Vladimir Meets Alex

April 6, 2008

Vladimir has been visiting me again this weekend, and yesterday we went to Raleigh to meet Alex.

We had nothing special planned, so we just met Alex at his house, and then went to him to his usual Saturday workout at the Taekwondo school. There were 3 students working out, so Vladimir got to be the fourth, which worked out well. It was a kind of ‘self-defense’ class- Alex said the theory is that the elegant traditional moves of martial arts aren’t always literally useful for self-defense purposes, so they class is about what actually works in a fight.

It appeared that Vladimir loved it; with a little warm-up he was in the middle of it all just like some high school wrestling match. It turned out to be a pretty strenuous workout, too.

We went to the mall after that, took the tour of the Bose sound studio (Alex wants their home theater system now), looked at the sales at Sharper Image (they are closing, bankrupt). Then we ate at the Rocky Mountain Grill, which was very good. (They had massive chocolate brownies for dessert.)  At lunch we talked about Russian nicknames, and the fact that Americans have trouble pronouncing the name ‘Vladimir,’ which is also Alex’s father’s name.  Alex said they called his father ‘BO-buh,’ which is kind of a Russian pun- since ‘B’ = ‘V’ in cyrillic writing, the nickname ‘Vova’ is spelled ‘Boba’ in Russian.   So maybe we can call our Vladimir Boba also, since he’s not sure he likes ‘Vlady’.

We had already met Alex’s friend Olga in the morning, and I didn’t want to monopolize Alex’s whole day, so I tried to leave soon after that. But ‘soon’ was after Alex showed me the product (excellent) of his new expresso machine, and Vladimir had a chance to download some of Alex’s russian music to his MP3 player. We were back home in plenty of time to see Carolina play horribly and lose in the final four!



March 20, 2008

Vladimir Kadeev is a 15-year-old boy in foster care, and is the first child I’ve been able to host since being licensed as a foster parent. Vladimir was originally born in Belarus, which is now separate from Russia but is actually closer to Moscow than Roman’s home in Orenburg. He has been in DSS custody for a couple of years, and it is a long strange story we won’t get into here. I was introduced to him during lunch in Monroe with his DSS social worker Judy Parker, and we spent several hours together. We got along well, so Ms. Parker set up a weekend visit, called ‘respite care,’ where the foster child takes time away from the therapeutic foster home. We had dinner at my mother’s house, worked around my house cleaning up the yard and moving stuff around. I had a rather full Saturday- Democratic precinct meetings in Ramseur, a special meeting between local Democrats and state senator Kay Hagan, who is running for US Senate. Vladimir came with me to those, and met people, and seemed to interact well. Of course we also had some meals out and trips to the mall, etc. And Sunday we spent the day at the zoo- a pretty and sunny day, comparted to Saturday. I took him back to Concord at 4PM, and I hope he’ll get to come back soon.