Strong in Adversity

I was born a bastard (in the legal sense) on the 26th of April 1987, in Moscow while my father was in Canada as he was denied access into the country, however my mother and father did marry in Moscow in July 1988. I learnt when I was older that this was just the beginning of Glasnost, when the Russian Empire started to break up under President Gorbachev and people were given the first tastes of freedom. The following November my mother who was pregnant and I joined my father to Ottawa, Canada where my mother gave birth to my younger brother Martyn.

My earliest memory has to be of snow, every year in Ottawa we would be blessed with a beautiful deep, white blanket. I often reminisce the times Martyn and I made snowmen, built forts and lost our snow boots. I have always had a close bond with my immediate family as we spent most of our time in different places. While in Ottawa we lived in two places Nepean, within the city boundary then my parents had a house built in a very small town called Rockland on the Quebec-Ontario boarder and was predominantly French speaking.

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I started school when I was five and I do remember the big yellow school bus with the French-speaking drivers who collected us and brought us home everyday. The school was bilingual, speaking both English and French. I started in kindergarten and this is where my first love of music started went I learnt to play the recorder by copying the older children, as I was too young to “officially” learn. At this time my father worked with the University of Ottawa and Carlton University and we had only lived in our new house for a year and a half before he was offered a position at the University of British Columbia.

The first major family trip I remember was moving across Canada to our new home (Ottawa to Vancouver). All our furniture and personal effects were packed into a big removal van after the house was empty we started out twelve-day journey by car. We would spend one night in the car the other in a motel. I do not remember much but I do remember my mother and father took turns in driving. At one of our stops I nearly drowned while we were in the motel swimming pool.

I asked my Mum to watch me dive across the pool, however she had her eyes on my younger brother and as I dived and swam to the other side I missed the ledge by an arms length leaving me panicking as I had nothing to hold on to, luckily she saw me in time and the worst did not happen. While we were in Vancouver we first lived down town and my brother and I attended Lord Roberts School. After about six months we moved to an area called Kitsilano and attended General Gordon Elementary School. Although I was very young and memories can deceive I do know that I enjoyed being in Vancouver there was so much to do and see.

While in the city we joined one of the Russian community organisations, I say one of them as there were three and from what my parents told me they were constantly arguing with each other. This is where my brother and I trooped every Saturday for Russian dancing and language lessons. We were good at the dancing, not so good at the language. In 1996 my family and I moved to England where my parents opened their business in Weymouth, Dorset this was a tuition centre for foreign students wishing to increase their knowledge in the English language.

During this time my brother and I spend time in several schools. My main problem was I could not fit in; I was different and therefore outcast by my peers this caused many problems. In year seven at a school called; All Saints C of E, I was bullied by pupils and staff leaving me shocked and scared, at this time my mother and father sent me to school in Moscow for three months to give me a break and a chance to learn more about half my roots and the Russian language. This was an eye opening experience, though I stayed with my Aunt and a Russian friends’ family I at times missed home terribly.

When I returned I joined another school; Thomas Hardys, I was not happy there but I met a boy called James who I became, and still am very good friends with. He helped me through the days and I will never forget the times he stood by me and pushed me up what seemed like a hill. The end of my time at this school came when I was involved in a fight leaving me unhappy and unable to continue working there. Those three years where my worst experience so far, it was not physical pain but emotional pain. After those three years my parents decided to place me in the private system and I joined St.

Antony-Leweston School (a private girls school in Sherborne, Dorset). There, I was instantly accepted and made to feel welcome which was a feeling I had not experienced at my previous senior schools. At first I felt home sick as I was weekly boarding, leaving me away for the family I am so close to yet after no time I began to cope and enjoyed the wild things us girls got up to in our spare time. I met my best friend Rowena there and since have remained very close with her we shared many happy moments in and out of school.

My fond memories of Leweston will never be forgotten as I was happy and enjoyed the life I was living there. Leweston taught me how to be a young lady and deal with society but also gave me an education with a difference. This information I will carry with me throughout my life as to date that year and a half was my best experience of life outside of family. My best school trip would have to be last year in the June, when Leweston took my year group to Normandy, France for the week the trip was titled ‘Encole en France’ meaning ‘School in France’.

Everyday we would start the day with a short lesson before spending the rest of the day on excursions. During this time I saw and learnt many new things, the trip brought all of us girls together and was the best educational trip ever as it felt more like being on holiday with your close friends than on a boring school trip; once again I am left with very fond memories of this magical journey. My main hobby and interest is music and has been since a young age when I first picked up a recorder then moved to the piano at the age of six.

I do not come from a musical background but my parents never held me back, they only encouraged my brother and I to achieve what we desired. As my interest for music grew I decided to take up another instrument, which was the violin, once again my parents supported me and were more than happy for me to have lessons. Music is my love and I am very passionate about it, I may not be the best at music but I work hard to achieve my person goals and hope to continue my hobby and work with music when I leave school.

When asked do I have any work experience? My reply it plenty and I have only had one job. The Summer of 2002 I worked full time (breakfast and evenings) as a waitress at a top hotel called; The Moonfleet Manor, which was just down the road from where I lived so I could walk there and back easily. Working as a hotel restaurant waitress for two months taught me may skills such as taking orders, serving food and drink, preparing the restaurant and how to communicate well with the guests; which I have never had a problem with anyway.

I enjoyed my time there and I do not think anyone else my age has had such an opportunity, even though the work was hard and the hours were long I enjoyed every moment and found my job to be rewarding because I increased my life skills and in that short period of time earned i?? 1200 I also met some very interesting people, especially the other members of staff who came from all parts of the world. If you were to ask me who are the people and places most important to me I would only be able to give you one answer: my family and my home.

I am so very close to my family and in my case I believe truly in the saying ‘blood is thick than water’ my family will always be there for me through thick and thin, not even my closest friends I can guarantee on being there when most needed, because in my experience you can only trust yourself. I am a giver, always have been but I have been used many times by people who I thought were my friends but were just takers. Home to me is the safest place, where you know you are always welcomed and will always be looked after.

I love my life and would not change it for anyone else’s, since we were young my brother and I are the best team, when we work together we are unstoppable and always have achieved our goals. We have been, seen and done so many things that no other person our age could even dream of and that is what makes my life so enjoyable. I have met so many people and lost a few friends, I have had my problems and made mistakes but in the end these are the things that have made me the strong person who I am today. At this point in my life if I had one wish it would be to go back to Lewestons for 6th form or a private 6th form college after the Summer.