Thursday, June 10, 2010

Childhood Russia

My little friend in Kaliningrad, her name is Vavara, Russian version of Barbara.

Vavara is three year-old and six months, born in Kaliningrad to a botanist mother and seaman father. A very expressive child, she corrected how I pronounced "frog" in Russian. Knowing how to spell is not enough, you need to know exactly which vowel to stress on. My accidental teacher.
When she is in a happy mood, she sings non-stop in the park. A walking doll.
Running in the park, singing, sometimes crying...mood swings.
I met her three weeks ago for the first time. She remembered me today and ran fast towards me to lock me with a big hug at the university corridor. How happy I was!
Her mood suddenly changed, and she refused to look at the camera.
Hand-held by her grandma, Albina, she was grinning two mintues ago before she became grouchy.
Vavara's grandmother is an editor in my university. She babysits her half-day as her computer is down. It is obvious, I am yellow, she is white.

Fluff from trees whitened the quiet pond.
I met Vavara's grandmother in our Victory Day's celebration at the university. She could sing almost all Soviet era songs, I visit her from time to time at her office. Very often, we have tea and light meals at her office. And of course - we sing! Sometimes she would bring her youngest granddaughter with her to the university when the workload is not so heavy. On a normal working day, she attends events and publish newsletter for the university.

Three weeks ago, we went to the Botanic Garden of Kaliningrad where her daughter Svetlana works. Sveta and her husband Sergey have three children, Masha, Toma and Varya. Typical Russian family, parents married at early twenties, and before 40 years of age, their eldest child is already a teenager. The family spends time in their garden during weekends, play harmonica at home, and visit grandparents.

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