Russia has been a vague, distant concept in my head associated with paranoid fears of socialism and mail order brides. Until I met Zhenya and Yulia. They came to work for the summer in America. Their enthusiasm for exploration and knowledge was infectious. Their grasp of English, impressive! Communicating with them made me want to work in some office of multicultural affairs (would’ve been nice to decide this before college not after!) and cemented my desire to live overseas for some length of time. Currently I’m aiming to teach in Japan.
We had a blast while they were here and I miss them dearly. In not much over a month, they became some of the best friends I had. We went to the beach, giggled over boys, and traded music from U2 to Ayumi Hamasaki. I’m still sad we never got the chance to go clubbing together, not that Savannah has much in the way of clubs. Last time I went, I was literally the only one dancing. For four hours. People asked me if I was on drugs (no).
One day, I’ll visit them in their home country…..if they ever go home! They had some trouble where they were working and decided to try the greener pastures of NYC…. now Yulia has an American boyfriend and they’ve decided to stay at least another year!
Yulia said her mother dreamed of seeing palm trees for real so when we passed this, she wanted to sit in the ‘heart of the palm.’
They liked my wrap skirt (aka $2 fabric from the scrap bin) and wanted pictures posing with it. Lots of pictures! Partly, they had the tourism bug and partly there was a mentality to Be Beautiful. Zhenya changed her hair color frequently and I’ve never seen anyone get so dressed up to get on a day-long bus ride. Interesting to me because I don’t usually go out of my way to Be Beautiful. The only portraits I’ve had done were required at school. But it’s an interesting side to try and does build some confidence!
Did I mention we went to the beach a LOT? It was summer in Savannah and they had never seen the ocean. omg I can’t imagine not living close enough to go when I feel it call.
Zhenya wrote her boyfriend’s name in the sand. They emailed a lot and I didn’t know it but there’s a Russian version of facebook that they showed me.
They day they left ): I drove them to the bus station. They said that sitting down before traveling is an important Russian tradition, so here we are!