365 days with UNMATCHED Nielsen McAllister

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This week marks exactly one year since I immersed myself in the sweet world of packaging, logistics, printing and other sustainable solutions with Nielsen McAllister.

Never have I had so many discoveries and so much active learning as during this time. If I had been told a couple of years ago that I would be writing blogs about mobile ramps or how to organise the beer production process in the Cayman Islands, or that I would learn all about last mile delivery and the rewilding process… all while sitting in a Victorian building in Derby, I would never have believed it.

Russia’s war on Ukraine has condemned us Ukrainians to a life of weightlessness. Astronauts have been trained to do this for years. We were thrown into weightlessness without preparation. But we do not give up. We look at shooting stars and make one wish – to win! All in all, I feel I am living in an endless Present Continuous.

As I explore the industries, language, traditions and culture of Great Britain, I am no longer surprised by the British cordiality and desire to help Ukraine. After all, people who make solitary bee houses must have empathy the size of the Shard.

A lot has happened this year. My son won a county literary essay competition. Queen Elizabeth II passed away (RIP). The Coronation of King Charles III took place. The Rashists blew up the Kakhovka hydroelectric plant, causing a major man-made disaster. Artificial intelligence ChatGPT has entered our lives.

I have had the opportunity to write dozens of blogs for world-renowned clients. I’ve compiled countless reports and reviewed thousands of journals. I filmed a bunch of videos of Jack dancing for joy (and just for fun). And I’ve participated (and continue to do so) in compiling the agency’s top music list on Spotify. I also gained the nickname of The Biggest Feeder for all the treats I bring into the office for my colleagues.

I’ve become obsessed with the obsession that the most popular words in the agency are “banger”, “capybara” and “monkey brain hack” (don’t ask me). I’ve given several interviews to British and Ukrainian newspapers and radio. I’ve participated in cleaning up the streets of Derby.

For my first birthday in England, I received a traditional Colin the Caterpillar cake, so now I’m almost like David Beckham, who also celebrated his birthday with a caterpillar-shaped cake, as he happily announced on Instagram.

My son and I toured over 20 beautiful British towns. We visited the house where Shakespeare was born, saw the house where James Murray (compiler of the Oxford English Dictionary) lived. We visited the club where the Beatles performed and the university where Lewis Carroll and Oscar Wilde studied. I read dozens of books brought to me by my intellectual (ex-)colleague Richard Pettinger. And finally, I learned that the shortest war in history took place between England and Zanzibar in 1896, with Zanzibar surrendering in 38 minutes. Why I needed this knowledge, I have no idea, but now you know it too. All the above is probably commonplace to the average local, but so incomprehensibly beautiful to me.

It turns out that history is not just in textbooks and library folios, but right here, right under your nose, and it takes your breath away. I saw with my own eyes one of Britain’s treasures, Chatsworth House, which for centuries served as the main residence of the Dukes of Devonshire. This is where “Pride and Prejudice”, “The Wolf Man” and “The Duchess” were filmed. I was surprised to discover that the heroine of “The Duchess” Georgiana of Devonshire (played by Keira Knightley), was buried in The Cathedral Church of All Saints in Derby.

I wandered around the majestic Bodleian Library at Oxford University. By the way, it turned out that its reading room played the part of the Hogwarts library in “The Philosopher’s Stone”, “The Chamber of Secrets” and “Goblet of Fire” (yes, Molly, I’m a Harry Potter fan too).

Agreed, sometimes in life there are meetings that leave an outwardly inconspicuous watermark. My UNMATCHED colleagues have left such a mark on me. It feels like a process of constant improvement, moving forward, solidarity and a sense of team spirit. Forgive my Ukrainian intemperance, but I cried when my coworkers took turns reading lines from Lina Kostenko’s poem Wings, so dear to every Ukrainian.

I do not believe in coincidence, so I would like to think it was no accident that I ended up at Nielsen McAllister, because the company colours – yellow and blue – match the Ukrainian flag. So, the yellow partitions and chairs combined with the blue curtains and walls, and the whole yellow and blue design of the new office, keep my spirits up.

And, of course, it is no accident that a symbol of Ukraine’s courage and indestructibility – a bracelet from the last pre-war batch of the legendary Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol – occupies a prominent place in the meeting room. There are only 50 thousand such bracelets in the world, and I bought one especially for Nielsen McAllister. The last batch of metal continued the fight against the Russian aggressor, as the money from the sale of the bracelets went to the “Unmanned Army” project for the AFU.

It’s only been a year. It’s been a whole year. And I am still in weightlessness, watching the world do somersaults before my eyes. No one knows the right way to live. To collect or to spend. Jumping over two stairs or walking up one. But one thing I do know for sure. You just must keep going. Gotta. Simply. Keep going.

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