Generally, I consider myself to be a very positive person. I get up every day assuming it’s going to be good or even great, until something or someone proves me wrong. I believe in being nice to your barista in the morning, always tipping your server, holding doors open for strangers, and saying please & thank you. Very basic, simply things we all learned in childhood. It’s amazing how positive your life can be when you, yourself, exude positivity.

Life is about living, and to me, that means meeting other people and sharing your life with them. Maybe that’s why I’ve found it easy to stay in Kyiv for over a year during wartime. I’m surrounded by so many incredible people who willingly share their lives with me every day. It’s both exciting and heartwarming at the same time.

Feeling the Love

The entire crew at Hotel Bursa is ‘family’ to me and I spend lots of time with them because I truly enjoy it. My day always begins with hugs and coffee, and my nights end with conversation and laughter on the rooftop deck after closing. I’m invited to staff parties and attend nearly everyone’s birthday party. The couch in my room is always available for curfew-induced surfing, and everything I have is everyone’s to share.

Last night, spontaneously in the middle of conversation, four of the crew turned to me and said “Michael, do you know how much we love you?” I was speechless and blushing from ear to ear when they followed up with, “You are the nicest person we’ve ever met.” After melting in my chair from the warmth these wonderful folks shared I replied, “I love all of you too, and I’d take a bullet for any of you.” I suppose regular missile attacks result in different ways of thinking and expressing oneself, but it’s the best way to describe how grateful I am to be surrounded by such a loving family.

Human Antidepressant

My overall positive mood and resulting approach to life has also earned me the nickname “the Human Antidepressant.” This blush-worthy moniker was assigned to me by Artem, my Ukrainian brother from another mother. 

It’s not hard to exude positivity if you put your mind to it, and you’ll be astonished at how quickly it becomes second-nature. The effect you’ll have on others occurs naturally through osmosis. It’s a wonderful feeling, and it changes outcomes.

Friends are Family

When I eventually leave Kyiv I may just miss my Bursa family more than I’ve missed my real family. Why are my connections so strong here? Perhaps the war has made people more open, or perhaps Ukrainians don’t have much to look forward to given the daily murderous Russian attacks. All I know is I wouldn’t want to be be anywhere else on earth right now because I truly love my wonderful family in Kyiv. 

I wish you could join me here at Hotel Bursa in Kyiv. After two weeks of wartime warmth, kindness and caring, you’ll never want to leave.

Slava Ukraini!  Heroiam Slava!