TORONTO – Mark Marczyk’s awakening that he wanted a different life came as he overlooked a South African shantytown while peering through the tinted windows of a tour bus. “I realized I wanted to experience the world,” the Canadian-Ukrainian says, sipping a coffee at one of Toronto’s offbeat cafes.
Poised for a promising career in rugby, Marczyk, then 19, took six months off from his studies, traveled Eastern Europe and ended up in Ukraine. There, he discovered a love for the Ukrainian language and culture, which he had previously ignored.
Over the next few years, Marczyk traveled back to Ukraine several times, his longest stay lasting two years. He taught English at Lviv’s Ukrainian Catholic University and started to play with Ludy Dobri, a well-known city band, immersing himself in the country’s different musical sounds.