Origins

Family, birthplace, circumstances.

Changing cultures taught me that people like to check where you came from to reduce their own barrier from your strangeness, and I am all for it. I love people's stories, and here is mine.

Ethnically, I am a mixed Slavic-German (~3/8 Ukrainian, ~3/8 Russian, ~1/4 German), with possible Swedish, Polish, or other smaller parts on the Slavic side. None of it matters much to me, but my ethnicity is "written" all over my face - high wide cheekbones, blue eyes, straight slightly reddish blond hair - and I am asked about it often.


My approximate genetic and cultural mix.
Ukrainian, Russian, German, looks, blond, hair, blue, eyes, genes, heredity

I was born right in the center of a large city Donetsk, Ukraine, on the river Kalmius.

This beautiful city, which was full of roses and interesting buildings - theaters, operas, universities, institutes, - is now largely destroyed by war.


About my birth city.
Donetsk, Ukraine, birthplace

My parents had me in their student years: my mother was 22, right before she finished her university degree in financial planning, and my father was 26, as a graduate student in theoretical  physics.


My parent's dating.

I was the only child for both my mother and father. My mom did not like children, my dad did not care for them much either, to put it mildly. They had other aspirations in life.


My mother was a ballerina in her early youth. She was not happy with the perspective to retire early with nothing plus bone pain. She built a career in financial management instead, after getting a degree in finance. Now she is a CFO at a medical council of ~100 consulting doctors.


About my mom.

My father was a brilliant child who finished all schools with highest honors. He became a scientist, theoretical physicist, and later worked as a professor of physics, taught scientific worldview, and published a couple of books on narrower subjects (like solid-state physics) and articles (methodology, etc.).


About my dad.
father, physics

My grandmother on my mother's side was a Siberian Russian. She was very pretty and managed to have three kids from different guys. She loved men, her grandson, and persimmons. She worked all her life, mainly as a hotel manager, and was driven by pride.


About my mom's mother.

My parents married after dating for about three years, when my mother was pregnant with me for about three months. It was autumn.

My mom's dress, especially the silvery roses covering the whole dress, was made on a big outdoor neighborhood party party in the center of Donetsk, where she grew up.


A few pictures from the time my parents married.
marriage, wedding, parents, gifts

The father of my mom was German, he emigrated to the United States after leaving Europe for good in early 1950-s. My grandmother lost the contact with him for a long time after sending him the last photograph of herself with my mother as a little girl, I've seen a copy of it. She refused to talked about him, probably because of pain and caution. I know the story primarily from my aunt, my mother's 10-year older sister.

He had another son in USA. I arrived here too late to meet either of them.


About my mom's father.

My father's mother and father married against the will of my granddad's wealthy family. They never received any support or recognition from them, but lived a long life together.

On this photograph they are with their first child, my father.


About my paternal grandparents.

My dad's mom drove to her work in a store on a bicycle. She raised three kids. She was rather petite, wore simple but colorful, tight knee-long dresses, and had a wavy brown hair.

She had a great smile, but was not a very warm type. With me, she barely communicated. She talked with entitled calm and was usually unhappy with things when she visited my parents in her later years. She was close with her daughter.


About my dad's mother.

He was a thin and muscular guy who survived five years of war, built his own house, broke with his family of origin to marry his wife, with whom he had raised three children.


About my dad's father.

Once in their childhood, my mom had badly beaten an older boy for hurting her kid brother.

Four months after I was born, my maternal uncle was killed in the army, where he was made to serve as an electrician, under undisclosed circumstances. He was 18 or 19, and I never met him. My grandma's long dark hair turned almost white then.


My uncle was killed in the military.

The closest person to a sibling - I called him brother - was my male cousin, who was 10 years older than me, the boy of my mother's sister.

His father was a very tall and almost excessively masculine Greek guy, who was killed in a restaurant knife fight when my cousin was a young boy. His stepfather was a calmer Jewish guy, whom he never really accepted as a father figure.


About my male cousin on the mother's side.

The younger brother of my father was a doctor, a physician. He worked in a large central hospital in a southern Ukrainian city. He was flamboyant and very attractive to women, and he talked extremely fast. 


My father's brother.
uncle, paternal

Hi died young. We wrote songs together. He was the first husband of my father's sister.

As far as I know, he was in love with my paternal aunt since high school, she did not really want him, but finally had married into his wealthy family.


He was important to me, though not considered really family.
uncle, paternal