The Europeans – Kotryna

Life in the suburbs

“When I was growing up, I didn’t feel European at all, I felt like a global citizen,” says Kotryna. “But even if you consider yourself super global, we all come from somewhere. Growing up, I was surrounded by geezers. You know, tracksuits, trainers, cheesy techno music. Those were my neighbours and classmates. If they came from another neighbourhood, they were the enemy. In the 1990s, there was a lot of crime and violence here. Gangsters exploded bombs at the entrance of apartment buildings if debts weren’t paid. It was rough. We knew which school groups of students went to from the colour of their beer bottles: red or green. If you saw the wrong colour, you had to keep moving, you weren’t safe.
“If you live in a small housing block, you think the other blocks are really different. Entire wars broke out between those blocks. But now we travel more, and we see the same housing blocks everywhere. And I meet kids from Europe and America who share my stories and problems. That’s when you realise that we’re all the same.”

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