UPDATE 6: DAD AND FAMILY ARE FINALLY OVER THE BORDER! Please see updates below for more info.


Why doesn't his wife drive?
My response here

What does he think of (Ukrainian President) Zelensky?
His response here (with audio)

How is he keeping the car fuelled?
His response here (with audio)

Where is your dad from?
My response here

OK, here we go. Some background:

My father is a British citizen who has been living in Ukraine for the past 15 or so years. He has a Ukrainian wife and 11yo daughter.

After the Russian invasion began, he chose to take the opportunity to escape the country by car, first securing an emergency travel document for his daughter, and then returning home, packing a car with clothes and supplies, and driving his wife and daughter back to the UK to stay with family in safety.

After driving 1100+km over the weekend from his town to reach the Slovakian/Ukrainian border, he has spent the last 42 HOURS in a huge convoy of vehicles trying to, well, do the same thing as he's trying to do - escape Ukraine.

He is unable to sleep as every time he drifts off he needs to move 1-2 car lengths forward as the queue moves. There are three separate lanes, and thousands of cars queuing to get over the border.

He has spent the vast majority of the last 42 hours trapped in the car with his wife and daughter, making the agonisingly slow creep forward towards the border. I've been in regular contact with him since the invasion began. Today I've been talking to him constantly for the last few hours, mostly to keep him company and keep him sane. He has not been able to bathe or take a shit in the last 2 and a half days.

I am his second child from his first marriage, one of three. I am 38, I live in New Zealand. I communicate with him via text and voice messages on WhatsApp. His internet is patchy but I can talk to him on WhatsApp, relay any questions anyone may have about his experiences from here to him, and then transcribe or copypaste his responses back. I may be able to give additional context myself - I've been talking to him consistently for the past few days, so it may be that you ask something obvious that I've already asked him about and can respond directly.

So just to be clear, I'm doing my best to act as a conduit between my dad and Reddit, you're not speaking directly to my dad, everything is going through me. I will try to be diligent with marking everything up so it's clear whose voice you're getting.

I had the idea to do this AMA because I thought questions would be a distraction for him as he is unable to sleep, and I have been fascinated by the insight I've got from talking to him about this experience. I thought it would be an interesting thing to share. Feel free to ask him about his experience, his life in Ukraine, his opinions, whatever you like. He is happy to answer questions for as long as he can stay awake.

It is currently around 4am where he is and his wife and daughter are sleeping in the car, everything is pitch black besides his phone screen. I don't know how long he can stay to answer questions (when his wife wakes up it'll be her turn to edge the car forward and he should be able to take a nap). But I will keep relaying things to him for him to answer later.

Only one request: please keep it civil. He and his family have been through enough in the past few days. This is not a joke or an opportunity for you to show how edgy you can be.

Proof: I have confidentially verified with mods already.

UPDATE: After some 43 hours, the border is finally in sight, but still probably quite a wait until they're through. Dad is still happy to answer questions, so keep them coming.

UPDATE 2: Dad has stopped responding to my messages for now (I get two grey ticks on WhatsApp, meaning they've been delivered but not read). For now, I'll go through the unread questions and answer any of them that I can answer myself. He is likely taking a nap.

UPDATE 3: OK, sorry everyone. My dad is absolutely shattered, and he physically can't keep his eyes open any longer. He needs to rest. However, he has said how much he has enjoyed this and what a welcome distraction it has been, and how happy he is that he can share his experience with you all. He also said that once he's had a rest, he would love to resume and continue answering your questions.

I'm going to go through and answer any of the current questions that I am able to answer - I will not speak for my dad, but some questions have already been asked and some are things that I have talked to him about already at some point in the past. Once dad is back I will try to respond to everyone.

I also want to add some of the audio recordings to a few of the answers, only the ones with no personal information. I think they add a lot, personally - makes his answers a lot more personal. I don't mind transcribing what my dad writes, and I try to capture his voice and intonation, but sometimes it's impossible to render it in text. Any responses with audio will have a link at the top of the response.

UPDATE 4: Dad is up and wants to answer more questions! Will be playing catchup for a while, but please feel free to keep going. The border is getting close now, but still a while to go.

UPDATE 5: It's just after 1pm where he is now. We started this around 4am his time, so it's been a solid 7 or so hours of relaying stuff back and forth for me. Dad managed a power nap in the middle but I am tired and I need to go to bed. 51 hours now in the queue now. Still queuing, but the border is getting closer and closer and it looks like he will cross over today.

I think I'm going to call it here for now. My fingers are a little sore. I really hope this was interesting/insightful. My dad and I want to thank everybody for being involved in this, and for all your questions, and your messages of support. I'd also like to thank all the people who PMed me with offers of help or asking if there's anything you could do. You are all thoroughly beautiful people.

UPDATE 6: DAD AND FAMILY ARE OVER THE BORDER! Some 60 hours total, I think. They are now in Slovakia. I'll let him fill you in himself! My and my wife's names are mentioned in there, but I don't really care. He's completely shattered and his eyes are bothering him (he recently had cataract surgery on both eyes). The last bit is him just gushing about how cute my dog is (and rightly so, he's a stunner). As you can hear, he really enjoyed yesterday. This AMA really helped the last part of the queue go by a little faster and more easily for my dad, his wife, and his daughter, which was my original intention in setting this up, before it evolved into something much more. I was not expecting it to take off like it did. So, thank you everybody for your questions and comments. I will continue to pass on your kind messages once he's up again!

Oh, and before the inevitable questions... I'm not sure if he has taken a shit yet. He's a morning pooper so I'm assuming probably not, but he's going to be committing a war crime of his own on that poor hotel toilet after he wakes up.

My dad will NOT let me end this without adding a link to his stepson's YouTube and Instagram accounts - he is a semi-famous and very talented young musician in Ukraine.

If you have more questions, please feel free to post and if they're new then I'll relay them to my dad, and he'll probably be able to answer at some point tomorrow or in the next few days.

Comments: 622 • Responses: 95  • Date: 

Security_Chief_Odo781 karma

How are they keeping the car fueled? Were they able to bring extra petrol or is there a danger of running out before getting to safety?

kinggimped1345 karma

kinggimped: I've added my dad's audio for this one, you can listen to it here.

Below is my transcription of what he said.

Dad: I live in a small town, where everybody knows everybody. I mean, the population is something like 30,000 and that includes the surrounding villages. I managed to 'charm' the attendant at the petrol station to fill up on the day we left. Usually they give a maximum of 20 litres - well, not usually, just in the last 4 days - 20 litres per car, per day. But I managed to fill up 20 litres in the evening, and then 30 litres in the morning. And we just kept on going. I have a 20 litre canister, a can, in the boot of the car. And on the way from home to here, about 1100km, at any opportunity - every opportunity where there was a petrol station without long queues, I would just stop and add whatever I could add, and that's how we kept on going.

And no, we are not going to run out of fuel, because against all odds, I used my head and initiative to keep the tank full.

kinggimped: My dad is a super pragmatic guy. In a situation like this, he's somebody you'd want on your team. To be honest, I just realised that I never even asked him about the fuel situation. I just knew that would have been the first thing he sorted out.

duckbigtrain465 karma

Just popping in to say: the way your father talks—or the way you transcribe the way your father talking—is very very good. I would read a memoir of his, 100%.

Thanks for coordinating this AMA

kinggimped305 karma

kinggimped: You're welcome, and thank you. I'm a writer/editor by trade and I type, as my father would say, very very quickly. It's not too hard for me. I was not expecting this many questions, so I'm sorry if I'm falling behind (26 unread messages right now, and still haven't finished the last batch). He/I will try to answer everyone! I hope that people aren't disappointed if I field a question that I either have already asked my dad, or if it's a question I don't really want to ask him.

My dad's native language is not English, although he speaks it very well. I've left in some of his little linguistic habits (e.g. he always uses "very very" as an intensifier), but I am tidying up some of the things he says and replacing misused words with what I know he meant to say. Otherwise, this is basically how my dad talks.

Apokolypze104 karma

British citizen living in Ukraine who is ESL?

I'd love some background/context on how that happened, if you can and don't mind.

kinggimped390 karma

kinggimped: He grew up in the middle east. When he was a kid, he lived in Lebanon. Civil war came. They escaped (sadly, this is not his first escape from a warzone, just his first one as an adult). He grew up speaking Arabic.

They lived in Doha for a while. Then their family emigrated to the UK. He learned English there.

He met my mum in the UK when he was about 20. They got married and had 3 kids. I'm the middle one. He became a naturalised British citizen. His English has always been very good, for as long as I can remember, but he speaks with a thick accent (I wasn't able to hear it until I was about 13 and met friends' parents, and my own friends started pointing out that he 'talked funny'). He also has funny stock phrases that he uses. Growing up we spoke English around the house, sprinkled with some Arabic words and phrases, like saying "yallah" instead of "hurry up", or calling us kids "habibi" ("baby/sweetheart").

He and my mother divorced when I was about 17 or 18, though the divorce was long and drawn out. He later met his now wife, who is Ukrainian. They moved to Ukraine after my father was unable to keep up payments on the mortgage on the house and it was repossessed. Packed all his stuff in a truck, and drove to the small town in Ukraine where his wife is from, where she owned an apartment.

They have now lived in Ukraine for 17 years. He speaks Ukrainian and Russian pretty well, albeit again with a thick middle eastern accent.

Bubblessaurus112 karma

I just starting reading this thread, but I'm hoping you might be able to help me with something. My brother is planning on driving to the border, to bring anything that could be helpful to refugees. Do you have any idea if there is stuff like clothing, food, socks, needed around there? I wish you all the best with all this awfulness going on.

kinggimped171 karma

kinggimped: Your brother is awesome. I think they'd be grateful for any help at all, honestly. From the sounds of things, a portable shower or toilet would be a very welcome commodity!

I'm sure that there will be people in the queue in need of those things. A clean pair of socks or underwear is never a bad thing. There are likely lots of young children and they could probably do with nappies, towels, that kind of thing.

According to dad there are already lots of volunteers handing out food, drink, and other things. It's been really heartwarming to see how people are willing to help others in need like that. Restores a little bit of that faith in humanity. My own limited experience of Ukrainian people when I stayed there with my dad for a month over a decade ago was the same. They were very warm and welcoming and so eager to help whenever they could.

iloveokashi38 karma

Portable shower in the winter? Aren't they gonna freeze taking a shower outside?

kinggimped206 karma

kinggimped: This is why I don't work in humanitarian aid

ihavetoomanyaccts11 karma

Hey from another kiwi just wanna say kia kaha

kinggimped51 karma

kinggimped: I'm not a Kiwi (my wife is), I'm a miserable Brit living among you in beautiful Aotearoa. Thank you to you and your fellow NZers for making me feel so welcome here. I love living here, even if it's more expensive than the sun.

