We moved to America more than 20 years ago now. Soon after we arrived we met a Russian man who was studying at a local university and invited him to spend Sundays with us, going to church and then time with our family. Little did we know that more than 20 years later we would still be friends.
When we met Vladamir he was a professor at a Russian university and was checking out an MBA course at the American university for a joint project. We spent many Sunday afternoons together, and although his English improved, it was never terrible, we felt we never really got to know the true person beneath. His wife came and visited when he graduated and we threw a big party for him.
later I met him in London on a business trip whilst he was working with an English bank on assignment from a Russian bank he was now connected with. Then when both our families happened to be London we all met again.
10 years ago Vladamir came with his wife to visit us and to go see an AfricanViolet Convention and some growers. He bought many leaves and spent several days preparing the leaves for transport home.
Last week I got an email - simple and straightforward - In Philadelphia for African Violet Convention hope to see you.
We got to see each other Saturday afternoon, here is Trudy standing before the best in show table with Vladamir. He had neglected to tell us he was one of the judges at the show as well as on the board of the association and many other things. Like us he is a grand parent so we swopped stories on that and those leaves he took home so many years ago are now being brought back and there is a special Russian African Violet section.
Maybe it is time for us to visit Vladamir in Russia, he has been asking us for a long time, but we've been married 30 years this year and been wondering what to do to celebrate...