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Russia, January 15, 1998

Sing, Katya, Sing!

Katya can hit that high 'c' past high 'c' - and hold it!

Mom & Katya
Mom & Katya
Ya never know what hidden talents people have until you befriend them, take my friend Katya for example.

I don't remember the first day I met Katya, I just remember seeing her often. She works at the reception desk and switchboard for PricewaterhouseCoopers and when I worked on the first floor, I would always stop at her desk and chat. She and I started about the same time, so we had the bond of confusion and isolation that comes with a new job.

When I first met her, her English impressed me. When she speaks, she I so fluent and her accent so British, I forget she is Russian. Only later did I learn she left for England when this was still the USSR, and when she came back it was Russia. The cultural shock for her in returning was almost as hard as the English one in going.

Some days, when we are not swamped with work, we will have rapid-fire email exchanges about whatever topic is the most current. Yesterday, in the middle of the koshka conspiracy, August payroll, and the usual crisis, we emailed about the current state of Russian banks. Other days we banter on about what someone was wearing or the latest gossip.

Her fluency, and her ability to rapid-fire email, has given her a talent in calling my bluff and exposing the weaknesses of my arguments. She is an expert at pointing out the flaw in my magnificent, worldwide, conspiracy theories, usually with the most obvious link I have conveniently forgotten. Last weekend, while at her dacha, she and I debated my dating style here, and the proof of her skill is shown in Dacha Thinking.

She works with four other women, all of which know me well and probably think we are secretly dating; we have to much fun palling around for them not to. But Katya is a bit young for me. She is much more mature than someone her age, so I was shocked to learn she is a tender eighteen, and only now entering the university! I guess it isn't a talent, but she is so much more together than I was at that age.

Finally, Katya has a most shocking talent, considering her smoking habit. Katya emailed me one day, asking if I wanted to go on a backstage tour of the Bolshoi Theatre (yeah, the Bolshoi!). I accepted of course, but I asked her how much it was and when the tour started, thinking it was an organized tour she was participating in. It wasn't. She wanted to give me an un-official, private tour because she sings with the Bolshoi Choir! Her voice is amazing wen she sings, so clear and pure. She is quite shy about singing outside of the choir, but when she does, it is amazing. Of only I could sing, too.

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