США и их юриспруденция распространяется на близлижайшие штаты, разделенные на зоны.

По делу Аризоны нашлось два города: Лос-Анжелес и Сан-Франциско. В первом не взяли трубку. Во-втором, после получасовых переговоров с плохой связью, мне назначили собеседование. Документы собрала, билет в Сан-Франциско купила. Жду.

Нарядилась, одела каблуки и через три часа уже вышла в Сан-Франциско. Впервые вызвала Убер (альтернатива такси), времени совсем не много вроде бы. Везет меня водитель и заезжаем мы в какую-то пром зону..я в легком негодовании уточняю адрес. Оказалось вызвала я Убер неправильного типа: тот, который подвозит всех, кому попути. И, компенсация, мне как бы дешевле. Адрес он найти следующего пассажира не может. Вскоре к машине выходит девушка. Нерисса. Она по-американски в спортивном костюме и худди. Нерисса – боди билдер и работает тренером в спорт залле. Говорит у нее много друзей из украины, особенно парекмахеров и фотографов. Добавляюсь с ее телефона в друзья в фейс бук и оказывается, что у нее установлена украинская клавиатура, помимо английской. Подсаживается еще одна пассажирка, не очень разговорчивая. Меня высадили в китайском районе, там посольство Испании.. Купила на почте конверт для обратной отсылки паспорта, все готово. Посольство закрыто. До собеседования еще полтора часа. Пройдясь по городу почуствовала, чтото очень сродное Киеву – холмы и много деревьев. Безумно красиво! Нашла художественную академию, ратушу, любимую шоколадку, которая не продается в Аризоне (милка). На одной улице блеск и красота архитектуры и горожан, а совсем рядом, на соседней улице – очередь в приют для наркоманов. Но они все довольно безобидные. Все улыбаются. Зашла во вьетнамское кафе. Обожглась чаем сразу же; и ключ от туалена прикреплен к метровой палке, что б не украли.

Посольство маленькое и темное, в холле тесно и очередь. Азиатская семья получала визы на шестерых. Что-то не совпадало, то-ли билетов не было, то-ли фото. Передо мной извенились за ожидание, провели по корридору, во второй холл и дальше по ступенькам на второй этаж в отдельный кабинет. Очень уставшей внешности девушка взяла мою папку документов, спросила, зачем так много, а потом спросила пречину моего пребывания в США. Я растерялась чуть, пытаясь припомнить, как по официальной версии я тут оказалась. Что-то сказала про выставки и картины, она обеспокоилась и начала выяснять, как я по туристической визе выставляла картины. На каком-то этапе она поняла, что я резидент Аризоны. Вернула мне документы, и сообщила, что по новым правилам, они туристические визы для жителей аризоны не выдают. Сказала – это не первый случай и даже отксерила мою анкету, что бы пожаловаться начальству на ситуацию. На вопрос, как так и, что делать, она посоветовала писать письма в посольства Лос Анджелеса (много писать, тк они редко отвечают). Это связано с двумя компаниями, которые оформляют визы и собеседования, и видимо недавно они разделили полномочия.

Как-то так: я в Сан-Франциско еще на три часа; до Примаверы теперь два месяца, на собеседование надо записываться и лететь теперь в Лос-Анжелес. Пошла гулять – друг из Киева посоветовал найти трамвай на набережной. Дошла до набережной на каблах за минут сорок. Красиво: много туристов, мелких магазинов, дещатых дорог и такой же рынок, как и в Сиеттле. Опять тюлени и чайки. На мост Голден Гейт я смотрела уже из бара, где бармен жаловался на высокие цены, и что он инженер, работал на банк, а вот теперь их офис сократили, и пришлось работать в баре. Бесконечные истории с одинаковым наративом. И опять из облаков и тумана в пекучее сонце пустыни! Привет кактусы.

Сан-Диего, военный порт и тюлени


Для местных ты всегда усугубляешь перенаселенность их рая. Сан-Диего вмещает в себя сразу все штаты, удивляет своей самодостаточностью. На границе с Аризоной и Мексикой, тебя спасает тихо-океанский бриз, и приглашение утонуть в зелени береговых холмов, домов, цветов и бесконечности заката.

