They are happy here, but homesick

Thousands of Ukrainians fled the Russian invasion and settled in Quebec. For next year, Newspaper To better understand the ups and downs of this refugee journey, it will follow the Marichuk family – Dmytro, Oksana and their five children.

• Read more: Ukrainians in Quebec for a month: starting from scratch with five children

• Read more: War in Ukraine: Refugees welcomed with open arms in Quebec

An unforgettable trip for the whole family to Niagara Falls this summer.

Courtesy image

An unforgettable trip for the whole family to Niagara Falls this summer.

They have been here for four months. Marichuk has an increasingly normal life in Quebec, but the desire to return to Ukraine haunts them despite everything.

“Emotionally, it’s very difficult,” sighs Dmytro Marichuk as he sits down in front of a black coffee he orders in perfectly acceptable French.

On the positive side, daily life is gradually settling down for the extended family that has taken refuge in Quebec since the end of May.

A few weeks after his arrival, Dmytro Repentigny was hired by Public Works, which showed his uneven tan.

“Now I know all the parks, all the swimming pools and all the fountains in the city!” assures the former structural steel contractor in his native country.

His daughter and twins — Anastasia (14), Daniil (13) and Nikita (13) — spent part of the summer harvesting vegetables in the fields of Lanatier.

“I was brought up in a family where we farmed the land and it was part of our culture,” says their father. It would have been worse if they had stayed home. »

The three older children worked in the fields during the summer.

Courtesy image

The three older children worked in the fields during the summer.

Back to class

Her four school-aged children returned to school at the start of the school year, splitting their time between a franchised class and a regular class.

The youngest Mia (age 3) stays at home with her mother.

Integration may be easier for Anastasia, who spoke good English before coming here, Dimitro believes.

But 10-year-old Andre, who remembers new words in French so easily, is proud of his boy.

Still, the 30-year-old admits that for parents, mastering Quebec’s official language is still “a big problem.”

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

But this is not enough in the eyes of newcomers.

Uncertain career

The father of the family, Dmytro Marichuk, hopes to find work in his field.

Photo by Nora D. Lamontagne

The father of the family, Dmytro Marichuk, hopes to find work in his field.

Thoughtfully, Dimitro projects himself into the future in his adopted country, as he tries to survive from day to day.

“Shall I expect a career here, or shall I work with my hands all my life? I don’t want that…”, he blurts out before asking Register With a smile, write that you can see his CV on request.

Couples sometimes think about returning to Ukraine, reuniting with their loved ones, their small suburban home in Sviatopetrivske near Kiev, and, in short, their life before.


Oksana, in particular, is nostalgic. The mother of five has also been in Ukraine for several weeks.

“Of course we are not ready to move or emigrate… but we can realize that life is not as pleasant as it was before the war,” Dimitro slips.

While waiting for the sequel, the Mariichuks spent the past few months trying to enjoy the little pleasures of summer, from a quick family trip to Niagara Falls to a visit to the Montreal Botanical Garden.

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

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