Kia kaha, slava Ukraini!

TigreImpossibile17 karma

As a descendent of immigrants myself, I just wanted to wish your dad and his family godspeed and tell you I loved reading about his background 💙💛

kinggimped16 karma

kinggimped: Thank you, that's really kind of you.

Ooh, I like what you did with the Ukraine flag heart emoji. I'm stealing that.

DapperDan4419 karma

Thank you /u/kinggimped for the interesting and educational AMA. Heres to you and your family and all of Ukraine.

kinggimped17 karma

kinggimped: Thank you for your kind words, I'll pass along your best wishes to my dad :)

just_taste_it10 karma

How do charge your phone or laptop? Are you using wifi or signal? Wow good luck.

kinggimped26 karma

kinggimped: I can answer this. They have USB chargers in the car, and plenty of petrol. They're all on phones, no laptops.

wontonie10 karma

Your dad sounds like a bloody legend! Sending all my aroha to a fellow kiwi and his whānau. Kia kaha OP! ♥️

kinggimped15 karma

kinggimped: Thank you, I'll pass on your kind words to my dad.

BTW, not a Kiwi, my wife is but I'm just a miserable Brit living in beautiful Aotearoa, and feel very lucky to be here. Thank you to you and your fellow kiwis for making me feel so welcome here.

Kia kaha, slava Ukraini!

tt5190409 karma

Is he not being forced to stay and fight because he is age 18-60? Sorry if that’s a stupid question

kinggimped854 karma

kinggimped: There are no stupid questions! I can answer this one. My dad is a British citizen, not a native Ukrainian. So the 18-60 thing does not apply to him.

kickpushkiwi110 karma

Follow up question, is he receiving any judgement or questions by the people around him assuming he might be Ukrainian? Like if a Ukrainian man of that age arrived at the boarder would they turn them around and say "get back in and fight?" It'd be awkward as hell I'd assume. I'd want a giant union jack on my shirt or something so people don't people don't assume the worst.

kinggimped263 karma

kinggimped: I can answer this, though there's always the possibility he didn't tell me about it. But no. He says he has never experienced that kind of thing in Ukraine. It's part of the reason why he loves living there so much. He definitely experienced some harrassment and racism due to his skin colour and name when we lived in the UK. I also copped some of that after 9/11, because apparently having an Arabic-sounding surname makes it all right to equate you with Osama Bin Laden to some people.

Nobody assumes my dad is Ukrainian - he is of middle eastern origin, he has darker skin and a big ol' nose that he passed down to me (thanks for that, pa).

cahaseler326 karma

Did you think this might happen or did it come as a big surprise? If you'd known earlier, would you have done something differently?

kinggimped610 karma

(transcribed from 4-minute voice message, jeez dad, go easy, this is the first question)

Dad: Since December there have been talks and all kinds of speculations about Putin's invasion of Ukraine. We did not believe it would ever happen. We just thought, it's some kind of political manoeuvre to bully Ukraine into doing what he wants, or not doing what he wants. The same goes for the people on the street. I can't say anything about what the government or officials in Ukraine were thinking, they were probably taking it more seriously. It's just, the people in the street, they are very peaceful, a very simple nation. They are very "live and let live", and nobody believed this would happen. Everyone was going about their lives normally.

Now, would I have done anything differently? The only reason I have done everything in the last 4 days the way I've done it, is because for the last 2 or 3 weeks I have been getting a lot of emails from the foreign office in the UK asking me to leave. I just... didn't want to leave. For me, this is home. I live here. My wife, my child. We have a life. A dog, a cat. The normal stuff. And after 17 years, you don't just get up and go.

(deep sigh)

But, the last few days, I could actually feel that the people who were calling me from the UK, from the British Consulate in Spain, they were very worried. Very concerned. And now I know why. Now I know. I had to go to Lviv, about 950km from home, to collect a passport, an emergency passport, called an ETD (Emergency Travel Document) for my daughter, D. And I was very lucky to get it, because 2 days later they vacated the hotel they were staying outside Lviv, and moved to Poland.

(Wife, A, chips in in the background, in Ukrainian)

Dad: (agreeing with wife) Yes, that's right. I went, actually, on the very first day of the invasion. He invaded while I was on the train. So, yeah. Probably I would have done things differently by leaving a week earlier. But I wouldn't have left straight away, because no one - no one - believed he would do it. Nobody believed after the Kremlin and Putin kept on 'confirming' that "we are not here to invade Ukraine". All the news said it's an "exercise", a "military exercise". And when he started to put troops in Belarus, again, all the news, all the reports that were coming out said "this is for a military exercise".

(another deep sigh)

Well, yep, this is what they told their soldiers as well. And now they are paying the price.

kinggimped: I contacted dad about it as soon as the Russian troop buildup on the borders hit the news. That was over a month ago now, on the 25th January. This was his response.

kickpushkiwi49 karma

I thought about this a lot in the last few days, if nz was invaded and all my male friends, my dad, my brother were told to stay, would I stay with them? I decided I probably couldn't leave and if they had to take up arms I would too. But I couldn't decide what I'd do with my dog. If I left she'd come with me for sure. I hope your dad was able to take the pets. Obviously nz is an island and it wouldn't play out the same, but I ignored that part for the sake of this introspection exercise.

kinggimped66 karma

kinggimped: I can answer this. Unfortunately the dog and cat had to be left at home, but my dad's mother-in-law and stepson are there to look after them.

As for your hypothetical question... I've got no idea what I would do in that situation either. As a pacifist I don't think I'd make a very good soldier. Maybe I could help in another capacity.

wanttobeacop-4 karma

You understand Ukrainian despite never having lived there? (since you seemingly translated your dad's wife's Ukrainian)

kinggimped27 karma

kinggimped: No, it's all my dad speaking. I don't speak Ukrainian beyond a few simple words and phrases. Unless I've specifically said the wife is saying it, it's my dad talking. His wife is chipping in and reminding him of stuff, which he is then talking about in English. He understands what she's saying.

Sorry my formatting isn't clear. I'm transcribing as he talks and it's not too hard to keep up, but I'm not paying that much attention to formatting since Reddit is pretty limited in that way.

disgruntledgrumpkin274 karma

How's the 11 year old girl holding up? This can't be a fun or easy time for her at all, poor little lady.

kinggimped428 karma

Dad: Um, the 11-year-old girl, D, she's doing fine. You know, in Ukraine, children - especially girls - they grow up fast. They're aware of what's happening, what's going on, at an early age. And... she's not scared. Scared is one thing she's not. But she's sad.

Like all of us. We are all sad.

(Wife, A, chips in): She's not scared, because she hasn't seen... the reality...

Dad: Yes, she's not scared. She hasn't seen... any real shit in front of her. But she's sad, like all of us, about what is happening. It's... (sigh) ... it really, really, really is an unbelievable situation, that a country like Ukraine - a country that hasn't done anything wrong, to anyone - can find itself in this situation.

But D is fine. She reads news. She looks for news for us. She looks at various posts. And of course, we read the good, the bad, and the ugly. We know that a lot of the stuff is a load of crap, but we still look at it, we read it, we try to make sense out of it.

But yes. She's good. She's fine. She's coping well. And of course, the good people in this area are looking after everybody, very, very well. No differentiation between colour, religion, nationality. This is one thing Ukraine doesn't 'know', racism. In any of its forms. It doesn't know it.

She's fine. No, she's fine.

None of us were looking forward to this trip. At all.

(~5 seconds of silence. Wife, A, talks slowly in the background): My mum is at home. Our dog is at home. And...

Dad: Yes. A's mum is at home, our dog is at home. Our cat is at home.

(Wife, A, with a smile): Well, our cat is neither here nor there.

Dad: (chuckles) Well yeah, because it's a cat. But... the dog. Our third child, here in Ukraine. That's what A calls her. And how she treats her.

But no. We're all OK. We're tough, in a way. And that goes for all Ukrainian people. I mean, they are tough. They will get through this. They will get through it.

(deep sigh)

And everything will be fine.

kinggimped: I asked the same thing earlier today. My dad's response.

WhiteMoonRose125 karma

If you'd like I'm a mom of a 12yo, you can PM me and she could write to D. Let them know we're all rooting for them.

kinggimped80 karma

kinggimped: That's very sweet of you, thank you! I will pass this on.

shylocxs46 karma

Father of a 12 year old son here. My kid sends his best.

kinggimped38 karma

kinggimped: Thank you, I'll pass on your kid's best wishes to my dad and family!

Bearrrrrrrito69 karma

I don't have a question, but I really hope that A's mom and the family dog and cat are ok. I'll be sending good thoughts to all of you.

kinggimped29 karma

kinggimped: Thank you. I'll pass on your kind words.

hurtsdonut_30 karma

Why do girls have to grow up so fast in Ukraine?

kinggimped114 karma

kinggimped: I can kinda answer this. Basically, it's not as developed as many other nations. Kids are faced with reality, they are raised to be pragmatic, their parents do not mollycoddle them. Ukraine, especially the part where my dad lives, is pretty agrarian country. My dad likes to use the word "simple" to describe the way of life there. In an environment like that, kids grow up a little faster because they're forced to help out and "muck in" more than most western kids do, to be more self-reliant from an earlier age.

I don't think he's implying that kids have to grow up "so fast" for any negative reasons. It's just a very different environment to raise children than what he experienced raising me and my siblings in the UK. Priorities are different. Options are more limited.

mjzimmer88195 karma

This is incredibly interesting, thank you for sharing, and I'm sorry you're going through all this.

I hope you'll continue to share all the way through to successfully crossing the border & finally getting to shower and shit in peace.

I don't know how far the border is from the active fighting, but is there anyone checking the waiting vehicles for those who need urgent medical care?

kinggimped523 karma

kinggimped: I can answer this, it's been a topic that has come up many times during our chats. Here's a screenshot of the first time he mentioned it.

My dad has constantly been overwhelmed by the kindness of the local people. Every day, they are out there, handing out supplies, water, food, everything, to those waiting in the queue. And they will not accept a cent for any of it.

That includes medical care - there are people, both Red Cross and local doctors, going up and down the queue ensuring that everybody is safe, if anybody needs any help they give it. Again, refusing to take any payment.

You know, every time my dad gushes about Ukrainian people, he always uses the same word - "simple". My dad is fluent but not a native English speaker, and he sometimes uses words without realising they have a negative connotation... but the word he always uses is "simple". He in no way is meaning to imply that they're not intelligent, which is how some might interpret "simple", as a pejorative rather than what my dad seems to deem the highest of all compliments. What he means is that they are remarkably straightforward, uncomplicated, and pragmatic. They do not have an ulterior motive when they display altruism, or sympathy, or friendship.

