In 2016, I was nervous. As a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant, we had the opportunity to give presentations about our experiences in Russia and, for me specifically, experiences in Smolensk where I studied Russian language. By that time, I had many experiences to pull from. I had played in a Russian men’s basketball league and thought about the differences between American and Russian play styles. I was a teacher, and the university environment I was in was much different from my alma mater, William & Mary (go Tribe!). I was also extremely fascinated by the cultural importance of a “hello” that was valued by my close Russian peers. Despite all of these interesting topics, one group of women made much more of an impression on me than anything else – the вахтеры of our dorm at Smolensk State University.
Raising two bi-lingual daughters has been an interesting and rewarding challenge for our family. My wife is Russian, and we met in St. Petersburg, and spoke mainly Russian together during the 14 years that I lived there. Our daughters, Vanessa and Adriana, were also born in St. Petersburg, and accordingly spent the first years of their lives in a Russian-speaking environment. Vanessa, our oldest daughter, even had the opportunity to attend a pre-school in St. Petersburg for a year.
In the spring of 2014, however, my wife was accepted to graduate school in the United States, and so we moved to Minnesota in July of that year. At that point Vanessa was 4 years and 2 months old, while Adriana was 2 years and 3 months old.
This post is available only in Russian.