Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Happy 25th Birthday, Gulia

I can still clearly remember the first time I saw Gulia. It was in Clifton 3+ years ago, right after she had arrived from Russia. She walked into the room and she looked so wonderfully sad. She was worried about her friend, Renata, stuck at the Moscow airport. Soon after, Gulia helped a half dozen Russian college kids find apartments and jobs. They called her Mother Teresa. Back then Gulia was chopping vegetables in a fancy grocery store. Now she is selling new cars out at King's Auto Mall. So far in January she is number one in sales, thank you very much.

Trading Places

Two years ago, when Becky and I to visit Gulia's family in the small town of Bakali, I brought along one of these 'OHIO' bricks all the way over there. Gulia has dabbled in modelling and here I must say here she is doing an excellent job of holding a brick.

Mushroom Hunting

A few pictures from Bakali. Out mushroom hunting with Gulia's sisters, Elmira and Elvira. How much fun was that! Their Dad grilled the mushrooms and we washed them down with a shot of vodka.

English Class with a guest from America.

One of things I most wanted to do in Russia was to go to a classroom. I had never seen such adorable children. They had never an American before. We stared at each other. The boy in the center of the picture stood up from his chair. He politely asked me why I was studying Russian. Of course it is for moments like this. Another moment happened today. Elmira gave birth to a little girl today and after a few years she too will go to school here.

The priest In Bakali.

During Communist times the dome was torn down and the church served as the local movie theatre. I noticed that the priest had an abacus inside. Cool. "A Russian calculator", he joked.

The Mosque In Bakali

The mosque was going through renovations. I checked out the pile of sand, the mortar mixer, the ladder and the scaffolding. There were a few old people praying inside, but more than the church.


For Becky this picture seemed to sum up what Bakali was all about.