He is constantly in awe and reverence of the "simplicity" of Ukrainian people and the kindness they have shown him in the 17 years he has lived in Ukraine. The longer he lives there, the more examples he seems to see of it.

carolefcknbaskin46 karma

Your dad isn't a native English speaker? I'm curious where he's from originally, having lived in both the UK and Ukraine, he must be quite international.

kinggimped33 karma

kinggimped: Answered here.

LordBran31 karma

In history, Charles the Third was also known as Charles the Simple, however

“His epithet `the simple' refers to his habit of being straightforward and honest, not simple-minded or slow.”

kinggimped17 karma

kinggimped: This is really exactly what my dad means. Thank you for that reference.

becausetheskyisblu175 karma

I'm going for distracting questions, I hope that is ok.

Dad: what hobbies do you have or enjoy?

Wife: what is your favorite type of music to listen to? Do you have a favorite concert you have been to?

Daughter: what is your favorite tv show? Movie? Book?

kinggimped331 karma

(kinggimped: He took the wife's questions for himself, I don't think he realised that wasn't for him, lol)

Dad: My hobbies... uhh, well, as you (kinggimped) know, when I was in the UK I used to play squash... I was playing pool, at some point we used to go bicycle riding, what have you...

Since I came to Ukraine, my hobbies have changed totally. I became a land lover, I became more of a DIY person, and when we are at the dacha, our little holding, our little farm, in the summer for 4 and a half months... our hobbies are keeping animals, ducks, what have you, and fishing. And planting organic food, and...

(Wife, A, in background): Grass! Grass!

Dad: Oh, yeah, and mowing. (makes a joke about how he used to force me to mow the lawn as a kid in the UK and chuckles). Um, what music do I like? I like the oldies... Elvis, Rolling Stones, Eagles, Deep Purple, Pink Floyd... uh, Elton John... it's the music that never dies.

And of course here, I love Ukrainian music. I do like the songs A (his stepson, who is a minor pop singer/celebrity in Ukraine) sings, because you can tell... he's singing it from the bottom of his heart. He writes the words, the lyrics are his, the music is his... everything is his. He doesn't use anybody outside, it's all in house.

Do I have a favourite concert? Yes. When I was younger, two concerts in particular I remember. One is Demis Roussos, may God bless his soul (chuckle), and the other one was Annie Lennox. She was great. I love Annie Lennox, her songs.

For my daughter, favourite move, favourite book... come on A (wife), help!

Her favourite books are David Walliams. She's so looking forward to getting more books from England once we get there. She loves his books, she loves his humour. Movies... she loves FRIENDS, as a series, she knows it all by heart. And, you know, she likes all kinds of family films. Home Alone, Babe... TV shows, she loves music shows, game shows, with celebrities and what have you. Come Dancing, stuff like that. Normal stuff, I suppose.

(Dad and wife talk to each other in Ukrainian/English hybrid code switching)

Wow. Russia just announced that they're going to pay 11,000 rubles to the families of the dead soldiers. At today's rate, that's about 50 dollars. That is what they think their people are worth. (sigh) And obviously, because of that, they look at other nations with the same... the same eye. If their own people are worth that much, then everybody else is worth nothing. And Zalensky is going to pay 100,000 hryvnia (currency in Ukraine). About 4,000 dollars. As a salary. On a monthly basis. To the family of dead Ukrainians.

(deep sigh)

You know?

Jackandahalfass70 karma

(Demis Roussos, for those researching at home)

kinggimped62 karma

kinggimped: Sorry, I'm not familiar with Demis Roussos and I am just transcribing his voice messages. Sometimes the audio isn't very clear. Thank you for clarifying!

nicholas818137 karma

Can your wife take over driving long enough for you to get some sleep? Being stuck in stop and go traffic for days on end definitely sounds like torture; I wish all of you the best of luck getting to safety.

kinggimped183 karma

kinggimped: I can answer this. They haven't done much driving in the past 2 days because they've been stuck in the queue! But until I started this AMA, his wife and daughter were asleep so he was edging the car forward and trying not to wake them up. But my dad actually likes driving, he always has. He feels like he shaves more time off the journey when he drives, so he's been doing the lion's share.

For the driving sections, yes, they have been taking shifts. He has told me that he can't wait to get into Slovakia, he just wants to stop and sleep in a bed.

WhatsThatNoize122 karma

I know this question is a little on-the-nose, but it's literally all I could think of reading your post...

  • Why can't he step out, take a shit on the side of the road, then walk back to the car which probably only moved 30 feet in that time?

I mean, that's what I'd do. I guess if I had a more philosophical question, it would be...

  • Will he return to the Ukraine?

kinggimped265 karma

kinggimped: I've added my dad's audio for this one, you can listen to it here.

Below is my transcription of what he said.

Dad: Um (laugh), the reason for that is... (wife laughs in background)... we are in the Carpathian mountains here. And it's all slopes.

Number 1, I find it very very hard to stand and take a piss, and keep my balance.

Number 2, I really haven't had that much experience of... (dad and wife laugh) ... of shitting in the wild, in front of people... or even when I can hear people. I'm a funny person when it comes to having a crap, really. I have to be sitting. In my own loo. Usually with something to read. And take my time. (Wife, A, chuckles in agreement)

(deep sigh)

Stress doesn't help, either. Stress doesn't help. Nothing helps, at the moment.

Now, will I come back to Ukraine? You bet your arse I will. You bet your last cent in your pocket I will. I'm just taking my wife and daughter to safety, for the time being.

I'm not going to try to sound like a hero and say that I would have gone to fight if they'd accepted me in my old age... but no. My family comes first. I have to make sure my family is safe first. And of course I will come back to Ukraine. And it will be very soon, either when...

(Wife, A, murmurs in the background without a hint of humour in her voice): Shoots himself...

Dad: Yeah. Either shoots himself, like Hitler. Or... he retreats with his tail between his legs to a place, god knows where, because nobody will accept him any more. Nobody will accept Russians any more. I heard in Europe, there are reports coming out that they're not accepted in hotels, restaurants, cafes... they are isolated at the airports. They can't use their credit cards. They are well and truly stuck and fucked.

Of course, Ukrainians, believe it or not, they have absolutely nothing against the Russian people. At all. They never have. Even after taking Crimea, and the Donbas. They never had anything against Russians, the people. It's the establishment. It's Putin.

kinggimped: I can confirm that growing up in a house with my dad, he is a legendary morning shitter, you could set a clock to the start of his daily bowel movement, and the bathroom was generally off-limits for a good 45 minutes, plus another 15 to allow the stench to dissipate. When he said he hadn't been able to shit in 2.5 days I didn't even think to question it. Also, TMI, but I totally inherited his shitting gene. I use my toilet time to plan my day.

lifepac17 karma

Thank you for adding that audio. It just reminded me that I was just scrolling through a random reddit post but this guy is real and going through this with his family. His family sounds like mine. Can't imagine how worried he is for their safety. I'm looking forward to the post about him returning to his own damn loo. Slava Ukraini!

kinggimped34 karma

kinggimped: You're welcome. I wanted to add audio to some of the responses for that very reason. It's a very real situation and as hard as I'm working to render what he's saying in the transcriptions accurately, and trying to capture his intonation and stress, text is always going to be a meagre substitute for being able to hear his voice and cadence.

And like I said elsewhere, I feel very sorry for the next toilet he comes across. I mean, if you think Putin's committing war crimes, just ask that shitter once my pa's finished dropping 3 days worth of dad-level depth charges

Goon_be_gone113 karma

What's their plan once they get out Ukraine? Settle down permanently or do they hope to return?

kinggimped255 karma

kinggimped: I can answer this. Once they are out, they are driving to the UK to stay with my dad's brother, who still lives in the UK. They only intend to stay for as short a time as possible, after which they will return to Ukraine. To their home. To go back to their lives.

My dad has lived in the UK (it's where I grew up with him and my mum). He is far happier in Ukraine.

Actual-Fail-125979 karma

What makes him like living in Ukraine more than the UK?

kinggimped423 karma

kinggimped: I can answer this, as I know exactly what his answer will be. But to be honest, you can glean a lot of it from reading some of his other responses in the thread.

I actually kind of answered it already here, but really it's a combination of finding love and acceptance, but also just being in a different stage of his life. In the UK he was always struggling to make ends meet, raising 3 kids and a mortgage and putting them through private school was a huge drain on, well, him. His mood. His temperament. His presence.

He's not the same man now as the father I grew up with. He has found happiness in the relative simplicity of life in Ukraine. He makes a basic but honest living. He has become much more attuned to simple pastoral pastimes like DIY, growing food, and keeping livestock like rabbits and ducks. He leads a far more plain and far less stressful life.

His wife supports him in everything he does, she is a wonderful partner to him, tempers his worst impulses and encourages his best. And he is raising one daughter rather than three children at a time; he is able to give her his attention and focus, and his constant presence in her life means he is better able to see her as the beautiful, unique individual that she is, rather than being called upon only to play the role of meting out discipline, providing transportation, and constant financial servitude.

His idiosyncrasies have been placed in a different context; and have become more features of his personality than flaws. He has mellowed. He has gained wisdom. He has gained some peace.

He is an incredibly kind man. This, he always has been. I believe that's something intrinsic to him, you can hear it in his voice. But the financial and emotional stresses of his life in the UK were of a different scope, and that kindness made less apparent to those closest to him. Now that he has a lighter load to bear, his anger and stress defused, that kindness shines through everything else. This was not so much the case when I was a kid.

So it's not so much that he prefers one country to another, it's more that he has found a home in Ukraine like he never did in the UK.

This is a man who was driven from his homeland as a child by civil war. He was not granted a home by birthright; he had to find one. If I have learned anything from travelling and living on three different continents during my lifetime so far, it's that you do not automatically best belong in the place you happen to find yourself. We are taught to believe we are - especially in countries where nationalism is made akin to virtue, like China or the US. But it simply is not the case. What you are used to, is not always what is beset for you. In my mind, my father was never 'at home' living in the UK, compared with in Ukraine. Now that the shoe is on the other foot, he has found it to be a more comfortable fit.

I think that as one of his children from his 'failed' marriage, I should feel envious that his daughter and stepson are growing up with a different, more mellow, more present father. But I don't feel that way. I'm just happy that he has found his own happiness. It's all I ever wanted for my parents, watching them argue and fight and stress over money and never really seeing them happy during my entire childhood. I find it incredibly heartwarming to see how he has changed, and how he genuinely enjoys life now. His life is not free of hardships, but he bears them more happily, and they become lighter.

This situation in Ukraine has done nothing to dull his adoration of a country that welcomed him with open arms and has only ever really shown him kindness and warmth, compared with a country that sought to bleed him dry at every opportunity and never really seemed to have his back.

