From Ukraine with love

July 24, 2014

Hallo, my name is Sonya, I’m from Ukraine. I’m a trainee in Brand Manual.

My story starts with a journey (as everything in my life). The physical and psychological journey from wide streets of Kiev – noisy, full of chestnut trees and old ladies with golden teeth – to calm, straightforward, windy fairy tale Tallinn. It was a long and tiring, but the most exiting journey in my life (well like all young people I tend to be overdramatic).

Ukraine was an exiting place to be. Working with contemporary art, explaining what does the phallic symbol in that picture represents, was extremely challenging but rewarding at the same time. I have learned to look inside of things, into their soul, seeing the beauty in the ugliest, most disgusting performances. Trying to see the world through the eyes of an artist and transfer that experience to the guests of the museum. But something even more challenging was waiting for me.

I moved to Tallinn 4 years ago. They say that the first step is the hardest, well I learned that the second and the third ones are not easier. Tallinn looked so cold, but with time the big block of ice started to melt, or maybe it was just the spring coming. People became more friendly, buildings and streets more colourful. I was not afraid to slip on the ice anymore. It felt like home. However, soon enough I started to feel my usual traveling itch. I wanted to feel the real warmth, the warmth of the spirit, going away as far away as possible from everything I ever knew. That’s how the idea to move to Portugal was born.

Living there was breathtaking. Walking among pine trees, having lunch by the ocean, Porto was the most beautiful city I had ever seen (again teenager overdramatising). But most exiting of all was the university. Learning the Portuguese way of design and illustration was amazing, so natural it felt like something I was meant to do. The way this warm, Latin people talk about design, the way they treat every project is so passionate, so innovative, so colourful and warm. That journey opened my eyes to what design is really all about, made me fall in love with it and love it passionately with all my heart. Without that experience I would have never been ready to knock on the Brand Manual office door.

It would be a lie to say I was not nervous before the inteview. The girl that let me in gave me a smile, a smile that was saying ”I get it, don’t worry, everything will be OK”. That smile stroke me and really calmed me down.

So there I was couple of weeks later in front of the same orange door as a trainee. I don’t know completely what does it mean, will I stay for a week or hopefully a little longer. All I know is I am on the orange doorstep of something big. A new exiting journey, so scary but so tempting at the same time. So… challenges, hard work, right questions, professional and mental growth are the key notes in my ”travel journal”.

One smart person once said – life is just a ride, so why not make it a good one?