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Our story part 3. How Liliia moved to US

My late night flight from Paris began its descent over Los Angeles. I have taken dozens of flights before but this one was different - exciting and frightening at the same time. I was moving to a place I have never been to before. I was going to live together with my boyfriend Iaroslav and create a new dance partnership with him. My career was taking a big new leap and I was about to turn my whole life 180 degrees around....

Iaroslav and I knew each other for a very long time. Probably since I was 4. We started to dance at the same dance club in Kyiv, Ukraine. Later in our careers we have danced together and even dated for some time. But we were too young and our relationships soon finished and dance partnership ended as well. We went completely different directions - both geographically and dance wise. Iaroslav moved to Canada while I went to Russia. We had different teachers, unalike dance styles and haven’t interacted with each other for years. Until one day he sent me a message and we met.

Soon after we started seeing each other again. At that time both of us were back to Ukraine. He was actively teaching, taking a break from competitions, and I was fully into my professional career. I had a good partner and we were successfully competing and performing at events around the world.

It was May 2014 and I was preparing for the main dance competition of the year - Blackpool Dance Festival, when Iaroslav told me he was going to visit his family friends in California for couple of weeks. I was about to leave to London for training, so we wouldn’t have seen each other anyway. But in few weeks Iaroslav told me he would stay in Los Angeles - news I haven’t expected at all. I was really confused and didn’t know what it would mean for us. The best thing I could do was to focus on was my dancing. I also decided to go on with my education at the University of Physical Education and Sports and applied for masters degree in Sport Psychology. I wanted to keep myself as busy as possible. However we kept in touch in spite of living far from each other.

Iaroslav and I went on with our long-distance relationship for almost a year. A year we have only seen each other for a few times in New York, London and Kyiv. It was not easy at all. Both of us were into our successful professional careers with our partners and we haven’t even thought about dancing with each other until January 2015. At that time we came to a point where we couldn’t live 6000 miles away anymore and we wanted to be together all the time. So we had a try out. Like I said, we had a different background and dance styles, but despite all of it, we loved dancing with each other. Our first videos looked great as well, as our body types matched perfectly. But more than anything - it felt SO natural to move together! I have never experienced this feeling before and I knew right there that I would not want to dance with anyone but him.

I remember it was one of the weirdest days in my life. I was happy after our tryout but sad at the same time, because I knew that my life was never going to be the same. It took me another month to make up my mind and decide what I wanted to do. It was painful for everybody. I was hurting Iaroslav with my doubts. My parents were not excited about idea of me leaving, especially without completing my master’s degree. More that anything I was scared to move to a city I have never even visited before. Nevertheless, I listened to my heart. Suddenly it became clear to me what true love was.

And I surrendered to it.

I risked it all.

I decided to leave my family and friends, my partner and my students, my hometown and everything I knew to follow the man I loved and wanted to be with.

...I opened the airplane window shade. What I saw mesmerized me completely. The city was endless! Billions of lights were shinning bright and they seemed to multiply in front of my eyes. I have never seen anything like this before. It was huge in comparison to any city I ever went to or used to live in and I was stunned. It was my first time experiencing magic of the City of Angeles. That moment I understood why Iaroslav loved this place so much and I fell in love with it too.

March 3, 2015, he met me at the airport with bouquet of red roses. I wore a red hat and my entire life was packed in three large suitcases. I was shaking but I was in love. I have risked and left everything I knew behind, to start all over together with the man who soon became my husband and the best dance partner. Still, up to this moment in my life, it is the bravest and the best decision I have ever made.

Don’t be afraid! Chase your dreams! Get out of your comfort zone and follow your heart! It’s always worth it!


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