Incidentally, my mum also remarried and is also blissfully happy compared to the mother that raised me. She loves her life now, and reminds me of it every time we talk. She loves her husband, she loves her little house with her Japanese toilet and kitchen that she designed herself, with her Thermomix and Instant Pot and all her other gizmos. It makes me smile just to think of it.

I'm just happy for both of them. They got married and had kids far too young; but have found love, peace, and comfort in the second half of their lives. Throughout my childhood and my adult life, seeing them under constant pressure and stress, it's really all I've ever wanted for them. I'm happy for my half-sister and stepbrother, that they have a father who can be there for them, who has found somewhere he belongs and can thrive rather than survive.

Sorry, this answer got away from me a little bit.

LookingForTheSea10 karma

Not gonna lie; I Googled Thermomix, looked at their website and still don't know what it is.

(Huge gratitude to you, your father and family for connecting us to what's happening this way. Glad to hear that your mom is also happy.)

kinggimped32 karma

kinggimped: It's a really cool and really expensive but extremely well engineered piece of kitchen equipment that is basically a mixer, a blender, scales, and a bunch of other stuff all in one. The blades and the mechanism are ridiculously powerful and well made. My mum used to love showing off how she only ever needed to buy granulated sugar, because if she wanted caster or icing sugar she could just put it in the thermomix and fuck that shit up into dust with the blades for a few seconds. Blenders can't do that. Not evenly and predictably, anyway. They're not powerful enough. But the fucking Thermomix is.

It can also heat food while mixing it, and it regulates the temperature really accurately. So you can do some wacky stuff that you wouldn't be able to do easily with traditional kitchen equipment, like cook eggs sous vide, or knead dough, or make perfect smooth fruit sorbet by chucking some frozen fruit and icing sugar in and wazzing it for a couple of seconds. But you can basically cook anything in it. My mum makes fantastic curries in hers, as well as a bunch of other stuff. She's an incredibly good cook, though, and she uses it quite often.

So it's an amazing piece of kit but it costs $1000+ and they sell it in this ludicrous way that makes it seem like some kind of cult or scam. You have to sign up and attend a live session to watch somebody demo it in front of you (seriously), and then you can only buy it through them or a limited number of other suppliers. You can't just go to the store and pick one up. I don't know why they do it this way. I think it's a way of creating artificial scarcity or something.

And since they're so expensive, if you're not going to use it regularly it's just not really worth it. It's for real kitchen enthusiasts. So people who spend that much on it have to continually talk about it to rationalise the ridiculous amount of money they just spent for an incredibly overengineered kitchen gadget (like my mum and the sugar thing I mentioned), which makes some people think it's some kind of weird cult or MLM type thing.

It isn't, it's legit. It's just ridiculously overengineered and 99% of people don't need one.

Having said that, my mum has one... and yeah, my wife and I have one too. They are pretty cool.

Red-713498 karma

What do you wish you could have brought with you?

kinggimped232 karma

Dad: What I wish I could have brought? Well, the rest of the family (referring to stepson and mother-in-law).

Yeah, well, really we didn't take much at all. I put a roof box on the top of the car, and it's empty. I'm wearing a pair of trousers and in a small bag there's one more pair; I'm wearing a shirt and in the bag there are two more shirts. And D (daughter) is wearing one pair of sports bottoms and she has a pair of jeans with her.

We haven't taken much, we haven't packed a lot, because...


Because the decision was taken literally on the day. The decision was actually taken in the afternoon of the day before we left at 6:30 in the morning. None of us wanted to go anywhere. We did not pack for a long trip because... (sigh while wife talks in background) we're not going to be gone for long.

No, we don't wish for anything, really. We didn't... whatever we left behind is just stuff. It doesn't matter.

Twelve20two51 karma

Is there any way for any of us to help A's mother (and the dog and cat)? I'm not sure if that would be appropriate in any way, or if they even want or need support where they are

kinggimped80 karma

kinggimped: A's mother has her grandson (dad's stepson) looking after her and helping with the pets. You are very kind to offer, and I will pass on your best wishes to my dad and his family. But they're in good hands already.

dangerislander3 karma

"We're not going to be gone for long"

Reminds me the Cubans in Miami. They said the same thing after the fleeing the Cuban Revolution. Most of then ended up never returning.

kinggimped4 karma

kinggimped: Thank you for your vote of confidence!

neonpinata87 karma

I have a kid the same age, and I've been wondering what it's been like for them. Does your daughter have friends that are staying behind in Ukraine? Will she be able to go to school or anything in the UK? I can't imagine how stressful having your whole life upheaved like this must be.

kinggimped127 karma

kinggimped: I can answer this one.

Yes, absolutely his daughter has friends staying behind in Ukraine. My dad is very lucky to be a British citizen and be able to escape to there while the shit is hitting the fan. Most Ukrainians do not have this option - those who are escaping are going to the mountains or another country in the EU.

This is intended as a short trip to the UK for the safety of his family. They will be returning to Ukraine - their home - as soon as possible. So no, there's no intention to enrol her in a UK school.

stoneandglass75 karma

I have a different question which I hope will distract a little.

How did your Dad end up in Ukraine? I am guessing it relates to his Ukrainian wife? How did they meet?

Ps. Advice on the poop situation. If it reaches "poop is coming" levels, open both car doors on one side for a bit of privacy from other cars and hope family can find the other side's view very interesting

kinggimped172 karma

kinggimped: I can answer this, though I hope you respect if I don't go into too much detail.

I was about 17 or 18 when he and my mum divorced. It was an acrimonious and painfully drawn-out divorce. After paying out the divorce, he couldn't afford to keep up mortgage payments on the family home for longer than a few months. The house was repossessed.

By this time, he had already met his current wife, completely by chance, through a friend. She is a Ukrainian, who was in the UK for an English teaching job, and needed somewhere to stay before her placement began. My dad offered told his friend that she was welcome to take the spare room for as long as she needed. She left, her job never materialised, she came back and stayed with us again while she planned her return to Ukraine. She went back home, and we didn't hear from her again for a long time.

They became friends and confidantes during the divorce, and several years later, after the divorce had been finalised - a big surprise to all of us - she returned again, and they started a relationship. When it came to pass a few years later that he lost the house, she told him that she owned an apartment in her hometown, which she was currently renting out for the income. In the end, they loaded all my dad's possessions into the back of a truck and drove from the UK to Ukraine, through like 10 countries, moved in, and they have lived there ever since.

alihassan9193145 karma

I had to remind my brain that in Europe most people can drive through ten countries in their cars without a problem.

kinggimped209 karma

kinggimped: There's a silly saying/aphorism I heard a while ago that is kind of relevant here - "Europe: where 100 miles is a long way... USA: where 100 years is a long time".

Every time I post that on Reddit I get downvoted to hell by Americans, but I don't care. I'm gonna keep commenting it whenever it's relevant, because it's true and it makes me laugh.

OtakuMusician21 karma

American here. Not only was it funny but it was funny because it's absolutely true.

kinggimped22 karma

kinggimped: Truth has a well-known liberal bias ;)

vandebay21 karma

This sounds like a beautiful plot for a romantic movie

kinggimped41 karma

kinggimped: I think I may have rose-tinted it a little bit in my attempt to condense it into 3 paragraphs. Speaking as someone who was there, it was pretty fucking horrible for everyone involved. But yeah, it did have a happy ending. So maybe you're right!

the-mp19 karma

OP… how do you feel about that all? Are you and your dad close, do you have a relationship with your step-sister?

kinggimped48 karma

kinggimped: This is a really tough question to answer, to be honest. Relationships are complicated.

Dad was absent or otherwise engaged for a lot of my childhood, either because he was away trying to make money so we could have a roof over our heads and food to eat, or because I wasn't at home. I went to boarding school for much of my early years (9-13) and then during my more formative years at high school/college (14-18) I spent most of my time at school, because I was on about 4 different scholarships and was expected to attend so much pre- and after-school stuff, I was rarely at home. And at weekends my dad was usually exhausted, and I had a long list of chores to do. Then I went to university in another city, so I was away for most of the year. By the time I finished my degree, I didn't have a home to come back to, and my dad had already moved to Ukraine.

There are few instances I can remember of my dad and I really sharing quality time together. My little sister, the youngest of the family, was always his favourite - they were always incredibly close, and when my dad left for Ukraine it affected her more than anybody else.

So really, we've never been THAT close. There are some things that he did in times of desperation that affected me and our relationship negatively. But we are both adults, we have a mutual respect. I love him very much. I am glad that we have a relationship. Perhaps we don't talk as often as we could - I live in New Zealand, with him in Ukraine it's difficult to juggle timezones etc. But that's more of an excuse than anything else. We don't talk to each other regularly, but we catch up now and again. I haven't spoken to him this much, since the invasion began, for many many years. Not since I stayed with him in Ukraine for a month back in 2010.

We don't argue. I don't argue with my parents. I am 100% honest with them, and always have been. They don't always appreciate or enjoy everything I have to say, but they accept that at least I am being honest with them, and I think they have come to respect that.

As for my half-sister, unfortunately I've only met her once. I've talked to her several times on the phone as she's grown up. My dad's wife was heavily - and I mean HEAVILY - pregnant with her while I was staying with them in Ukraine. I was hoping I'd get to meet her, but she went into labour about 2 or 3 days after I left! The only time I've met her was one Christmas when I was in the UK with my fiancée and he was there with his family. We met up at a pub in our hometown with my two siblings, my dad, his wife, and their daughter. She was only about 5 or 6 years old but such a sweet girl. She seems to have inherited the best qualities of my father. She's smart, funny, and is mischievous without being naughty. My step-brother (dad's wife's son from a previous relationship) also adores my father.

Ih8Hondas10 karma

As an American, I can't conceptualize how you could possibly drive through that many countries in any reasonable amount of time.

kinggimped20 karma

kinggimped: There's a silly saying that I posted elsewhere in this thread (and usually get downvoted for posting on Reddit), it goes: "Europe: where 100 miles is a long way... USA: where 100 years is a long time". Kinda relevant to this conversation but I'll take any excuse to post it because it makes me laugh!

sazzledrip142574 karma

What's your reaction knowing that your president went from a TV star to someone who's not going down without a fight?

kinggimped478 karma

kinggimped: I've added my dad's audio for this one, you can listen to it here.

Below is my transcription of what he said.

Dad: You know, when Zelensky came to power, everyone was very very happy. And we were very happy, because he's one of "the people". An actor, a comedian... young, energetic... and really, he had a series here, which was called "Servant of the People". It was great fun to watch.

