Local Ukrainian-Australian girl Anna Kovalenko (26) has recently had shivers sent down her spine after hearing the Skype ringtone for the first time in years, as she unknowingly caught herself preparing for a 1 hour conversation with grandparents in Ukraine.

One of the few good stories to come out of the Covid-19 pandemic was the rise of new innovations, such as ZOOM, and the death of Skype, and that ringtone that has seen children of immigrants around the country being pried away from the TV and into the family computer rooms to talk to older relatives that can’t speak English, while an overworked parent at home frustratingly has to translate a conversation between a 10 year old Australian kid and an 82 year old granny living in a village in southern Ukraine.

Anna, now in her twenties, recalls the dread that would wash over her every time the familiar jingle echoed through the house, signaling yet another unavoidable session of laggy video calls with somewhat unknown relatives asking her how her marks at school are and how she’s going at Russian language Saturday school, something she was successful in getting out of after months of dragging her feet through the sand.

“My heart seriously dropped when I heard that ringtone for the first time in a decade, flashbacks of my dad trying to translate what schoolies is to an Ukrainian granny and trying to speak the little Russian I know over extremely poor internet connection on their end.”


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