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excerpt from the Interview with WRZESNEWSKYJ ANKA

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Date and Place of Birth:  April 25, 1991, Toronto, ON Canada  
Date of Interview: February 14, 2020
Place of Interview: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Length of Interview: 47 minutes
Interviewer: Ariadna Ochrymovych
Language: English


Interviewer: As a teenager and a child, what language did you speak at home?

Anka: As a child, we spoke Ukrainian primarily and then, on and off in English but we would be corrected to speak Ukrainian at home because we did attend an all-day English school and a French school, so we spoke fifty fifty at school French and English and then at home my parents really tried to re-enforce Ukrainian although my father does not speak Ukrainian.

Interviewer:  And did you go carolling with any of the organizations?

Anka: As a child I used to go carolling with Plast* in a group and then when I turned 13 I would do all of my Ukrainian Christmases in Ukraine with the orphans and so we would,  actually, after Sviata Vechera** we would dress all the kids in the Vertep***, the Nativity scene, and we would all go carolling in the village. So, I actually knew all the carols because of my grandparents and them taking the time to teach us, and have, you know, a music teacher come in and work with us as a little family and we would, that was something my grandmother would look forward to. All four of us lined up singing and so yes I know them to this day because of that.

Interviewer:  How important is your non-Ukrainian parent’s culture to you?

Anka: I would say we would celebrate very traditional Canadian holidays, so like you have Thanksgiving and your Christmas Eve and what else? That's how I kind of identify that culture. We had this weird parallel universe that we lived in, that we were able to experience both. So it was, that was like my dad's pride to share that with us.

Interviewer: Aside from your job, do you participate in Ukrainian community events or organizations?

Anka: I also volunteer with Canada Ukraine Foundation as the photographer on the Medical Missions so I’ve participated in a number of the missions that have taken surgeons from Canada over to Ukraine and have done reconstructive surgeries on veterans or even civilians that cannot afford the reconstructive surgeries and now the project has been taken over by Sunnybrook hospital and so last November I was on the last mission and I’m hoping to go in the summer  as well and another project that I’m involved with is through the Vasyl Slipak Foundation which is situated in Ukraine. This is an organization founded by the late Vasyl Slipak’s  brother, actually Orest Slipak, who is the founder and running the organization in Kyiv and he does, with the funds that are raised, supports initiatives for young artists to move forward within their professional careers and so I’ve helped organize a tribute concert for this brother who’s unfortunately shot down in the front lines in Ukraine three years ago and he was a renowned French opera singer.

Interviewer: You’ve spoken a little bit throughout about your impressions of Ukraine but you've been there a lot, probably a lot more than most people your age, so just on the whole what are your impressions ?

Anka: It's my second home. I feel very, very comfortable, I'm very acquainted with it and there's so much for me to still explore and experience and that's something I'm going to do until, until I can’t,  so that's the choice I've made and that's how I feel about Ukraine

Interviewer: Would you ever move to Ukraine ?

Anka: I've thought about it on a bunch of occasions, I have lived there, not for a long period of time, but it was almost 2 years. If it all, if everything was aligned accordingly then, yes , I think I could live there.

*Ukrainian scouting organization

**Ukrainian Christmas Eve Dinner

*** Nativity scene, acted out by carollers