Одна из двух дорог ведущих в Сан-Диего из Аризоны занимает около 5 часов и, проходя вдоль границы с Мексикой, не оставляет без адреналина в засушливом горном массиве. В тот первый раз, когда мы решили проехаться туда летом, потолок автомобиля пришлось обклеить теплоизолирующим отражателем. Температура в пустыне превышает 50С. И когда на подъеме в горы загорелась лампочка, предупреждая о низком уровне бензина, мы все умолкли, выключили кондиционер и музыку. Связи конечно нет. На телефоне спасающий GPS говорит, что до заправки 80 км. Стало совсем тихо. В голове возникают какие-то надежды, на то что за перевалом расход будет минимальный. Но тут из-за угла возникает знак, сообщающий, что заправка совсем рядом. Мы съезжаем с трассы. Так же тихо, – хоть бы не мираж. Дорога сразу становится поселочного типа. На обочине встречаются вековые пикапы и остатки урбанизации. Через минут десять, объехав коров, мы паркуемся под одиночной колонкой. Под дверью в здание заправочной станции сидит крупная мексиканка с сэндвичем. Моя подруга и я ослеплены идеей найти конфеты Haribo. Проходим мимо единственного работника заправки, который вытирает руки и нож от крови, чтобы с нами рассчитаться за бензин и конфеты. Понимаем, что это так же местный магазин и мясная лавка. Конфеты нашли, бензина вдоволь – опять в путь.

При въезде в штат Калифорния, частью которого есть Сан-Диего, нас останавливает офицер пункта контроля сельского хозяйства. Ввоз и вывоз инородной флоры запрещен. Калифорния считается самым либеральным штатом. Как результат – большие налоги и бесконечные аэро-электростанции и солнечные батареи. Спускаясь в город тебя ослепляет бесконечность океана и все тот же закат.


Сан-Диего разбит на микро города. Есть центр – настоящий город с высотными домами, бизнес центрами, квартирами, – единственная часть Сан-Диего, где люди не носят вьетнамки. Есть более туристический город; город, где ничего нет, кроме набережной и волн для серфинга; есть город, где традиционно много современных хиппи, населяющих трейлер парки.

Есть Ла-Хойя. Там, если встать рано, можно пройти идеальный круг, который включает холмы, застроенные виллами в венецианском стиле, отвесной берег, с еще спящими у его подножия тюленями, улицы с розовыми зданиями, вмещающими мелкие галереи и, поднявшись опять, купить самый дорогой кофе с органическим молоком. А потом присесть на террасе этого же кофе шопа и понять, что все лавки и столы почти развалины, собаки сидят так же рядышком с своими тарелками, места почти нет и жутко уютно, а твой кофе и веганский кекс стоили 15 долларов. До часу дня в воскресенье – “фермерский рынок”, там даже есть гречишный мед, и клубника пахнет.

А можно вместо этого ночью пить ром на крыше и слышать дикую мощь океана. А днем, когда откроется, купить огромное мороженное, тоже органическое и тоже веганское. И конечно привет тюленям и водорослям, а еще разрывному течению, и главное вспомнить: плыть только по-диагонали к берегу.

Заливая (по незнанию) ледяной тихо-океанской водой каяк, проплываешь мимо отвесного берега. В год там около 30 см отвесных утесов из-за эрозии опадают в воду. Ну виллы дорогие там тоже в негодовании очень, т.к. части их территории, уже почти у самих бассейнов тоже давно исчезли с береговой линии. Морские львы меньше тюленей; музей современного искусства в Ла-Хойе – такой себе, а “тако”- что-надо!

В Сан-Диего самый загруженный в мире военный порт: Коронадо. Рядом там тоже живут люди, а пляжи еще белей. Много ветра, холодной воды, и свободы. На краю Соединенных Штатов, этот город – сам-по-себе.

Однажды Сбегая На Дикий Запад

“you can’t get away from yourself by moving from one place to another.”

(С англ.: От себя не убежишь, переезжая из одного места в другое.)

― Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises

Когда первый гусь оказался в озере, а остальные лениво его догнали – оказалось, что это я бегала за ними по парку. Наверно что-то вспомнилось из Нильсона. Так же, как и люди, сбегая на зиму из Канады, – гуси паркуются тут, уже третий год подряд.

