Olga, 1996

Olga was our first exchange daughter. Her home town is Saratov, Russian Federation and she was an exchange student in the United States for the 1996-1997 school year. Olga came to the United States as part of the Freedom Support Act, now known as the Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX) Program.

Olga and Pavel in a random cafe outside Moscow, Russian Federation, June 2008

Over ten years later and we are still in close touch with each other. She is now married to Pavel (lucky man), who loves her very much, and the two of them are making a nice life together in Moscow. I have been fortunate to travel to Russia to see her three times, and she and Pavel came to the United States in the fall of 2007.

I snapped the photograph on a cloudy Saturday morning, in a cafe somewhere on the road from Moscow to the Golden Ring. The three of us had left by car at 5 am that morning in order to beat the mass exodus of Moscow to the dachas, or summer homes, that are scattered about the countryside. Our initial goal completed, we were left with time on our hands while we waited for the Golden Ring to awaken. After good breakfast of blinies and later on a brief nap in the car, both we and the Golden Ring were ready for each other.


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