I don’t think I know of anyone as tenacious as our fourth exchange daughter Kate. Kate’s hometown is the small town of Lagan, Republic of Kalmykia, Russian Federation. She was an exchange student in the United States for the 2000-2001 school year. Kate came to the United States as part of the Freedom Support Act, now known as the Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX) Program.
I still remember picking Kate up from the airport with her hair that extended all the way down her back…the hair came off just a few weeks later and she has never looked back. Except for one “B” her first six weeks of her exchange year, she earned straight A’s through her year in an American high school.
Kate is the daughter who returned. After she finished her program, she returned to Russia to apply for a new visa to attend college in the United States. Due to the tragedy of 9.11, all United States embassies were closed and Kate was left to patiently wait. She received her visa just in time to enter San Antonio College for the spring semester.
We provided Kate food and lodging, but other than some advance loans for her tuition, she worked her way through college by earning scholarships and working on campus as a math tutor. After San Antonio College, she entered the University of Texas at San Antonio. Kate graduated in 2006 with an Undergraduate Degree in Finance and Accounting and a 4.0 GPA. She was also named UTSA Business Student of the Year.
After graduation, Kate worked for one year and then married her American high school sweetheart Mike (lucky guy.) In one of the most cherished moments of my life, I had the honor of giving away the bride.
Not long after the wedding, it was determined that Kate would have to return to Russia for about eighteen months to satisfy her original visa requirements. Kate, being Kate and never putting anything off, left Mike in charge of the condo and the cat and immediately departed to Russia to serve out her time. And of course Kate, being Kate and not taking just any job for eighteen months, landed a job in a major accounting firm in Moscow. When she returns to the United States, she plans on completing the necessary requirements to stand for a CPA license, and then an MBA is somewhere in her future. We are all looking forward having her back in January or February of 2009.
Kate and I took a five day trip together to St. Petersburg, Russian Federation in June of 2008. She really is about the best travel companion anyone could have. The day after my departure from Moscow, Mike arrived.