Примерно тем же, помню, я объясняла, какой-то совсем неуместный загар в декабрьских коридорах Академии; тогда, как наш преподаватель живописи, Будников, даже не пробовал объяснять (по статусу не положено было). А в памяти – солнце зимой и небо синее, куда не повернешь голову, запах горячей пыли и горы, где-то на горизонте. А потом, кто-то в сентябре показал мне все серии Индианы Джонса; и манящий ноябрьским золотом и пурпуром запад, затянул меня вот уже на три года.

Долой рассказы, что от себя не убежишь! Уехав в самый конец континента, через океан от Киева, ты становишься кем-угодно, и одновременно никем. И каждый штат околдовывает совсем по-своему, как разные планеты в космосе Экзюпери.



Тебе открываются бесконечные газоны Кентукки с конюшнями, похожими больше на деревенские церкви, и как большинство Киевских архитектурных построек пост-двухтысячных, – с башнями. Их дополняют приветливые люди с рабочими руками, от ухода за лошадьми, и полными гордости глазами, от осведомленности в ситуации в Украине; и, как в подтверждение историями, про давнюю традицию эмиграции ирландцев и украинцев в штат Кентукки. Говорят, они хорошо кладут камень, очень! А затем – жаренные в тесте соленые огурцы и вера в необходимость трансляции CNN в Украине как закрепление ново-образовавшейся дружбы.

И правда, как-то по-доброму наивно звучат отголоски Кентукки в памяти: с простой едой и простыми мыслями.


Утонувший в тумане север Калифорнии, город Монтере. От цивилизации и единственного аэропорта отрезанный двухчасовой дорогой, через, как и везде (кроме Кентукки), выгоревшие поля с травой. Монтере двуличный. В тени переплетенных корней, закрученных веток, каменных вилл (как декораций из Властелина Колец или Сонной Лощины), отвесных берегов и оглушающей тишины, ты вдруг находишь проход на залитые солнцем и туристами улицы. Мимо, затрудняясь притормозить, пронесется с горы бело-золотой автомобиль 1920 года. А за холмом, все еще скрываясь в смеси тумана и выхлопов, за приз какой то, пронесется еще 50 таких же артефактов, оживленных заведенными гонщиками, так серьезно сражающимися за первенство. Наслоенные картинки памяти всплывают из описаний автомобильных гонок в книге Жизнь Взаймы, Ремарка.

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“- das Bild eines grauen Marktplatzes, voll von abstraktem Lärm, der durch viele Echos seinen individuellen Ton verloren hatte, und die Gespenster der Wagen, einer hinter dem andern, mit zwei winzigen Funken Leben in jedem, die nichts weiter wollten als sich selbst zu riskieren.”

(С нем.: перед глазами стояла картина: серая Рыночная площадь в Брешии, безликий шум, призраки машин проносились один за другим, машин, в которых было две искорки жизни, двое людей, охваченных только одним желанием — рискнуть своей головой.)

– Erich Maria Remarque, Der Himmel kennt keine Günstlinge

И с каждым вдохом – солнце, вершина холма, блеск ульібок и запыленных начищенных фар; шум какого то праздника, и отблеск не зря горящих свеч. И с каждым выдохом – пустая зыбкая тишина и плохая видимость.

Гул множества моторов действовал, подобно тысячекратной анестезии; проникал в уши, он парализовал и в то же время унифицировал мозг.

– Эрих Мария Ремарк, Жизнь Взаймы

Так, раз вынырнув, чтобы вдохнуть, я лицом к лицу встретилась с тюленем, и из воды выбегала уже я, а не гуси. Монтере уравновешивает, возвращая в точку отсчета.

