I was born in a small town in Belarus on the border with Russia, and now I live in Manchester, UK. I came to the UK first as a PhD student and then after giving birth to my son In Belarus as a ‘highly skilled migrant.’ In 2016 I realised that I belong to a ‘global elite that destroyed the livelihoods of ordinary people.’
In the atheistic Soviet, Union science provided a coherent worldview, ways, and means of existence. As a tween, I constructed a pyramid of human occupations. The scientists and artists were at the top as the noblest pursuits of knowledge and beauty. The teachers and medical doctors were a step lower as those who taught and cared for other people. The rest of humanity was in a useful but dull mass on the third step of the ladder. I decided to become a scientist – it seemed more practical than becoming a Big Name in Literature.
I spent school years as an undersocialized nerd winning national competitions in Biology. I found my crowd at Uni and started working in a lab as a first-year undergrad (my heart fluttered so much when I went to volunteer!). When the Soviet Union disintegrated, and money for science run out I went abroad to practice science devoutly, at least 50 hours working week. The post-soviet scientists had a reputation of hard-working people, and we looked incomprehensibly at local specialists who worked 9 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday.