They are happy here, but nostalgic

They are happy here, but nostalgic


Thousands of Ukrainians fled the Russian invasion to settle in Quebec. For the next year, The Journal will follow the Mariichuk family – Dmytro, Oksana and their five children – to better understand the ups and downs of the journey of these refugees.

The whole family on a memorable trip to Niagara Falls this summer.

They have been here for four months now. The Mariichuk have an increasingly normal life in Quebec, but the desire to return to Ukraine torments them despite everything.

“Emotionally, it's very hard,” sighs Dmytro Mariichuk, seated in front of a black coffee he ordered in perfectly acceptable French.

On the positive side, there is the daily who is gradually settling for the large family, who have taken refuge in Quebec since the end of May.

A few weeks after his arrival, Dmytro was hired by the public works of Repentigny, as evidenced by his uneven tan .

“Now I know all the parks, all the swimming pools and all the fountains in the city! assures the one who was a construction steel contractor in his native country.

His daughter and twins – Anastasiia (14 years old), Daniil (13 years old) and Nikita (13 years old) – have harvested vegetables for part of the summer in the fields of Lanaudière.

“I was raised in a family where we cultivated the land, it's part of our culture, says their father. It would have been worse if they stayed at home. »

The three oldest children worked in the fields during the summer season.

Back to school

His four school-age children returned to school at the start of the school year, dividing their time between a francization class and a normal.

The youngest, Miia (3 years old), stays at home with her mother.

Integration may have been easier for Anastasiia, who spoke good English before arriving here, believes Dmytro.

They are happy here, but nostalgic

They're happy here, but nostalgic

But 10-year-old Andrii is the one holding back the easiest new words in French, he says, proud of his boy.

However, for parents, mastering the official language of Quebec is still “a big problem”, admits the 30-year-old.

Yes, of course, he quickly learned the vocabulary of the interview – “ screwdriver”, “turf” – thanks to his colleagues. And he takes French lessons with his wife twice a week, after work.

But this is far from enough for newcomers.

Career uncertain

The father of the family, Dmytro Mariichuk, hopes to find a job in his field.

Thoughtful, Dmytro looks to the future in his adopted country, as he tries to live day to day these days.

“Can I hope for a career here? or will i have to work with my hands for the rest of my life? That's not what I want…”, he drops, before asking the Journal to write that his CV can be consulted on request, with a chuckle.

The couple sometimes think of returning to Ukraine, to find their loved ones, their small suburban house in Sviatopetrivske, near Kyiv, in short, their life before.


Oksana, in particular, is homesick. The mother of five is also in Ukraine for a few weeks.

“Of course we weren't ready to move or emigrate… But maybe the we will realize that life there is not as pleasant as it was before the war”, slips Dmytro. 

Waiting for the rest, the Mariichuk have tried in recent to appreciate the little joys of summer, from a whirlwind family trip to Niagara Falls to a visit to the Montreal Botanical Garden.

“We try to see something other than problems,” says Dmytro, determined to do everything for the good of his family. 

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