Letter from Julia Herassymets, Shirokolanovka Orphanage, September, 2001

Dear American friends respected by everyone and loved by me. My name is Julia Herassymets. I'm a student of the Landau Orphanage.

I don't know with what I should begin this letter, there're so many thoughts and feelings; still I cannot write down all I feel.

First of all I want to tell you how sad I became as the teachers told me about what had happened in America. We were mournful as well because your country became now a very close country to us.

I want to express my gratitude for the great occasion you gave us during your visit. If you only knew how we longed for you, how we prepared and dressed up. We like guests very much, but you are special guests, guests from the other continent. In my imagination I thought you to be other than us, but I want to confess it was a great pleasure to see you. I felt at ease with you, and it was very interesting. I sincerely thank you very much for the money you gave us. Due to that money, we had a good rest at the camps. Some went to the forest; others went to the seaside. This year we were especially well dressed, and we were not worse than the children from families.

The camp staff and those who came to the orphanage on September the 1st had very high opinion of us. We had a lot of guests because that was the first day of school. Surely we gave a concert. I played the Queen of Knowledge and handed certificates of good work and conduct to the children and thank-you letters to the guests. There were plenty of flowers! How beautiful were the teachers and the tutors, especially beautifully dressed was our director Tetyana Mykolayivna. The whole day a smile remained on her lips. And when she smiles, you don't need my words to know how beautiful she is. That day our assistant directors could be hardly matched in their beauty if they became ten years younger.

In my opinion I described everybody correctly without exaggerating anything. But in order to have a clearer view of the picture, you need the background for those figures. And this background was our school. Every staff member and we did our best for the school to have the best look. It's now splendid and magnificent, that's for sure. And all this is due to you and your kind hearts, which are not indifferent to the problems of others.

Please accept these lines as sign of gratitude:

Thank you for living in this world
For your souls and hearts
For your concern about
Strange children

Our low bow and endless gratitude
Believe we'll never forget you
For your hands and your golden heart.
We'll tell everybody, we'll let people know
How kind you are that live there.

I hope you'll like this little poem and all of us will be looking forward to you next letter.

I'd like to write a few lines about myself. I'm fourteen. I study in the ninth grade. My hobby is reading of fiction. I like reading very very much. In our teachers' opinion my behavior is not bad. I have two dreams that I've been cherishing for several years in my heart. I want to become a theater actress. I love stage immensely. The stage means all for me. It's a new life. When you are in different roles you have different feelings you are not able to express with words. My second dream is France. I want to travel very much. I'm particularly attracted by France, England, Greece, Italy, and of course America. But these are only dreams. Nevertheless there's no harm in dreaming, and it's even useful.

I can embroider, sew, make pictures of straw; I can twist bracelets of embroidering threads and of glass beads.

With love and best regards

Julia Herassymets

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