From Russia with Love

When I was 13 I moved from Russia to the USA with my mother, after my parents divorced. It was the first time I traveled that far from home. Prior to that most of our family vacations took us maximum a 6-hour flight away. America was a whole new world, new culture, new language, and a new life. In addition to the big move, I was also in my teenage years of rebellious attitude and the “know it all” part of my life. Needless to say, my mother is an iron woman for having to deal with me during those years. For the first six months my English skills were weak; thus, communicating with kids at school was a challenge. I did not have any friends for those initial months in the USA. The reason for the lack of friends was the language barrier, the cultural barrier, and my shyness. I am quite an introvert as is, and being in a new country simply made me even more so. Not realizing this at the time, but that experience made me stronger than I could ever imagine and prepared me for high school, college, and post grad years. I learned early on how to be alone and actually enjoy it. I also learned at an early age to keep myself occupied on daily basis to avoid boredom. I used to read a lot, go for walks, watch movies (which is mainly how I learned English), write my friends letters (back when we actually used pen and paper to write letters and send them in envelopes, anxiously waiting for weeks before receiving a letter). Even today, I can always find something useful to do with my day even if I am not working or on a long vacation. Moving to the USA was one of the best things that have ever happened to me in my life. Growing up in Russia and then having my life disturbed by the biggest move was one of the greatest lessons that I could have ever received. I got introduced to a whole new country, learned a new language (which I speak better than Russian at this point), met amazing people, received excellent education and work experience, and created a future for myself and my family that no one could have ever expected. I will be forever thankful to my Mom who made it possible for me to be who and where I am today.

St. Petersburg, Russia canals
St. Petersburg, Russia canals
A Cathedral in St. Petersburg, Russia-my hometown.
A Cathedral in St. Petersburg, Russia-my hometown.

I am always interested to hear other people’s stories about moving countries. Which country have you lived in and what was your experience?

Things I am thankful for: Christmas decorations, watching people go crazy over new year (I find it fascinating that one day makes people act in strange ways), dates (as in food, not as going out with someone), fresh fruits, and free mornings.

Advice of the Day: Read. Read anything and everything, just read. I am a huge fan of reading just about anything, but I prefer reading books over reading news (simply because most news are quiet disturbing and sad, and I don’t like it interfering with my positive vibes). Books are a way to experience a different world, get your mind working and thinking actively, escape from the real world, a way to get to know a person, a place, or a situation, or simply relax your mind and unwind from every day stresses. Reading also increases your vocabulary and makes you a better writer/speaker. I learn so much from reading books, whether it is a fiction or non-fiction story. My favorite time of the day to read is in the evenings, with a nice cup of green tea and a soft light shining on the pages.

What is the last book that you read? I am always looking for suggestions for my next read.

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