There are so many little stories that showcase Ukrainian resilience and hope in the face of the brutal Russian invasion. Here is one such story.

I went to Krakow to apply for a visa. There, I met a girl from Ukraine. I remember how I’d seen her: she approached me in a long skirt and smiled. On a closer look, I noticed glitter on her face. It was a subtle touch to her look and a perfect complement. I found out that she, Oksana, is an art historian. Oksana and her husband were in Bucha and survived 14 days under shelling and Russian occupation. Her face changed when she started sharing her experience, and the glitter shone differently under her eyes.

Bucha is a city not far from Kyiv. The Bucha massacre was one of the first pieces of evidence that there are no boundaries for the occupiers: at least 458 civilians were killed, found later in mass graves.

She said, “You know how I understood that they (Russians) don’t have any chance? When I realized what I took with me to the basement in a rush when we had to run to the shelter: An emergency suitcase and three small jars of glitter. I subconsciously wanted to take glitter with me as if I knew there would be another chance to use it.”

The same glitter under her eyes became a statement of a will to live, of the right to dare to think about the future, and If even in this darkest time, dare to dream. Whenever I see the glitter on any face, I think about Oksana, amazing Ukrainians, and our resilience. By the way, Oksana also has a fantastic Twitter account about Ukrainian art history in English: @ukr_arthistory