И почти сразу опять (пока не опомнилась) в туман и наслоенную серость; город – Сиэтл. Там сложней. Глаза, после мещанских салонов Аризоны и Монтере, соблазняет бесплатным (по средам) входом Музей Искусств. Улицы и дома – скомканные и сброшенные в кучу, как и люди. Информации вокруг больше, чем кадров в секунду. И опять скорый вдох в Голдфинч Таверн (новом ресторане, открытом в сотрудничестве с отелем Четыре Сезона) с видом на закат и набережную, наполненный сытостью и теплым полумраком. Просто Итан (шеф повар, у которого родители оказались в балетном деле) пообещал, как-то,  передать сценарий (написанный талантливой Мариной Артеменко в Киеве) своим родителям. Ну да, и конечно ульібки и обещания дружбьі прилагаются. А внизу, там за окнами, куда я вскоре вьіскальзьіваю, к северу от отеля, – нагнетающая атмосфера суетьі и приготовлений к вечеру. Открываются в другой мир двери: обещающие, что-то смиренно-улыбчивые азиатской внешности лица, манящие звуки живой музьіки, волшебно резонирующие с восклицаниями змеевидного потока толпьі, и перекличкой рьібаков на Пайк Плейс. Запах и картинки, заменяя нашатьірньій спирт прорезают сознание. Вино, вода и хлеб от голода – вполне достаточно (не в обиду Итану).

Как дома не сдавливают друг-друга, не крошатся под весом надстроенных этажей, пока не ясно. Зато не жаль, что они закрывают солнце, – оно показывается в один из 100 дней.

Совсем в другую сторону увлек музей авиации. Там цельій мир: истории самьіх смельіх людей. Как бьіло тому, самому первому, в капсуле, запущенной в темноту космоса? И сразу в Гугл с поиском: в Аризоне права спортивного пилота, без права на коммерческую транспортировку пассажиров, вьідают за несколько месяцев и 10 000 долл., включая аренду самолета с инструктором. Говорят в пустьіне порьівчастьій ветер, а так, в отличии от Сиэтла, хорошая видимость.

Но последующий рассказ попутчика, при подъеме на гору “Лост Датчмен”, на востоке от города Финикс, отрезвляет, повествуя о товарище, разбившемся тут в горах, попав в песчаную бурю. Летние месяцьі знаменуют мансун. Он приносит резкие ливни и цельіе стеньі пьіли. Попадая в них – видимость, часто, всего пару метров.

Между смелостью и глупостью – один шаг. В Киеве бьіло смешно тогда, когда, как-то, открьілась кабина спортивного двух-пилотника, лавирующего в ступоре, и от капель пота на побледневшем лице, становилось совсем трудно видеть. Смешно, т.к. в тот момент я заметила, что задвижка в кабине, – как у нас в академии..в туалете только, наверно. А земля – вверху, там, в открьітом отверстии моей кабиньі, куда от резкого ветра и скорости вьілетели волосьі, растрепавшись из-под шлема, совсем не по-размеру. И отголоски инструктажа перед полетом: главное, если надо будет покидать самолет, вот поняти тут, и постарайся вьіпрьігнуть подальше от пропеллера крьіла. Но все же хорошо, в итоге?

Продолжение следует… (Сан Диего, Лос Анджелес, Сан Франциско, Нью Йорк, Гавайи, Бостон, Колорадо)

In Search Of The Earnings

“I need one more dollar.” Says a seven-year old boy.

“How much?” Asks him his grandmother.

“Just one more dollar.”

“Do you know what you have to give, in return?” Grandmother asks, then approaches her chick to the boy. He hesitates, bashfully.

“How much do you want it [a dollar]?”

The kid quickly gives a kiss and runs away holding the earned money towards the Italian Ice truck.

Rome was the Wall Street of the II century BC.

Socialists continuously blamed capitalism for the entrepreneurial approach to life, and materialistic morality of the capitalists. However, regardless of the forms of payment and chosen priorities, everything has its price. This statement has been so often argued. Since the I millennium BC the exchange relationships have been turned into the trade, with the invention of money. International trade practices lead to the establishment of the banking system. Rome was the Wall Street of the II century BC with its silver coins, that were quickly overpowering all the other Mediterranean currencies. In fact, accessibility via trade paths became a “match point” of a country’s prosperity. Between now and then, the only difference in the trade relationships is its ethics. With the progression of the mankind, the society has definitely gained humanity. One is no longer owned by another person (like during the slavery times). One is no longer obliged to work, and can not be imprisoned for the refusal to find a job (like in the USSR society).

