A family reunion

  • While in Khabarovsk, we drove outside the city to meet my wife’s brother, Kolya, and his two sons, Danil and Valira, who were building a datcha for a Khabarovsk man. They were building it with post-and-beam construction, using a chain saw to cut the solid pine beams that formed the walls.In the photos, Valira is holding the chain saw. Danil, who is less shy, poses with his cousin, Ihila. Koyla lives in a Nanai village, Elika, in the Khabarovsk region. He told Svetlana that he left the village to get away from all the drinking.Svetlana had not seen her brother since their father’s funeral 19 years ago. It was a short meeting, lasting about a half hour. Our daughter, Ihila, enjoyed seeing her two cousins for the first time. There was a lot or laughter and smiles. Svetlana gave them shirts as presents. Because Koyla and his sons had to get back to work, and the driver of our car was waiting for us, our meeting lasted about 30 minutes. For Svetlana, the meeting was emotional, but she kept her feelings hidden. We said our goodbyes and climbed back into the car and began our journey back to Khabarovsk. Then Svetlana began weeping.

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