Laura is My St Pete Connection

1998 > Russia

Laura is the new Russian woman

Laura & the Family
Red is Laura’s Color
Dacha Time!
Dacha Living Rocks!
Last year, I traveled to Russia without a worry or a word of Russian. This
country is not kind to the unprepared traveler. While getting a quick and
painful lesson in the harshness of Russian life, I met a wonderful friend,

and her family took me in when I was deep in culture shock, and they put up with
my crazy antics. I owe her family a big thanks.

To the left, is Laura (in red), her sister, and their parents. This is her graduation, and since Laura is usually in jeans, not dresses, I didn’t recognize her when I first saw this photo.

She and her sister are still in school (or at university, as they say here),
but they are very street smart. My host-brother, Dima, says that all
Russians have to have a little hooligan in them to survive here, and I believe

Laura wants to stay in Russia and work for a Russian company, while her
sister is trying to get into an American university to improve her chances
with a Western firm. They are a microcosm of young Russians’ nationalism.
The next generation here are rejoicing in being Russian, as opposed to
being Soviet, yet they embracing the West as never before. The two of them are
future movers and shakers in Russia. Be warned!

As you can see, the dacha is under
construction. Her father works on it every summer weekend, but there are
few summer weekends that far north. Her mother spends the days there
picking wild blueberries and mushrooms, and working in the dacha’s garden.
Dachas provide a large amount of most Russian’s food supply both in the
city and the country.

The dacha is in the ‘Sports Zone’, as I call it. The land
around this dacha is allocated to coaches like her father, who work for the
Russian national sports program. In Russia people work, play, and
vacation together, communally. Now try that in the states!