With a name like Olya, just saying I am from Texas doesn’t usually cut it. Then again, I know that as soon as I tell someone I was born in Siberia, I need to have time to explain my entire life story to them.
I identify with both cultures. My parents raised me Russian. We had many Russian traditions, spoke Russian at home, celebrated Russian holidays, had many Russian parties with a large group of Russian friends, and even went to a Russian church. I am proud of my heritage and hope to pass on some Russian traditions to my future children.
I am also a proud US citizen. Most people who meet me for the first time tell me they wouldn’t have known I was Russian if I hadn’t told them my name. (Strangely, I get Swedish a lot). When I am away from my family, I definitely act more American than Russian. I have no accent, and I’ll even flash a big “American” smile at you in photos or if I pass you on the street (which happens to drive my mom crazy).
I named my blog The Siberian American because both of my identities are equally important to me. Now if only I could figure out how to condense this post into a one-sentence answer, I would be set.
What about you? Do you have a hard time answering “where are you from?”