My First-Born Birthday

Today is Igor’s birthday, and it’s hard to believe that he is thirty-five. I can’t even describe how proud I am of all the things he achieved in life. He faced way more challenges than Vlad and Anna, not the least one being a first-born for the 22 years old mother. But here he is. A kind and compassionate person. An accomplished professional. A cancer survivor. A person who stands for his views and beliefs. Happy birthday @igorstudenkov!

Traveling to Cyprus

My birthday was on Saturday, and I spent most of it in transit. Started it with a birthday breakfast of hot-smoked salmon sandwich on rye bread at the Vantaa airport and then boarded a flight to Frankfurt. That flight and the subsequent flight to Limassol were extremely uneventful, being operated by Lufthansa :).

I didn’t know that we have to cross the border going to Cyprus. Cyprus is an EU member, but not a part of the Schengen agreement. However, they acknowledge Schengen visas, so it works at least one way :).

Upon arrival, we met our driver (we had a prearranged transportation to our hotel) and got into the car. Once again, I didn’t know that Cyprus had left-side traffic, so you have to be super careful. The highway from the airport was one-way, and the reverse route was not visible. Citing my surprise that nobody asked us at the border, how long we are going to stay, Boris joked that that’s because there is no way out anyway :).

This time of the year is off-season on Cyprus, so hotels are dirt-chip, and the first two days it was raining. We won’t do much sightseeing anyway, because it falls dark right after five. But here is the view from our room 🙂

I also managed to get an hour in the gym, hence I have my usual in-the-gym birthday picture:

All-birthdays Day

My older son birthday is on September 28, and my twins birthday is on August 23. And since for the past ten years it was challenging to get everybody together in one place, we stopped trying to do it twice, and ended up having one big “combined” birthday. This year the day was September 22 – we had the most lovely brunch at Maison Parisienne in Lakeview.

Dylan(Vlad’s boyfriend), Vlad, Anna, Hettie, Igor, Nina (Hettie’s Mom)
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My Granddaughter Is Two!

Today my granddaughter Nadia turned two. We celebrated her birthday on Sunday in Madison, Wisconsin. The guests were just her closest relatives and closest friends, but it was still a little bit overwhelming for a two-year-old. Anna created an airplane birthday cake, which took a lot of designing and planning, and lots of decorating effort.

After all the presents were opened and enjoyed, my daughter, Anna gave a short speech, in which she said that she is so thankful that through all two years of Nadia’s life there was not a moment, when she wasn’t loved and taken care of. And that she, Anna, is thankful for that.

That was one of many recent moments when I thought to myself: how fortunate it is that I decided to go to America twenty-three years ago! How lucky Anna is that she came along! How fortunate Nadia is that she was born to such a loving family, with so many relatives adoring her. And how this all might never happen, and I wouldn’t even know that something had not happened!

Happy birthday Nadezhda! Happy parenting, John and Anna!

Anna is decorations Nadia’a birthday cake