Now, unfortunately everybody had very high expectations for him to change Ukraine overnight into something that everybody wants Ukraine to be. But... a country like Ukraine, with all the corruption that was going on, all the difficulties that it has and had in the past... it didn't happen. Now, slowly slowly, he started to make changes, and everybody started to notice improvements.

Now, his stand, during this war... without a doubt, has made him a hero.

(Wife, A, talks excitedly in the background, code switching between Ukrainian/English)

Dad: Yes, that's right. When he was an actor, many years before he became president, he addressed Putin, and sent a message to him, saying "Don't bring Ukraine down to its knees - I will come to you on my knees. Just leave Ukraine alone."

And now, he's a hero. And there is a post going around in Ukraine, you know, that "some presidents become clowns, but some clowns become heroes". That's so true.

He is very well respected. And he's doing a good job. He didn't run away. He did NOT run away. He didn't hide his family. He didn't send his children to Switzerland. They are ALL in Ukraine. He's the man for the job. At the moment.

Hourly, he gives news. Tells everyone what is going on. He's very hot on social media, and he works it. He makes the media work for him as well.

NotTJButCJ27 karma

Sounds like your dad picked up a bit of the accent lol

kinggimped44 karma

kinggimped: I don't hear it, that's how he's always spoken English. He is of middle eastern descent and has always had a middle eastern accent, perhaps that's what you're hearing. He has lived in Ukraine for 17 years now, but he still sounds the same as ever to me.

His native language is Arabic but he speaks 4 languages, all of them with a middle eastern accent. I think that's what you're hearing.

I'm guessing that maybe you're not that familiar with Ukrainian accents, and just assuming that his 'foreign' accent is that. It's not Ukrainian at all.

rk-imn9 karma

I agree this is a very similar English accent to Palestinian or i think Iraqi Arabic speakers I know

kinggimped16 karma

kingggimped: His mother was Lebanese, his father Palestinian. So yes, good ear. Iraqi accent is quite similar.

Nimyron64 karma

How is the poop situation ? Have he considered shitting on the road or on the side and wipe with some clothes ?

Serious question there, I have some weird anxiety making me feel like my heart is gonna blow up when I don't have access to toilets so I couldn't survive in his situation.

Good luck to them.

Edit : just noticed you answered that. I just wanna add that taking a crap in the wild is a shameful experience but when you gotta poo, you gotta poo. Talking from experience here. But they have to wipe, or it's gonna get very itchy very fast, and it could become infectious if they have shit on their asses for several days in a row. Y'all are in the same boat, I'm sure others are dying to get the bronze out so maybe they'll look weirdly at a guy taking a crap on the road but truth is they'll just hope they have the courage to do the same.

kinggimped54 karma

kinggimped: Already answered here, in probably more detail than anyone ever needed. :)

DeathInSpace80564 karma

What have the radio stations been like? Is there like a statewide news station or local stations to warn or address what is going on in each region? What is his mixtape right now while waiting? It sounds like a nightmare but hopefully he gets through this soon.

kinggimped152 karma

Dad: The radio stations in Ukraine during this time have been great, they've been gathering information, on the ground, from reporters. They've been interviewing people here, and in Russia, and the rest of Europe too. They've been in contact with government officials, members of parliament, ministers, explaining everything as and when... so yes! Yes, we are listening to the radio all the time.

There are certain radio stations that you really don't want to listen to... but what you notice is... you see, what I noticed first when I came to Ukraine about 17 years ago, is the music. They are very, very musical. They love their music, they love their songs. But now, now you don't hear music on the radio at all any more.

My wife's son - my 4th (pauses for a moment to check his maths) - uh, 3rd son. He's a musician, a singer, he's quite famous. He has great songs. He's becoming quite famous here in Ukraine - what some have worked for 30 years to achieve here in Ukraine, he has done in only a few years. He writes his own music, his own lyrics, everything else. He's more or less... defused at the moment - who wouldn't be in this situation? He's putting clips, using the existing music he has... but, y'know.

But yeah, going back to radio stations, it's not "fun" listening to radio stations any more. It's all misery, and gloom, and speculation, and expectations. And bad... bad news, as you'd expect at times like this.

kinggimped: My step-brother is indeed a really good (and very passionate) musician. Not sure if it's a bit naughty to throw in a quick promotion for him here, but he goes by KHAYAT on YouTube if anyone wants to check him out.

edit: lol, my dad is insisting that if I'm going to whore him out then I need to include his Instagram account as well... here it is

Anglophyl7 karma

Liked and subscribed. He could be singing about toilet paper for all I know, but I'll still jam to it.

10/10 with rice.

kinggimped9 karma

kingimped: He's a really talented dude. Music is his passion and he pursues it real hard. Got to be proud of him for how much he's achieved through his own hard work and talent. He was always a really sweet kid, too. He adores my dad. It's pretty heartwarming.

1990ebayseller53 karma

My Ukrainian, Polish and Russian coworkers have always and I mean always have talk about Putin invading Ukraine and killing everyone for the land and continue taking over countries.

Did you have this type of conversation often at home?

Happy you are taking the family out to safety. Something really bad is about to happen in Ukraine within the next 24-48hours.

kinggimped86 karma

Dad: Well yes, since 2013 when he took Crimea, and then later eastern Ukraine, Donbas, there has been a lot of talk about his greed, his future plans... but... nobody thought he would carry it through, because nobody thought he'd be stupid enough to do this.

That's the bottom line. No one is really stupid enough to do this, and we always thought, if he even tries to do this, he would not be allowed to get away with it. But... unfortunately, unfortunately Putin is getting away with murder. Literally. Literally murder.

As for something bad going to happen within the next 24-48 hours... well, I don't know. I mean, of course things can get worse, but don't ever underestimate the resistance of Ukrainians.

(short pause. Voice suddenly gets very serious)

Not that easy. Not that easy to walk over.

Not that easy.

labonnesauce48 karma

Why not let the wife drive during the queue? Everything is stopped, it should be simple and you could get some rest. I wouldnt be able to not poop for that long. Good luck, you are almost there!

kinggimped106 karma

kinggimped: I can answer this. At the time this AMA started it was about 4am for them, and his wife and daughter were sleeping. He didn't want to wake them, since sleep has been a bit of a precious commodity over the past few days. His wife is probably at the wheel now. They've been taking it in shifts, but my dad has always enjoyed driving, and he's happy to do the brunt of it.

swampmilkweed48 karma

Why do you think Putin is doing this? What do you think he wants? What do Ukrainian people generally think of Putin?

On a lighter note, what do you love most about your wife and daughter? ❤️ Edit: and kinggimped 😋

kinggimped193 karma

Dad: I think Putin is doing this mainly because... he believes he can. He already took Crimea in 2013, and nothing happened. 8-9 months later he took Donbas, eastern Ukraine... nothing happened. And then, he's been planning ever since.

Now, in hindsight, you can see that this is not a spur-of-the-moment decision. This is a well-executed plan.

What does he want? Well, he wants so many things. He doesn't want Ukraine to be part of the EU, or NATO. He doesn't want Ukraine to have any connection whatsoever with the EU or the west. He wants Romania and Bulgaria to de-NATO, he wants NATO out of there as well. And if you really give him a choice, he would like to have Georgia, Kazakhstan, and Azerbaijan, and all the -stans and and the -jans and Armenia back, to the Soviet Union. He wants to create the next soviet empire. That's what he wants.

What do Ukrainians generally think of Putin? I can sum that up in one word - wanker. (I think I can hear dad's wife nodding in the background, her agreement is so strong). He is an arrogant bastard, very arrogant. You can tell by the way he looks, the way he walks, the way he talks, the way he thinks, the way he acts. So arrogant. He believes he can do what he wants. And that's, uh, that's where he is.

(long pause)


(audible smile as he speaks) That's a lovely one! What do I like most about my wife and daughter? Well!

I am blessed. I am blessed that in the latter stage of my life, I found my wife, I found love, I found fun. And I am very, very blessed that I have three children with my first wife, and two with my second wife. One is mine, one is hers. And both are ours.

What do I love most about them? God... where do I start? Where do I start? I'll start with my daughter. My daughter, she's fun. She's funny. She's wicked. She's playful. She's very strong. Very, very addicted to handball - she's a sporty girl in the full meaning of the word. And... you know, she's well built. She's not fat! But she is well built. She's strong. And she's very very good at school. She's top of her form, the sixth form. Very helpful. (audible smile seems to grow further) Very loving. Cuddly.

And my wife? Soulmate. (long pause) If there's a way to describe what a soulmate is... my wife is. (another long pause)

I love all my family. Fate separated everybody at the beginning. And, y'know. I love them all. Very much.

kinggimped: Got a bit teary typing this one out :')

swampmilkweed47 karma

Awww thank you so much, kinggimped and dad! Honestly your explanation of Putin helped me understand the issue so much more. I've been trying to do my own reading, etc. and global politics have never been my strong suit. So it's great to hear it from someone who's experiencing it... as hard as everything is right now.

Your daughter sounds awesome!! Strong girls for the win! That's awesome that you found your soulmate <3

kinggimped82 karma

kinggimped: He forgot to say what he loves most about me, but I don't really care. His answer was so sweet, and I could hear such happiness in his voice as he spoke. That's enough for me. I know he loves me, he doesn't need to sing my praises for me to know it.

He's not kidding about them being soul mates. They really do bring out the best in each other, and she looks after him and tells him off when he needs telling off. She's a strong, sweet, loving woman and I love her for making my dad so happy, because I never really saw that in him while growing up. He's a different man now and he owes that to his new family and his new home.

thecoffeetoy28 karma

this is literally the best AMA ever. thanks for sharing to the world

kinggimped23 karma

kinggimped: I don't know about all that, but thank you, that's very kind of you to say. Almost makes the last 7 hours of typing worth it! This was an interesting experience and my father is really appreciative of everybody's interest and involvement.

Slava Ukraini, fuck Putin, and thanks again!

Orcwin17 karma

No, this really is one of the best AMAs. A very interesting, current, topic, with interesting questions and good, verbose answers, which are well written. It's a gem.

Best to you and your family. I hope everyone makes it through unscathed, and things can return to normal for all, soon.

kinggimped12 karma

kinggimped: Thanks for your kind words. I will pass them on to my dad. I should really go to bed.

LadyMjolnir38 karma

I guess my question is for both you u/kinggrimped and your dad:

When was the last time you were able to visit each other? Will kinggrimped go to Slovakia to see them, or is it decidedly safer to just stay where you are and hope for the best for them? Are you worried about your Dad? Is Dad worried for his family's future? Or are you comfortable that everyone will be safe once you cross into Slovakia?

kinggimped116 karma

kinggimped: I can answer this one if you don't mind.

