The names of the individuals I have written about have been changed to protect their privacy
We begin our trip homeward from the Carpathians on the weekend of the 4th July. The marvelous thing about teaching English to professionals is, it allows my wife and I the opportunity meet and become friends with many of my students.
On our trip home we had made arrangements to stop and meet the parents of one of my former students, who had gone to America to do a year internship in New York City. While there, she met a very nice man, fell in love, and has since married.
I have been blessed to meet many wonderful students while teaching English as a second language. Olena is one of the most special. When she smiles her aura and personality radiates with warmth and kindness. You can’t help notice that she is an uncommon soul with a zest for living and adventure. When she speaks, you know instantly that she isn’t just another pretty face. She is a young lady, who is extremely positive with a lot of talent.
Unfortunately, when my wife and I flew to New York, we weren’t able see Olena and her new husband because of airport security. However, when she returned to Ukraine with her husband I greeted her with a hug and said, “Good job, life is good!” And turned to shake hands with her husband, Mark for the first time, I was beaming like a proud father and took an instant liking to Mark. We all met again this past Christmas season on our way back home to Kiev and stayed a few days with them in New York City.
Olena’s parents live in a small town in Western Ukraine. It is an interesting place with lots rich history that goes back many centuries. After a few cell phone calls and some misguided directions from a few of the locals we found Olena’s mother waiting for us near one of the city’s landmarks, a short distance from her home. She got into our car and we drove the short distance to her home.
Her husband arrived home a short time later after helping to move his friends and his beehives to a field of grechka (buckwheat).
The first thing I wanted my wife to translate to our guests was, “I was the one who encouraged your daughter to go to New York and do you like the young man she married?” They answered, “Very much so!”
Having met Olena’s parents I understood better what makes Olena so special. Her parents were great in every way. The four of us had a terrific first visit and we set a date to meet again when it was time to roundup the beehives and harvest their honey.
Story to be continued