PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — It was an Uber ride old-world style. That’s how Tania Skorokhod of Portsmouth and her family made it back to their temporary home following a pleasure trip to the mountains of Krakow, Poland. A driver failed to show up, so they hopped on a double horse-drawn carriage.
Later, outside a local store, Skorokhod proudly introduced her sister and other loved ones in a WhatsApp video interview.
10 On Your Side has followed the Old Dominion University alumna for weeks as she has tracked the devastating war in her home country of Ukraine and her family’s efforts to escape it.
“She is four years younger than me and she has a kid already. This is her older one and nephew and a beautiful baby girl, she is 10 months and she is going to be 11 months in five days,” said Skorokhod.
The toddler probably won’t remember the long journey her family made from Kherson, Ukraine, to Moldova, to Warsaw, and then to Krakow, Poland. Two days ago, the family learned they should leave Poland next month for the safe harbor of Portsmouth, Virginia.
“I finally got the report from USCIS, U.S. Immigration Services, they sent me approval yesterday. I was shocked because it was so fast. I applied two weeks ago and yesterday we got approval,” said Skorokhod on WhatsApp.
Their trip to America is bittersweet. They leave behind a great-grandmother who is too frail to travel.
“Emotionally, she is very sad because she used to have all her family around. We all lived on the same street — my sister, my aunt — we all lived on the same street and now she cannot see her family. It’s really hard on her,” said Skorokhod.
Under the new Uniting for Ukraine program, Skorokhod’s family will be able to live and work in the United States for two years.
Via video, Skorokhod’s mother joined the conversation to say hello and to try out a little English that she’s quickly learning by way of a cell phone application. With virtually no accent, the mother turned to 10 On Your Side reporter and anchor Regina Mobley to say “Thank you very much” for the news coverage.
They are using other phone apps for a crash course in English; their skills will be put to the test in a few weeks.
“They are going to come here to the United States probably on June 20 because I need to set everything up for them — the house and buy furniture and make everything look good when they come over here so they feel comfortable,” said Skorokhod.