Last time I saw my dad was in Kuala Lumpur, in November 2017. Seems like such a long time ago now. I had been with my fiancée (now wife) since around 2010, but because we were living in Shanghai and my dad was in Ukraine, he had never met her. I didn't want to get married without my dad meeting my fiancée, so I offered to fly him over to Kuala Lumpur, where my wife and I were going to spend a week or so on holiday. He wouldn't accept the offer at first, because he wanted to pay his own way, but I eventually convinced him that if I paid for the flight, he could pay for the hotel (me knowing full well how cheap hotels are in Asia).

It was his first time in Asia, he loved it, we had a fantastic time, he adored my fiancée. Many fond memories of that trip.

As for visiting, no, I'm in New Zealand, during covid times it's very difficult to come and go. It's also a really long way and sadly I have to work to pay rent. I am very much hoping the best for them, and keeping in as close contact as I can.

Yes, I am worried about my dad. I don't want to shift any sympathy over to me, because I'm about as far removed from the warzone as I can be, and everything for me is just concern for the safety of my father and his family. But I have not slept more than 2 or 3 hours a night since the invasion began. Honestly, I've been a zombie over the past few days and my wife has been incredibly supportive, and my dog is the best.

But now with my dad relatively safe at the border - albeit still not crossed over yet - last night I was able to get 8 hours of sleep and today I feel much more human. Doing this AMA and acting as conduit for my dad like this would not have been possible beforehand - I was fucking useless, honestly. The relief I feel now is palpable.

My dad is not the kind of person who worries for the future, he takes steps to secure it. He's very pragmatic, it's just how he is.

Yes, he's comfortable that they should be safe on the rest of the journey to the UK. He feels pretty safe now, to be honest. It was the 1000+km drive from his hometown where he was worried, but he was wise enough to head due west where there were no Russians at the borders.

Buutchlol36 karma

Hey dude, just wanted to let you know that this was an amazing AMA and I wish you all the very best! Stay strong!

kinggimped26 karma

kinggimped: Thanks so much for your kind words. My dad hopes to resume once he's awake again, so hopefully this isn't done yet.

Jeremehthejelly36 karma

I've got a question about the people in Ukraine in general but perhaps for your dad as well - seeing that the Russo-Ukraine tension has been there for quite some time, is there a survivalist/prepper culture in Ukraine? Does your dad keep a go-bag and emergency supplies for possible invasions and other disasters?

Please relay my support to him. I'm praying for your family, and thank you for entertaining our questions!

kinggimped48 karma

kingimped: I can answer part of your question - no, there was never a go bag or emergency supplies. They live very normal, simple lives. There isn't really a survivalist culture. There is very little emnity towards Russian people among Ukrainians. They are very much a 'live and let live' people. There is not a lot of affection for Putin or the Russian government, for obvious reasons.

I think his first response answers the gist of your question quite well.

shaunie_b34 karma

Im sorry I’m late to the party. This is probably the best AMA I’ve ever read. Your formatting and volume of text, the audio of your dad (especially describing his car, lol)….beautiful, really really fascinating reading about a normal persons views of the situation, of Ukraine, fascinating hearing your families history - thank you for sharing so much. As I read this I couldnt help but visualise your dad as a middle aged, middle eastern looking gent in his keep acting like some Brad Pitt like character taking the shortcut across the median strip etc.

On the odd chance that you answer any more questions I would ask, what was it like when your dad decided to leave? We see the Hollywood version of this in movies - I’m thinking Independence Day, or WorldwarZ or something? We’re there other people in town packing up. Were the roads/freeways busy. Do you wave to the neighbours when you leave?

And of course safe travels to your dad and his family and all thos in this terrible situation.

kinggimped26 karma

kinggimped: Thank you so much for your kind message. It means a lot. Yeah, I had work to do today, but this ended up dominating my afternoon and evening. But it was thoroughly worth it. Started off as a way to keep my dad company and keep him distracted because he couldn't sleep, but ended up turning into a pretty amazing and evolving conversation about all kinds of things.

I'm a writer by trade so it wasn't so much the transcribing or volume of text, mostly just keeping track of what I'd answered/asked my dad and what needed to go where. I'd answer 10 messages, then refresh the page, and there'd be 20 more. And so much cross referencing the people asking the same old questions!

Anyway, thank you again. This was exhausting, but fun in a weird way. It also meant my dad and I could talk, there were lots of comments and little conversations and jokes between the questions, lots of shared trauma, lots of things to laugh about. My dad fielded the truly stupid questions extremely politely.

kinggimped23 karma

Dad: Yes, of course there were other people in town - our town and other towns. Hundreds of thousands have left, for the Polish borders. Officially, 3.5 million have left Ukraine. And when you consider Ukraine is a border country; it's bordering so many countries in Europe, and people will go to any crossing point to escape.

Were were waving to our neighbours as we left? To be quite honest, no. We left under cover of darkness, early in the morning, to gain time and distance. To go as quickly as possible.

The roads were busy, always busy, with people packed in their cars. And of course, petrol stations, there were huge queues at the majority of them, not all of them.

So yes, it's what you'd call a 'mass exodus' in Ukraine at the moment, and, uh... (long pause) ... this is not something people are used to here.

Ukrainians are welcomed, everywhere in the world. Mainly because when they leave their country to go and work, they don't just go and try to find ways and means to settle illegally, and claim this and claim that. They always go to work, and they come back. The only reason they go out to work is because they want to better their life, like anybody else.

And, you know... here we are. Hopefully this is only a temporary solution to an unpredictable problem, caused by an unpredictable man, who definitely - between him, and his Prime Minister, and his Kremlin, they share half a brain cell. And I believe on that day, it wasn't Putin's turn to use it.

dipdiddipdoowaa30 karma

What are some places in the UK that you would be happy to see again? Like, which towns, beautiful landscapes or historical landmarks have you missed while living in Ukraine? Are there places that your wife has always wanted to see there?

kinggimped65 karma

Dad: We have never really done the UK justice. So many places to see and many more to discover. Unfortunately, this trip is not a sightseeing trip. We will be staying with my brother and will of course be getting together with my other son, daughter, and grandchildren. But really, the mood is shit.

kinggimped: Just to add to this, my dad does not really miss the UK at all. Living in the UK and raising us was a constant stress for him, we were quite poor. He's not particularly nostalgic for the UK and only really ever goes back to visit family (like when my sister had her daughter) or for necessity/bureaucratic reasons. I think the UK is very much a bittersweet place for him; the same holds true for me.

Jackandahalfass25 karma

Here in the US we were hearing from our President that the invasion was very much happening (high probability) even predicting the day it actually began. Were you hearing these warnings and did you think at the time that the US was just being overly dramatic?

kinggimped13 karma

kinggimped: I think his very first response covers what you're asking pretty well, you can find it here.

sazzledrip142521 karma

What are some things that are happening that the news won't tell everyone?

kinggimped55 karma

Dad: Well, there are no restrictions in Ukraine for news channels, or anything else. I mean, you can literally, if a policeman stops you, you can turn your video camera on and video the whole thing, and he will not even ask you to turn it off. Because everything is transparent here. Everything's very, very transparent.

Democracy, yes! My god, you've got a hell of a lot more democracy here than most countries. A lot of bad things, also, are in Ukraine. But so many good things as well.

So, no, I mean, whatever's on the news, you hear about it, and there's no censorship whatsoever. Nothing like that.

kinggimped: I think he may have misunderstood and you may have been asking about what western news sources won't report. In which case, I can answer on behalf of my dad on that - fuck knows. I mean, switch on FOX News for five minutes and you get a completely alternative version of reality from what's actually happening, so I don't think it's even possible to answer that question, honestly.

no_bum_dee_bum18 karma

Are the locals pissed at the allies for not stepping in? If Nato and Allies would have stepped up, Russia would've backed off by now. Are people angry about it or did they always expected this from the west?

kinggimped29 karma

kinggimped: I've added my dad's audio for this one, you can listen to it here.

Below is my transcription of what he said.

Dad: (very clearly and carefully) No, no no. People are not pissed off at the west, or the allies, for not stepping in. They are VERY VERY VERY grateful for the support! And forever, forever, they keep posting, "thank you, thank you, thank you!".

They know the obstacles regarding joining the EU, regarding becoming a member of NATO. They know, they know. In order to join the EU and become a member of NATO, you have to be a sovereign country. You cannot have any part of your own land occupied by a foreign force. And Ukraine doesnt fit into that. They have Crimea, they have the Donbas region...

So, yes! They cannot join the EU, they cannot join NATO. So, the opposite. They understand the obstacle, and they are VERY grateful for the help that is coming. A lot of help is coming, in terms of the expertise, the weapons... admittedly, light... in terms of money! All countries are sending money, some individuals! Like, multi-millionaires and billionaires, like the guy from Japan, are sending shitloads of money.

So, really and truly, they are not pissed off, they are not disappointed. Of course, you can't help but feel, deep down, they would have wished that the sixth fleet was in the black see. They would have wished that there was an air bridge between Ukraine and the west, and the United States. They would have loved not to have been able to see the sun because of the allied jet fighters bombarding the Russians... of course, you know, everybody, we all have our wishes. But, you know, they know it is not possible.

So no. They are not pissed off at all. They are very grateful, they are very thankful. They are just... getting on with the job.

sazzledrip142518 karma

Do you plan on staying in Europe or moving to New Zealand?

kinggimped84 karma

kinggimped: I can answer this. My dad is 1000%, no question, going back to Ukraine as soon as he can. That is where he lives, it's where he has lived for 17 years. It's his home.

He has never been to New Zealand. He was hoping to come to my wedding back at the start of 2021, but unfortunately covid meant that was a no-go. I'm the only person in my family who lives here. My dad is is a British citizen and has family in the UK, which is why he's going there. But he intends to stay there only for a short time.

On a personal note, as his adult son from his previous marriage when he lived in the UK... his home, his life, is in Ukraine. He loves it there. I visited him about 10 or so years ago and he could not say enough good things about it. Compared with the UK, his life there is simple, it's ordered, he is happy. He mellowed out a whole lot, compared to the father I grew up with, who was under constant financial stress and the pressures of helping raise three children.

I am, and always will be, so happy for him that he lives in a place where he has found some semblance of peace. His family in Ukraine - his wife, daughter, stepson, brother-in-law, and mother-in-law adore him. He lost his stepfather after a long battle with cancer only a couple of weeks before the invasion, but he also loved him like he was his own son. My dad is one of the only non-Ukrainians in the town and everybody knows him. He loves the Ukrainian people, he loves his life there. All I ever wanted for my parents was for them to be happy, and it's fair to say that my dad has found happiness in Ukraine. I hope he's able to go back ASAP.

swampmilkweed10 karma

Thanks to you and you dad for doing this AMA! I hope he makes it to safety soon.