However, we ended up in the prison of our own expectations and indulgences, attached to the socially globalized systems. The world’s progress is undoubtedly drastic. Especially with the contemporary physics, technology, and anatomical studies. It’s absolutely beautiful. Yet, while one is expecting the soon-to-be-delivered lab-grown, 3D-printed knee for the more and more affordable high-end surgery; another one is still struggling to provide food for the family. Juggling between the casual employment and hustling locally. Many decide to go abroad in search of the earnings.

Such worker doesn’t demand the medical insurance or legal rights; is not a burden for the local taxpayers, and accepts the wage, that none of the local citizens would willingly work for.

The two legal options are: immigration and temporary working (contractor’s) visas. Now, there is a vast difference not only for the person applying for the change of status (or visa), but also for the hosting country. In the first case, in addition to the extra competition, created on the job market and taken advantage of the social benefits, the country also gains a new citizen, that is seeking to assimilate, pay taxes, spend money on the local economy and hopefully contribute to the country’s prosperity. In the second case, the strict immigration policy in the majority of the developed countries, however, forces the people, seeking the earnings internationally, to apply for a temporary worker visa (or in many cases, when the legal process is still not accomplishable, due to the fees and background checking, – to try to cross the border illegally, risking their lives). A legal temporary worker is very welcomed both by the corporations and the government. Such worker doesn’t demand the medical insurance or legal rights; is not a burden for the local taxpayers, and accepts the wage, that none of the local citizens would willingly work for. On the contrary side, these allows the manufacturers to keep the minimum workers’ wage so low, due to the demand on it from the out-of-state workers. As a result, it takes the jobs from the potential local workers. Certainly, this is arguable in terms of the free market economy.

The International Relations Minister of Poland stated, that, according to the National Bank of Poland, Ukrainians sent a total of 5 billion Euros of their earnings from Poland back to their families in Ukraine in 2015.

In addition to this, the temporary workers create the huge cash outflow. After paying the lodging (which is usually very low, due to the sharing practices, where up to six people live in one room) and transportation expenses, the majority of the earnings is an immigrant remittance. One would be surprised by the dedication of such workers. Committed to providing for their children’s food and education, or saving money to start their own business back at home, the temporary workers would work from dusk till dawn, seven days a week, and won’t spend an extra cent on their own needs. These includes Latin American workers in the US and Eastern European (including my home-country Ukraine) workers in the both EU and US. The International Relations Minister of Poland stated, that, according to the National Bank of Poland, Ukrainians sent a total of 5 billion Euros of their earnings from Poland back to their families in Ukraine in 2015. According to the Pew Research Center survey: immigrants to Canada (mostly temporary foreign workers) send billion dollars per capita in remittances out of Canada. The top countries receiving Canadian remittances are: China (which receives $3.9 billion), India ($3.5 billion) and the Philippines ($2 billion). An estimated 582 billion U.S. dollars was sent by the contractors of the foreign origin from the USA to relatives in their home countries in 2015 (according to the Pew Research Center).

These contractors will choose the outrageous working conditions and separation from their families over the unemployment in their home countries. As long as the inflow of the foreign workers is legally processed (or at least looks legally enough), this system seems to satisfy the corporations and hence gets out of the hosting country’s governmental control. The point is, it keeps the production costs low, and selling prices competitive. Objectively, though, these kind of contract jobs are no different from the feudalism in the Middle Ages. The ultimate argument is: “They have an option to stay in the countries of their origin. Consider the pre-unions times in the industrial USA. Or the post war UK. Workers including children had to work on the factories and in the coal mines with no regulated work hours, or wages. And while at that time it was a rather necessity, due to the economical post war crisis; in the contemporary world it seems to simply be the toll to the global competition.

Luckily for my generation, they are a lot better equipped.

While on one hand, there are rapidly increasing board closures (including Brexit; and the promises to build the wall on the South, between the US and Mexico, of the currently running for the US presidency, candidate Donald Trump), on the other hand, I run over more and more friends, who are already abroad or considering to be there soon. All seeking the earnings and simply better opportunities. Luckily for my generation, they are a lot better equipped. They are young, know foreign languages, are proficient in modern technologies. Even though they might consider themselves the global citizens, in the end of the day it means you have no home. Foreigner both abroad and in your country of origin. Most of them look happy regardless. They say, as long as you know, what do you want. But when do you, truly?