Every country has its problems, struggles and divisions. Yet the last year has brought me closer to one particularly divided and struggling country - Ukraine.
Pulled in one direction by its geography, history and recent past, and in another by its geography, history and future aspirations (yes, interesting dichotomies), Ukraine has outstanding potential. Its people deserve better leaders. And my, how they've tried to find them.
Perhaps their success in Eurovision can bring them a new respect in the world, allowing them to break them free of the chains which have bound them.
Jamala dedicated the song to her great grandmother Nazylkhan, who with her five children were among a quarter of a million Tatars who packed on trains "like animals".
"I had to release their souls. Because they never came back to Ukraine," she has said.
As a Brit, with a traditional love of the under-dog vs. the superficially superior oppressor, I have to confess some little pleasure in Russia getting a bloody nose in the process. Widely touted as the favourite because of its huge investment to win the title, with an international team of advisers and consultants (I thought this was a national contest), this was not a narrow defeat. Not 2nd by some slim margin. Instead, a relatively distant 3rd. There is no doubt that by western standards, Russia is X and Y and Z (insert your own descriptors). Yet everything in my NLP training puts a spotlight on 'by [my] standards'. It is for sure a much misunderstood country. Nonetheless my happiness for Ukraine is enhanced by the knowledge that they overcame Russia's orchestrated and well-funded bid. Surely there is some poetry, some justice and perhaps even some omen here.
Well, I guess the flights to Kiev and Kharkiv may well get busier now. A small price, against what I hope is a new opportunity for Ukraine to get back on its feet again.
Congratulations to Jamala, to Ukraine and to its people. Будьмо!