What made your dad move to Ukraine so many years ago? Can he speak Ukranian?

kinggimped48 karma

kinggimped: I already answered this here.

Yes, he can speak Ukrainian very well at this point, and Russian too. I believe that his wife's parents (or at least her father) were Russians who moved to Ukraine during the soviet era for work, so they speak Russian and Ukrainian amongst each other.

He is middle eastern by birth and moved to the UK as a teenager. He speaks Arabic, English, Ukrainian and Russian (in order of fluency).

sazzledrip14252 karma

Does he plan on becoming a soldier there to help fight?

kinggimped13 karma

kinggimped: I can answer this, though my dad did hint at his answer to this in an earlier response.

My dad is an old man. Even if they let him join the fight - which is doubtful - his family is his first, and really only, priority. They are safer with him, than they are with him fighting. My dad is not really the fighting type, honestly. I don't think he has it in him to point a gun at a living thing and pull the trigger.

tiefling_sorceress18 karma

What's his favorite Ukrainian dish? What about dessert?

kinggimped38 karma

Dad: (suddenly very excited and animated because he's talking about food) Favourite Ukrainian dish! Well it has to be borscht. And it's only borscht made by A (wife), because she is a mean borscht maker. Very mean. And I honestly, I mean, mean.

OK, and dessert. Favourite Ukrainian dessert. OK. Paska. Yes. Paska. Most of their desserts revolve around torts and cakes, and they are... sweet, too sickly for my taste. For my taste. Because I really don't have much of a sweet tooth. They are delicious, I have to say. Just too sweet for me. But, yeah. They're mainly cakes. Not very keen on them.

MapleTrust18 karma

Another pleasant distraction question...

Do you have a favorite story about the farming of your animals and organic gardens?

My wife and I are urban Mushroom Farmers.

Safe travels.

kinggimped38 karma

kinggimped: Dad is asleep but I can share with you some of the stuff we've talked about over the past few years whenever I ask him about how it's going at his dacha (basically a farm plot in the country with a very basic house, they spend about 4 months of the year there working the land).

He grows lots of different vegetables - beans, cabbages, lettuce, aubergines, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers/paprikas... he makes his own pickles, etc. My dad is an amazing cook (the best part of growing up with him was his cooking). Actually, both my mum and dad were both incredible cooks, I was very lucky in that regard (and although I didn't inherit their talent for it, I am a huge appreciator of good food to this day).

Even before he bought the dacha, he kept rabbits in a garage lock-up close to his house that his father-in-law owned but didn't really use. I've seen the little garage when I visited - it's tiny. About big enough to store a motorbike or a couple of bicycles. But they put some hutches in there, enough for maybe 10-12 rabbits. They built some hutches with some spare wood and chicken wire, got some baby rabbits, raised them, slaughtered them. Gave some to friends and family and ate the rest.

My dad bought a cafe in his town, got it to a point where it basically ran itself. Then he bought a restaurant in the next town, and did the same thing there. Things were going really well, then covid hit. He sold both businesses. But he kept the industrial fridges and freezers from his restaurant, and took them to the dacha.

Then he decided he would start raising ducks. He loves animals, he buys the ducklings for next to nothing at an animal market. They follow him around the dacha and basically just hang out. And the farmers in the neighbouring land, who of course all know my dad because he's the only foreigner around, they give him excess grain and feed for the ducks. He pays them in vegetables, beer, and friendship. When the ducks grow big enough, my dad slaughters them and stores them in the freezers. And then they eat duck. Lots of duck. He gives some away to his neighbours, to his family and friends, and stores the rest and slowly works his way through it.

He says that the hardest part is the day he has to slaughter all the ducks. My dad is not a squeamish person at all, but he has to look away when he slits their throats because he just loves the little fuckers, and they're just so cute.

Then the next season, he goes to the animal market, buys a whole new set of ducklings, and starts all over again.

He loves it. He has found a lot of peace and pleasure in gardening and working the land. He's a very different person from the father I knew growing up. He calls himself a "land lover", I'm not sure if that's a thing but it certainly describes him nowadays.

theredhotchiliwilly18 karma

Hey mate, some reports of racism at the borders, is he seeing any of that? Seems South Asians are being discriminated against?

kinggimped34 karma

Dad: No... at the borders, whether it's land, air, or sea... everybody is treated the same. Preferential treatment is always given in Ukraine, to children, and women, and old people. They are always, ALWAYS given preferential treatment.

Um, I don't know what south Asians are complaining about - can you be specific? We are being fed here, the same as some black dudes are, who are actually helping to organise the queues of cars.

(Wife chimes in something in the background, inaudible)

Dad: Yes, absolutely right. They're being processed at the borders at the same speed... no, I don't think that's a fair comment at all.

The word "racism" doesn't really exist here. Not at all. There aren't many black or brown people here. But when they see them, they don't stare, they don't think "ah, right, they're foreigners". None of that.

17 years in Ukraine, I have not seen one single iota of racism whatsoever. Whatsoever.

And, at the borders here, they eat exactly what we eat, they drink what we drink, and they are handed food the way we are handed food.

At the actual crossing point, the officers treat everyone the same. They cannot be lairy (my dad's preferred word for 'cheeky' -KG), they cannot be clever, they cannot make any remarks. If you report an officer here, he knows he's going to be in deep shit.

So... no. That one is... not there. Maybe they were not handed flowers and wreaths when they arrived, and thought "Why not?". But no, I haven't seen any racism whatsoever.

kinggimped: Just to add, my dad experienced occasional racism when he lived in the UK during my childhood. Nothing really very serious (not that I know of, anyway). Just ignorant comments, namecalling, assumptions about him due to his skin colour, unusual name, etc. A few threats. I received pretty much the same treatment after 9/11, even though I am light skinned compared with my dad, because I inherited my dad's middle eastern surname.

In Ukraine my dad lives in a pretty small town (about 30k people including surrounding villages) where a lot of people have probably never seen a non-white foreigner except online or on their TVs. He has never experienced any racism while living there. Obviously this is all anecdotal and I don't agree with my dad that there is 'no racism in Ukraine', because sadly there is racism everywhere. But when he says he's never experienced any racism or anti-foreigner sentiment in all the time he's lived there, I'm inclined to believe him.

I also read those reports about white Ukrainians being given preferential treatment at the border, but I don't recall if it was from a reputable source. I'm sure my dad would be interested to see the reports you're talking about, if you have a link to them.

FineLetMeSayIt17 karma

I'm a gearhead so I gotta ask, what kind of car is he in?

kinggimped45 karma

kinggimped: I've added my dad's audio for this one, you can listen to it here.

Below is my transcription of what he said.

Dad: I am in a Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk, 3.2 litre engine.

(long, dramatic pause)

It goes like shit off a shovel.

kinggimped: lol, I haven't heard my dad say that phrase in years. Any time anything is going fast, thats his go-to phrase. Every time. Fuck, thats funny. Thanks for that.

styolz11 karma

This isn't an attack on the Ukranian people, but your father mentioned there not being racism in Ukraine. Can you ask what his opinion is on this?

Is it a passport / citizen issue? People have quoted it being no blacks, is this the media?

kinggimped52 karma

kinggimped: I don't want to speak for my father here and I will try to ask him this, but I think he was talking about his own experiences rather than flat-out saying that "there is no racism in Ukraine". There is racism everywhere, sadly.

My dad is middle eastern by birth. He moved to the UK as a teenager. He raised a family there (including me). Then he moved to Ukraine much later. He has dark skin and he sticks out like a sore thumb in his town, which is a small town of about 30,000 people, where he is basically the only foreigner for miles around.

They have welcomed him with open arms despite him being different. He experienced racism living in the UK (as did I, even though I have a pale complexion, but I do share his middle eastern surname, which is enough for some people). He has never experienced racism living in Ukraine. He has learned to speak Ukrainian and he adores meeting new people - people are often curious of him but in a friendly way.

My dad is fluent but not a native English speaker and sometimes he says something in a seemingly absolute way that doesn't really express much nuance. As his son of 38 years I've learned to read between the lines a little.

kittyraikkonen11 karma

Does he like cats?

kinggimped25 karma

kinggimped: I can answer this. He likes all animals! Nowadays, anyway. My sister and I begged him and my mum to get a dog for years, not really realising the financial implications of it. They never even considered it for a moment, straight up "no, never gonna happen".

Then he moved to Ukraine and now he has a dog and a cat. He loves them, though I think he's more fond of the dog.

Takhar710 karma

How is everyone handling things like food and going to the washroom?

I understand your dad hasn't taken a dump in 2 days (!), but what about his wife & daughter? What about urinating?

kinggimped29 karma

kinggimped: I can answer this one - you can read my dad's response to my asking this here.

There are volunteers around the huge queue of people handing out food, drink, etc. and even medical attention. Not accepting a cent for any of it.

As for the pissing and shitting, my dad answered some of that in this response. As for the girls, I mean, they grew up in Ukraine. I don't think copping a squat to do a quick piss or throttle a Mars bar is too bad for them. My dad's an old man with old habits.

mysterybkk9 karma

What's the vibe there like among the people trying to get out? Is everyone being supportive and trading food and necessities to help each other out or is it like a gun powder barrel that can ignite from the smallest spark?

kinggimped13 karma

kinggimped: I can answer this. From everything my father has said, it has been incredibly friendly and supportive, everybody's in this together, and there have been no fights or scraps or any animosity at all. They are patiently queuing, everyone is in the same horrible situation and they are just trying to get out.

More info about the stuff going on with the queue in this response.

reekz_1828 karma

A political question. If you don't want to answer it — you can choose to not so, respectfully.

Do you think the peace-negotiations in Belarus will end the conflict? Or will this war escalate further?

It's hard to tell because I can't see Ukraine forgiving Russia for what they have demolished and invading the main city.

Your thoughts mate?

kinggimped40 karma

kinggimped: I don't want to speak for my father but we have discussed this in the past couple of days so I can give a little insight here.

My dad and I both see it as a transparent ploy. First of all, to host it in Belarus? A puppet state of Putin's? It reminds me of that scene from Serenity (the Firefly movie) where Inara asks Mal for help and immediately after she hangs up Mal looks over at Zoe and says "Sooooo... trap?", and Zoe just looks straight back and says "Trap." Zelensky is not a stupid man, he is not going to march into the lion's den just because they're making overtures of peace talks.

Secondly, as Putin has repeatedly done in the past, he's going to waltz in with a laundry list of completely unreasonable demands; and when Zelensky predictably says no or tries to find a compromise, Putin will throw his toys out of the pram and claim that it's Ukraine being the unreasonable ones, because they refuse to agree to any terms.

