Tuesday, April 05, 2005From CBS2 Chicago:
CHICAGO (AP) When Chicago-born Kathy Chumachenko left for Europe 14 years ago, she was a young American pursuing a career and adventure overseas. She is returning as the first lady of Europe's sixth largest country, the wife of Ukraine's new president who survived an apparent assassination attempt by poisoning.
Yellow-and-blue Ukrainian flags fluttered along streets in Chicago's Ukrainian enclave in the days before she and her husband, President Viktor Yushchenko, were expected to land in Washington Sunday to start a four-day tour with stops in Chicago and Boston.
U.S. leaders and Chumachenko say the trip is a celebration of the recent election victory of the pro-West Yushchenko in Ukraine, an ex-Soviet republic of nearly 50 million people between Russia and Poland known in recent years for rampant corruption.
But those in the Chicago-area's 100,000-strong Ukrainian-American community also see the visit as a homecoming for Chumachenko, who was raised by Ukrainian-American parents here and only last month became a Ukrainian citizen.
"For me, this is obviously a very sentimental visit because I will be coming back with a new status, as a first lady, and I will be coming back after a very moving period in our lives," Chumachenko told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Friday from Ukraine. "We went through very, very difficult times. But this will be a time to enjoy the outcome." [continue reading]