I am a mom of two kids, who are very happy little people. They make me happy most of the time. I lived in Russia, Spain, USA. Now we live in the Bay Area, California (USA). Before that we spent three years in Europe travelling around and doing some work. We spent a year in Norway and then moved to Spain, where we lived for two years before returning to the Bay Area. One of the questions that still puzzles me is “Where are you from?”. Besides the fact that I get asked this question very often, I still do not have the answer. At home we speak four languages: Russian, Spanish, French, and English. I guess we are a combination of these four cultures.
Workwise I am building a tech company in language/AI space that helps enterprises improve their email communication. We are also revamping a 5per5 app that helps people sound smarter in English at work. Check it out @ BlueWordAi
In April 2015 I started practicing MMA and Jiu-jitsu and since then martial arts became part of my life. I want to brag what I am most proud of: gold medal @ Jiu-jitsu US Open in October 2016 and another gold medal @ Jiu-jitsu American Cup in April 2017. I am a blue belt now and learning… every day. Learning on the mat and taking it to my off the mat life.
I also travel a lot with my kids. Travelling and working share one essential feature: I do not distinguish weekdays from weekends. It is just a string of days that I am living and enjoying on this planet.
I like art and books. I immensely enjoy Hemingway and Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. Their books are stacked on my desk and travel with me around the world. When I am tired I like to open them at random pages and read for a while, sometimes till I finish the book. And what I think about life is said on the last page and a half of “Wind, Sand and Stars” (scroll towards the end of this page and you will see the text). Art wise, I like Flemish painters, and Monet and Joan Miro. The detailing of Flemish art always enchanted me and made me want to remember all the details of the scene. One of my dreams, if I ever own a house is to have a very extensive library, with volumes that I have read and many more that I have not. A library with some flemish paintings (well, replicas of ones) on the walls.
I love sun, ocean, good coffee and elegant people. I am attracted to elegance and to the smell of freshly grounded coffee beans. I like sitting outside, drinking coffee on the plazas and working and noticing people that pass by. And getting inspired by the things I see, by the touch of the fresh breeze, by the sounds of the church bells and by the people talking on the tables next to me. It keeps me focused on what I do, on my work, on my kids, on the beauty that surrounds us. And I like it.
Very often I see myself as a misfit and a failure, and at other times I am the happiest person in the world who has it all. And I accept both of these states as my life. I got to like to be a misfit and not to fit into a regular grid (Does anybody fits there actually? And is there a regular grid?). Little by little I am learning what freedom is and showing it to my kids in our everyday life. Yes, they are with me always, travelling the world, talking to people, riding in carousels around the globe, observing cultures and speaking words on all the languages we have been in touch with. Yesterday I read a quote by A. Camus that said, “Freedom is our chance to be better”. I like it. I am taking this chance. And also giving it as a gift to my kids and to the people that surround me.
Business thoughts blog
Rome, July 8th, 2012 / Last revised September 21st, 2016
“I sat down face to face with one couple. Between the man and the woman a child had hollowed himself out a place and fallen asleep. He turned in his slumber, and in the dim lamplight I saw his face. What an adorable face! A golden fruit had been born of these two peasants. Forth from this sluggish scum had sprung this miracle of delight and grace. I bent over the smooth brow, over those mildly pouting lips, and I said to myself: This is a musician’s face. This is the child Mozart. This is a life full of beautiful promise. Little princes in legends are not different from this. Protected, sheltered, cultivated, what could not this child become? When by mutation a new rose is born in a garden, all the gardeners rejoice. They isolate the rose, tend it, foster it. But there is no gardener for men. This little Mozart will be shaped like the rest by the common stamping machine. This little Mozart will love shoddy music in the stench of night dives. This little Mozart is condemned.
I went back to my sleeping car. I said to myself: Their fate causes these people no suffering. It is not an impulse to charity that has upset me like this. I am not weeping over an eternally open wound. Those who carry the wound do not feel it. It is the human race and not the individual that is wounded here, is outraged here. I do not believe in pity. What torments me tonight is the gardener’s point of view. What torments me is not this poverty to which after all a man can accustom himself as easily as to sloth. Generations of Orientals live in filth and love it. What torments me is not the humps nor hollows nor the ugliness. It is the sight, a little bit in all these men, of Mozart murdered.
Only the Spirit, if it breathe upon the clay, can create Man.”
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Wind, Sand and Stars