Berlin | 2020

K A T Y A 

City  Berlin
Age  34
Love life — Relationship, 12-year old son & 3-year old daughter
Profession — Fasting Coach & Drawing Instructor
Years in Berlin 23
Location — Wedding neighborhood

T H E  B E R L I N  S T O R I E S





  • What makes you happy? “My kids. My daughter turned three today, and this morning it was nice to see her happy face when she noticed her little cake and her presents. I’m also making myself happy. It’s the first time in my life I can say that about my decisions and the way I live. I stayed at home for three years to raise my daughter. It was my personal choice and it was good for the both of us, but not easy. I’m delighted that I’m developing myself personally and professionally again. It’s very fulfilling to help women practice more self-love through fasting. It gives me so much energy to see someone blossom and reach a happy state of mind. I’m also discovering new talents within myself, like getting on a stage and sharing my knowledge with a public.”
  • What is your best personality trait? “I never realised it before, but so many friends have told me that I see the beauty in everything and everyone. It’s true. When I walk into a room, I scan the room and my head gets filled with ideas that can make everything a little better. I’m also a drawing instructor at a community college and sometimes my students feel shy or insecure and apologize for their work. But in every drawing, I see something nice and I compliment them for it. It helps them grow more confident, which is very rewarding. And my sister – a teacher – had some problems with her style. When I put together some outfits for her, everyone at school complimented her and she felt so good. All I had to do was make some little changes in her wardrobe.”
  • What is your biggest struggle? “That I don’t always achieve my dreams because my expectations are too high. It’s a big struggle for me and I’m working on it. I’m trying to be more content and less strict when something isn’t perfect. For example, I want to make a website and I want it to be just as perfect, like some of the other sites I’ve seen. But I don’t know how to get there, so I’m trying to change my mindset and take small steps instead, giving myself a chance to actually achieve my dreams. Too often I don’t even get started, because I’m overwhelmed by my own expectations.”
  • What is your greatest life lesson? “Think very carefully about big decisions you’re about to make, because they can change your life forever. Don’t focus on the outcome alone, but also on how the decision will make you feel. For example, I love my children so much, but having a child at the age of twenty one was very, very hard. When I found out about my pregnancy, I should have considered the consequences more and should have come up with a plan and try to sense emphatically what this big change in my life was going to mean. But I just thought, ‘Okay, I’m pregnant, and I’m going to do this.’ Another life lesson is that when you’re in a situation that you don’t like all that much, don’t act on the first impulse. Instead, write down all of your options to clear your mind. Because the first option that comes to mind and might seem to make the most sense, isn’t always the best one. Just give yourself some time. Even though today you might feel very strongly about something, that can be different tomorrow.”

  • What is your biggest disappointment? “To realize that two people in a relationship are not the same, per se. It was a big disappointment to discover in my twenties that a partner can’t read your mind and won’t make all your wishes come true. Now I know that nobody will make me happy but me. I have to do it myself. But I was raised with the idea that your partner would do anything for you. My parents are still married, but they are deeply unhappy together. My greatest wish for them would be to get a divorce. They’re so different that it holds them back from reaching their full potential. They may be together, but neither can breathe, because they’ve changed who they really are to meet the other’s needs. In my current relationship I’m more aware that he doesn’t solely exist to make me happy, but I’m still not fully there. Although I feel I’m at a turning point in my life, with my new job, my children getting older and seeing my partner for the person that he really is.”
  • What advice would you give other women in Europe? “We’re privileged to be living in Europe and we should use this power to change things in our own lives. We need to, because in other parts of the world, women have to work 22 hours a day and can’t show how powerful they actually are, they’re too busy trying to survive life. So we need to do this for other women, by starting with ourselves. Maybe that sounds a little selfish, but it’s not. When you’re happy, your happiness will spread and you’ll have space in your head and heart to help other women. Once you feel more fulfilled yourself, you can see and feel what other women might need.
  • What is the best advice that anyone ever gave you?
    “I think it was from my grandmother, she was an enormously powerful, knowledgeable and intelligent woman. She was a Russian literature teacher and quite famous in Kazakhstan. When she was just seventeen – and already married to my grandfather, a soldier – she was teaching children how to read and write, in the middle of World War II. She told me that I shouldn’t just be gathering knowledge, but that I should also spend time in nature. She was a versatile person who would go out every now and then into her big garden full of fruits and vegetables to clear her head. I had forgotten about her advice for quite some years, but recently I remembered it. Now I just want to be in nature to touch and smell, and I want to give this gift to my children as well. I also would love to organise fasting retreats for women from different cultures in an old villa or house in the countryside. In my perfect dream this would be my own house, so that my work and private life can be one.”
  • What is your greatest fear?
    “I try to let go of my fears, but one that is very present at the moment, is that I’m scared that I can not live the way I want to because of political decisions. There’s a new law that obligates you to have your children vaccinated. I’m not against vaccinations, but I want to have free choice and we always had that in Germany. It was perfect, 95% did it. I never thought about it until the law was there and now I don’t have a choice. I have to do it and if I don’t, there will be consequences, like not being able to send your child to daycare. I think I would have given my child most of the vaccinations anyway. But I feel you should have options, because everyone’s situation is different. I stayed at home with my child for three years, so my situation would be different from women who would have gone straight back to work after childbirth or people who travel a lot with their children. It’s my biggest fear that the government will decide more and more about what they believe is good for us. Maybe it frightens me because I have this communist background and I was very happy to come here. I know that too many laws can change your personality and change your daily life. I don’t think we need more laws here.”
  • What does Berlin mean to you?
    “It’s my home and it gives me security. I know exactly where to go depending on my mood. Here you can just be yourself without judgment. Berlin is just wunderbar.”

Photos by Luís Luz


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