I was born in the city of Bratsk in Siberia, the third most polluted place in the world. Perhaps this is the reason for the many allergies I have: dust, animal fur, soap and most cosmetic product – you name it! The worst is having a bad allergy to sun and even worse to sunblock. That’s ‘fun’.
In summer, I’m sometimes scared to leave the house and much prefer colder seasons, especially proper Siberian winters, when the temperature is so low you have icicles forming on the tip of your nose.
I don’t remember much from my childhood in Russia. Apparently, I used to climb a on a chair and sing a song glorifying Lenin, much to the delight of my grandparents and their guests.
The earliest memory I have is eating crabs from a large bowl placed on a stool in the middle of the kitchen. I still love shellfish, chicken wings, sunflower seeds and most other things that you need to eat with your hands. Food somehow tastes better if you get to play with it first.
My family moved to Lithuania when I was only 2 or 3 years old. I struggled in kindergarten and primary school because I was learning new subjects in a language that I didn’t speak, and my parents were unable to help me.
“I’m allergic to dust, animal fur, soap – you name it! The worst is having a bad allergy to sun and even worse one to the sunblock. That’s ‘fun’.”
My sister and I often skipped classes, having long conversation over the morning coffee instead. Our parents never objected, and when a teacher once called to complain about our absence, my father calmly replied: “What do you want me to do about it? They are your students, not mine.”
Besides art, my favourite subjects were Math and Physics because they are logical and make perfect sense. I couldn’t stand literature and always argued when teacher insisted on a particular interpretation of a book.
Even nowadays, I’m finding reading very difficult, since my mind just wonders off in the middle of the sentence.
I always speak out if I don’t agree with things that happen around me. My family are the descendants of Polish revolutionaries, who fought against the Russian tsar in the early 20th century and were later deported to Siberia, while my grandfather was the first Soviet lawyer to win a case against mafia. Guess challenging the norm is in my blood.
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