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"Two years ago I could not have imagined this". Oleksandr "Teren" Budko on his first stand-up, imperfect Europe, and addressing Ukrainians in Lisbon

The war veteran gave a quick interview to OBOZ.UA

A war veteran who lost both of his limbs, a medalist at the Invictus Games, the subject of Sarah Jessica Parker's documentary Front Row, dedicated to ballet dancers in exile, the author of the book The Story of a Stubborn Man, the host of the new project Leg Dump, and today a budding stand-up comedian... All of this is about one man – Oleksandr Budko, better known as Oleksandr "Teren".

Our correspondent managed to talk to him in Lisbon, where he came to present his book and his first stand-up show. How quickly and dramatically the life of 27-year-old Oleksandr has changed, whether he likes it, and how he copes with such a busy schedule – exclusively for OBOZ.UA.

''Two years ago I could not have imagined this''. Oleksandr ''Teren'' Budko on his first stand-up, imperfect Europe, and addressing Ukrainians in Lisbon

– On February 24, 2024, exactly two years after Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, you addressed the Ukrainian diaspora in the central square of the Portuguese capital, Lisbon. You were recognized, greeted, and applauded. Could you have imagined two years ago how dramatically your life would change?

– Two years ago, I really could not imagine that I would be speaking to Ukrainians in Lisbon and that I would be recognized in Portugal. But, of course, I have always strived for change for the better.

''Two years ago I could not have imagined this''. Oleksandr ''Teren'' Budko on his first stand-up, imperfect Europe, and addressing Ukrainians in Lisbon

– Barista, graphic designer, mortar gunner, participant of the Invictus Games, dancer, actor, writer, host of the Dump Leg project, and now a stand-up comedian. Are there any professions you would like to try your hand at?

– I am impressed with everything I do now. Of course, if there is some interesting initiative or proposal, I will try it. Because up to now, whatever I've taken on, I've succeeded in everything. I don't have any specific wishes.

''Two years ago I could not have imagined this''. Oleksandr ''Teren'' Budko on his first stand-up, imperfect Europe, and addressing Ukrainians in Lisbon

– In addition to the presentation of the book "The Story of a Stubborn Man" in Europe, you also performed a stand-up show for the first time. Did you feel comfortable in this new area?

– Since I have just started doing stand-up, writing and performing, it is of course a bit difficult. It's a different genre, different from lectures and presentations. You need to be able to interact with the public, understand the audience, play on emotions and control these emotions. I can't say that it's easy, certain things need to be worked out, but I can assure you that I feel comfortable in this area as well.

''Two years ago I could not have imagined this''. Oleksandr ''Teren'' Budko on his first stand-up, imperfect Europe, and addressing Ukrainians in Lisbon

– In your project "Leg Dump", which was released on YouTube a few weeks ago, you, together with invited Ukrainian showbiz stars, check Ukrainian cities for inclusiveness and strive to change the attitude of society towards people who move around in wheelchairs. Do you think that the European countries you have recently visited have fewer problems with this than Ukraine?

– Europe is much more accessible, even in small towns, than Ukraine. But at the same time, I can't say that it's a totally accessible Europe and that it's perfect in every sense. This is even confirmed by the residents themselves. There are not enough ramps and lifts. But in general, the situation is better. People who move around in wheelchairs or have visual or hearing impairments feel freer there.

''Two years ago I could not have imagined this''. Oleksandr ''Teren'' Budko on his first stand-up, imperfect Europe, and addressing Ukrainians in Lisbon

– What is your specialty and have you worked in your field?

– I am a food processing engineer by profession. I have never worked in my specialty. While studying, I realized that this was the wrong profession. Later, I worked as a graphic designer and planned to switch to this field of activity completely. But the war made its adjustments - I moved to the military sphere.

''Two years ago I could not have imagined this''. Oleksandr ''Teren'' Budko on his first stand-up, imperfect Europe, and addressing Ukrainians in Lisbon

– How do you cope with such a busy schedule and do you enjoy such an active lifestyle?

– Yes, the schedule is really busy. But, in principle, I like it because I have structure and planning for my life. It's not always good, but it's still nice that there are no moments of laxity when a person thinks about what to do and where to engage themselves. With this schedule, I feel quite active and productive. I hope it will continue to be so.

''Two years ago I could not have imagined this''. Oleksandr ''Teren'' Budko on his first stand-up, imperfect Europe, and addressing Ukrainians in Lisbon

– If you have free time, how do you spend it?

– Actually, I have very little free time. But if I do, I usually watch dramatic and historical films that make me think about my life in particular. I read our literature, and listen to music, mostly Ukrainian, because a lot of high-quality content has appeared recently. Now it is also played up by the interest of the society itself. I also try to go in for sports – swimming, going to the gym. And, of course, whenever possible, I meet with friends and family.

''Two years ago I could not have imagined this''. Oleksandr ''Teren'' Budko on his first stand-up, imperfect Europe, and addressing Ukrainians in Lisbon
''Two years ago I could not have imagined this''. Oleksandr ''Teren'' Budko on his first stand-up, imperfect Europe, and addressing Ukrainians in Lisbon

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