Oleksandr and Tetiana are experts at starting over, but they expect their next beginning to be their last for a long time to come. 

When they hold the keys to their new home at Esperanza Place, Oleksandr says, “We will be able to breathe.”

Blog Feature - HabitatEBSV.org -  750x510px -2Walnut Creek is a long way from their native Ukraine, but Oleksandr and Tetiana see it as the place where they and their girls – eight-year-old Oleksandra, or “Sasha,” and four-year-old Maria, or “Masha” – will plant roots and grow their future. 

And it couldn’t happen a moment too soon. “We are so tired,” Oleksandr says, “having to start our life from the beginning all the time.”

It’s a journey this family has been through before. Oleksandr and Tetiana met while working for the Ukrainian government in Crimea. Upon the Russian annexation in 2014, Oleksandr says, “We had to leave Crimea in one night. We just packed everything into the car, and we came to Kyiv.” 

Blog Feature - HabitatEBSV.org -  750x510px  3-2In 2017, while working and parenting young Sasha, they each took a chance on a green card lottery to come to the United States. When Tetiana’s application was successful, they decided to leave behind everything they knew. They moved to San Bruno, where a month after arrival, Masha was born.

They haven’t returned to Ukraine since a 2021 visit, less than a year before the Russian invasion. And here in the United States, they started again. Despite Oleksandr’s law degree and Tetiana’s Master’s in Economics back in Ukraine, “you have to change your whole life,” Tetiana says. “You have to start from the beginning.”

And they did. Oleksandr worked as a shuttle driver before starting at his current company in a variety of roles, while preparing for the California Bar exam and delivery driving on the side. Tetiana, caring for the children while taking classes and preparing to return to work when Masha starts kindergarten this year. 

Blog Feature - HabitatEBSV.org -  750x510px  2-2Their current rent eats the lion’s share of their monthly income, and much of the rest goes to their family in Ukraine. Savings, they say, is nonexistent. But that is the first thing they’ll change when they purchase an affordable home at Esperanza Place.

It will mean emergency savings and a college fund. A five-minute walk to work instead of Oleksandr’s previous two-hour commute. A bright, open kitchen where Tetiana can lean into her gift for baking – and nurture her dream of someday opening a bakery. Rooms of their own that the girls will decorate with their ample artistic talents, a legacy inherited from their grandfather. “A feeling of stability,” Oleksandr says. 

Most of all, they envision the childhood they can offer their girls. Sasha, they say, “watches movies where they have a house and a Christmas tree, where they can decorate their house and put a trampoline outside, and she wants that. And it means a lot if you’re able to fulfill these requests for your children while they are still children. It really means a lot.”

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