They still live in the only house Nastia has ever known, the one the family moved into when she was 1 year old. It’s a house that would look different because his parents removed the glass from all the furniture, just in case, to protect themselves and the family pets. They have easy access to the basement, and the first floor is basically windowless, so it feels a bit safe too.
When night falls, it’s a scary time for them, and Nastya wants her family to get as much sleep as possible. So she stays awake to comb through all the news agencies she follows, so she can alert them to any new developments.
“It’s hard. I barely sleep because I have to make sure my parents and friends don’t get bombed when they sleep,” she said. “I read them news. I spends about 18 hours a day on the phone, so I can check and make sure that everything is fine and that the troops and soldiers are not approaching my hometown, and I check on my friends from other cities. helped a lot, because they realize that I can’t sleep in my apartment. When I’m alone, I can’t be distracted and I keep watching more information, watching more photos, more videos , all these horrible things that happen, and I stop sleeping when I’m home.
Playing tennis can be a temporary reprieve, but not much. This sometimes allows him a few moments of laughter, but his thoughts always return home. Afternoon practices are best because that’s when his family is awake, but when the Rams practice at 9 p.m. a few nights a week, Tran leaves some wiggle room in the circumstances. .
Nastya will check her phone, every 10 minutes, just in case there is news to report. Odessa is a key city, a major port on the Black Sea, and there was fighting nearby in Mykolaiv and Kherson. If these cities fall, says Nastia, the people of Odessa believe they will be next.
“It was difficult for Nastia, her teammates and us as coaches,” Tran said. “Our first instinct was to support her as best we could. Every day we check in with her, giving her all the resources we can. I think she feels very supported, but it’s knowing that it’s nothing we can imagine or understand how she feels. It’s just trying to be empathetic that way.
“She’s an amazing person, and I think that’s why it’s so easy to be there for her. I think we all feel lucky to have been able to be on the same team with her and to to be there for her in a time that no one could prepare for. She’s been incredibly strong, her response to training and training. She’s been able to stay strong in front of all of us, and I admire that, because I don’t I don’t know if I could be as strong in her place. It’s hard on both sides. You don’t want to ask too much, but you want to make sure she’s okay.
The support she has received does not only come from those close to her, but even from some people she does not know. Tran receives messages from fans and community members and forwards them. The first came from athletic director Joe Parker, pointing out that any help the administration could provide was available to Nastia. Her teachers understand what’s going on, she says, so they don’t bother her if she checks her phone in class.
What’s going on at her house almost prevents her from concentrating on her homework, but she tries. Part of that is due to lack of sleep and constantly checking for news on your phone or laptop. She’s thousands of miles away and she feels completely helpless, so she tries to do what she can for her family.
She has to look at her phone, but she’s also afraid to turn it on. She has no idea what she will see next. She’s seen before-and-after photos of places she knows so well, and they’re hard to recognize. She takes care of a friend of hers who can now tell the difference between gunfire, anti-aircraft fire and bombardment. She checks on others who volunteer to protect their country and also provides whatever help they can to those in need.
She just has to check. It also makes her sad to know that her phone also contains the plane ticket and travel itinerary for May, when she was planning to return home after the season and see her loved ones.
Right now, it’s a trip she’s sure she’ll have to cancel, which, like everything else, adds to the desperation and fear she feels. Although she understands that no one around her really knows what to say, how to say it or even approach her, but she would tell them that what they are doing is perfect.
Nastya feels loved, cared for and supported. These are the blessings she counts on as she counts the days.