Zelensky wants peace - he says that every time he opens his mouth. But he's not an idiot. If peace talks are going to happen, they'll need to be in a neutral location, with realistic expectations. By invading a sovereign nation under the pretense of "peacekeeping", by keeping his own soldiers in the dark as to why they're goose stepping into Ukraine in the first place, by ramping up nuclear rhetoric... his every word and action is in bad faith.

Again, I don't want to speak for my father. But we talked about this specific issue - peace talk offers in Belarus - and we are in firm agreement. My dad's language was perhaps just a little more colourful. That doesn't mean we're right, but you're asking for his thoughts so I can at least speak to that.

Also, despite all these armchair four star generals on Reddit, I have no idea about military strategy beyond being able to win on immortal difficulty on Civilisation VI (deity still kicks my arse). So any comment I have about troop escalation or anything like that should be completely ignored - the same goes for every other 'expert' on Reddit whose credentials amount to "I've played Call of Duty, I got this".

As for forgiveness - Zelensky has already given an emotional plea to Russian solders to lay down their arms and save their own lives. It's not the Ukrainians who are shooting fleeing soldiers and civilians. It's not Ukrainians bombing children's hospitals or running over escaping cars with tanks. It seems to me that Ukrainians are keen to forgive Russians, they bear the Russian people no ill will. But Putin and his government, I don't think they can forgive at this point.

MustbeProud7 karma

do you ever see/encounter any jet or military convoy or army of russians while patiently waiting in long queue of trafic jam?

kinggimped10 karma

Dad: No, not while we've been sitting here in traffic jams. But before we left, the day before we left... while I was putting the roof box on the car, while I was filling the car with petrol... half an hour after that, 3 Russian jets flew over our town.

2 were at high altitude... I mean, when I say "high" you could literally see the markings on the plane. One was very low. Very, very low. They just flew over the town. Literally across the town.

Um, Russian soldiers, Russian tanks? No. We were very, very fortunate that all the towns we passed, either on the same day or the next day, they had Russian 'visitors' in. We just missed them, thankfully.

riskinhos6 karma

is there anything we can do to help? what do you need? why it's taking days at the border? this is inhumane.

kinggimped23 karma

kinggimped: I can answer this, because I thought it was crazy too. When my dad first got there he had to wait 20 hours in the queue. He messaged me to tell me that he probably only needed to wait another few hours before he'd get there.

But he was wrong for two reasons - firstly, somebody had put up a sign that said "border: 300m", when it was FAR further than that (my dad was NOT happy about that).

Secondly, he had no idea that he was in one of THREE parallel queues of cars, each made up of thousands of cars, going through a single border checkpoint.

I agree that it seems inhumane, but the border control people are doing their duty. They can't just let everybody through. My dad is not so much pissed off about it than he is just exhausted. It's a necessity and everyone seems to realise that. Nobody's being fast tracked to the front because they're rich or important or have bribed the officials. Everybody has to wait their turn. They're processing as fast as they can. It's a simple mathematical equation, really. It's thousands of cars trying to get through a single checkpoint.

However, there are police cars driving up and down constantly to make sure everybody is OK, everybody is safe, and nobody is trying to jump the queue (dad says he hasn't seen anyone try, there's very much a spirit of "we're all in this together" going on).

There are volunteers - mostly people who live locally - going up and down the queues of cars with hot and cold food, water, blankets, clothes, tissues, batteries, nappies, anything they can do to help. They won't accept money for any of it.

There are local doctors and Red Cross volunteers going up and down offering free medical care for anyone who needs it.

Considering the situation, they have managed to find a pocket of humanity, amongst a situation that in many other places you would imagine would become very inhumane, very quickly. You might presume there are fights breaking out, riots, people stealing from each other, people getting desperate, people trying to jump the queue... well, dad's been in the queue over 48 hours now and hasn't seen any of that at all. If anything, he has been repeatedly blown away by simple acts of altruism and humanity from the local people and the other people in the queue.

I'm as surprised as you are. I tend to think the worst of people.

As for what you can do to help, I'm not really the right person to ask but I responded to somebody else asking a similar question here. Thank you for offering to help.

sazzledrip14256 karma

Your opinion on people comparing Putin to Hitler?

kinggimped16 karma

Dad: Well, my opinion on comparing Putin to Hitler, well... it's pretty simple. They're both mad, both absolutely crazy. (snorts with laughter) They both just love causing people misery, really.

For those who didn't know, Ukraine suffered a lot from the treatment of the Soviet Union and pre-Soviet Union, as much as they suffered during the Second World War. If not more.

They haven't been kind to Ukraine. During WW2, the first... the first lot to be sacrificed on the front lines, were the Ukrainians. "Send the Ukrainians!" Sort of like... disposables.

Why? Because they are a very, very mellow nation. They are very nice, they are easygoing. You know.

So, yes, comparing Putin to Hitler. I would say that they are twins, just with different bad qualities.

sazzledrip14256 karma

Hey off topic question when it comes to food do you guys go with food that doesn't need heat and it's one of those "just add water" type of food?

kinggimped26 karma

kinggimped: I've been asking my dad about this from the start. People have been going around giving out hot food from boxes and even cooking up stuff on the side of the road and handing it out to people in the queue. In fact, right as I'm typing this, two people just wandered up to my dad's car and gave him a bowl of hot soup with noodles. It still has the price on it, it was bought and heated up specifically to help the people in the cars. They won't accept money for it. This has been the case for as long as they have been waiting in the queue.

Mods told me not to post pics (dad has been sending me pics of a lot of his car meals), but he took a picture of the people with the massive box of food to send to me and sent this audio message along with it. I think you can tell from the tone of his voice, it's things like this that keep the morale up - not just having hot food delivered to you, but the act of pure altruism in just wanting to help out your fellow human being.

As somebody who generally hates people, it's strange that this whole thing is helping to rekindle some of my lost faith in humanity. When I visited Ukraine I noticed that everybody I met was kind, and went out of their way to help people. I'm yet to see any evidence to the contrary. My dad has been living there for SEVENTEEN YEARS and from the sounds of it, he's yet to see any evidence to the contrary, either.

As dad said... "how can you attack such a nation?"

WhistlerJig3 karma

Did you expect something like this to happen or was it a surprise?

I hope you all make it to your destination safely. I will be thinking about you.

Ocean_Soapian3 karma

Question 1: What are your Dad and step-mom's views of Volodymyr Zelenskyy? In the US, he's being viewed as a hero with the way he's been standing up to Russia's attacks and his refusal to escape the country when the US offered to come in and get him out. I'm curious what their thoughts are of him.

Question 2: I heard that the EU is most likely going to accept Ukraine into the union - what are their thoughts on Ukraine becoming an EU country?

Question 3: What are their thoughts on Ukraine possibly also becoming a NATO country?

kinggimped3 karma

kinggimped: Question 1 already answered here.

Question 2 and 3: Kind of already answered here (basically, he welcomes it and believes/hopes it will happen sooner rather than later).

blahblahlablah2 karma

First question was about fuel but that's been answered. Where are they pooping?

kinggimped14 karma

kinggimped: I can answer this. My dad isn't. Or hasn't yet. When he finds a toilet I think he's going to be the one committing a war crime on the poor thing.

The others? Side of the road, I'm guessing.

demonthenese2 karma

What are your thoughts on the Ukraniam president? Was he popular before the confloct?

kinggimped3 karma

kinggimped: Already answered here.

sazzledrip14252 karma

Do you consider some sort of act of a crime against humanity going on within Ukraine because of Putin's actions?

kinggimped17 karma

Dad: (his tone is suddenly very serious) Crime... against humanity...

(5 second pause)

Well, I don't know.

Bombing children's hospitals? Bombing civilians in their homes? Attacking people in the street? Stealing cars? Breaking into shops? Destroying land with their tanks and heavy vehicles and machinery?

(long, drawn-out sigh)

I don't know.


(more animated) I suppose, you know... yes?

(another long pause)

I mean, what more do you want? Before it becomes a "crime against humanity?"

(suddenly very animated, you can hear anger and emotion rising in his voice) You know, hundreds of thousands of people are leaving their families. Their homes. Their jobs, their lives, their livelihoods... and leaving to neighbouring countries. This alone is a crime against humanity. So yes, of course it is. Of course it is a crime.

And it's Putin's action! (close to shouting now) It's ONE MAN'S action!

I mean, for god's sake! Before Putin goes and invades Ukraine, Putin should go at least and pave his country's roads! They have no roads! They have roads in Moscow, they have roads in St Petersburg, they have roads in a couple of other places... but the rest of the country? I mean, honestly, it's like, uh... (pause) for example, I don't know, like how England was 500 years ago. There are still people drinking water from wells. There are people without gas or electricity.

(pause. Mollifying words in Ukrainian from his wife)

(quietly, more calm now) And Putin is invading Ukraine...

kinggimped: Probably wasn't your intention, but I'd rather not work up my dad like this. I hope this response satisfied you.

cynicalxidealist-3 karma

If you could poop on Putin’s face for starting this mess, would you?

On a more serious note: what do you personally believe the fate of Ukraine will be?

kinggimped11 karma

Dad: The fate of Ukraine is in the hands of the Ukrainian people. It's not in the hands of Putin, or anyone else.

The fate of Ukraine... it's, uh. Sooner or later they will join the EU, and I believe it will be sooner, rather than later. And they will be members of NATO. And, uh, life will go back to normal, and everybody will live... (audible smile) happily ever after. (chuckles at himself)

Many countries in eastern Europe went through this. On a lesser scale, maybe. But they got through, and they are back on the map. So... yeah. Ukraine is good.

sazzledrip1425-5 karma

What's the worst thing you've seen so far?

kinggimped7 karma

kinggimped: I don't really want to ask him that, sorry. But I can give you this snippet from our conversation earlier today. He's been stuck in this queue of cars for pretty much 2 days now, so I think I can understand his frustration.

sazzledrip1425-13 karma

Have you seen any of the horrifying footage that was posted onto social media I.E. the missile hitting that apartment complex or this one vid of someone walking through the carange and passing through a dead corpse?

kinggimped10 karma

kinggimped: Sorry, I would rather not ask him about that stuff. I can tell you that, like anywhere else, these videos get passed around. I'm sure he's seen some nasty stuff. But I don't really want to press him on this kind of stuff, I'm sorry.

sonofashoe-28 karma

What is the point of this IMA/AMA?

kinggimped1 karma

kinggimped: I don't know. I guess I thought people might find it interesting to ask direct questions to somebody who is actually going through something like this, something of a unique experience I suppose. I also thought it would be a welcome distraction for my dad, because he's been trapped in a car for nearly 2 days while waiting to escape a country that is actively engaged in a war where the invading forces are literally murdering civilians and bombing children's hospitals.

Nobody forced you to click it, or to leave such a pointless, petuland comment. You seem a little bit angry. Would you like a hug?