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Ask any average Los Alamos teenager what they like about their town and you are very likely to get an unenthusiastic response. Ask a Russian teenager from Sarov what they like and the reaction will be completely different.
Between visiting American schools for the first time, eating American food, going to Gordon’s concerts, hiking and socializing with newfound friends, three Sarov teenagers, Tatiana Stasko, Paul Aleksin and Darya Anikina, had time to sit down and share their feelings about being in New Mexico.
Naturally, one of the most important activities for the teen was meeting Los Alamos high-school students. They said they all look back upon their first and only Gordon’s concert with fond memories of conversations about the differences between Russians and Americans, and the similarities as well.
They even got to experience some of the local attractions for free!
When asked what were the differences between Russians and Americans, all three had different observations.
“The schools are really different,” Stasko said. Aleksin added that the people were really different as well. “Well, Americans always smile,” Anikina said. With smiles that are always inviting, the firefighters at Fire Station Number 3 invited the teens for a visit. Anikina was impressed, “The guys were really friendly!”
Other activities the teens experienced included a trip to Taos and hiking.
However, even with all the fun things they got to experience, they were still hesitant when asked the question, “would you be willing to actually move to the United States?” While they said “yes” in a low, polite voice, they were also somewhat reluctant in picturing that image.
The main reason they were hesitant was because, as with any foreigner, their family would be left behind. Not living in Russia would mean not living near family and relatives. To give a more diplomatic response to this question, Anikina offered “Not today. Maybe in the future.”
As the time to leave approached, the sister city teenagers were visibly upset. Tears were running down their cheeks and they said they definitely would not have minded staying in the United States maybe a bit longer.
They said Los Alamos, New Mexico is not a foreign name to them anymore, but a place they enjoy and adore. At the social party thrown in their honor at the teen center, after passing out little note cards with contact information for their newfound friends, the teens left, in search of new adventures back home.
They all promised to never forget America, and all in attendance promised to never forget them.