The #etnographquarantinedan, Episode 4: The Avrutov Family – Slava, 40, Diana, 36, Anastasia, 15, Leon, 9, Yaroslavl, Russia
The conversation was held in English.
Slava, Diana, and the kids are staying in the rooms just below ours. Since they are, like us, a family, they received two rooms and have two balconies. I didn't know that at first, and it took me a while to realise that they are one family because I always saw each of them on the balcony individually. I called out to Slava, and he responded with a welcoming smile on his face. As his English is not fluent, he asked his daughter, Anastasia, to help with the translation. Anastasia asked excitedly whether this project was for Instagram. When I replied that it was more of a Facebook project, her face fell and she looked disappointed. Facebook is, perhaps, too old for someone her age.
The Avrutov family come from Yaroslavl, a Russian city situated on the Volga River at its confluence with the Kotorosl River, some 250 km northeast of Moscow. It is one of the Golden Ring cities – a group of historic cities, northeast of Moscow that has played an important role in Russian history. These towns are among the most picturesque in Russia and prominently feature Russia's quintessential onion domes. While Yaroslavl is among the largest of the eight cities, Anastasia sees it as "a very tiny place."
Why did they decide to immigrate to Israel? Slava's family lives in Israel: his sister immigrated a decade ago and his parents a year ago. His father was a university lecturer and his mother an accountant. Slava and Diana decided to relocate and join the extended family after visiting Israel several times. They will live in Kfar Saba, where Slava's family lives.
After learning Hebrew in an Ulpan, (Hebrew school for new immigrants), Slava wants to open a grocery shop like the one he had in Russia. Anastasia is a little anxious about starting school but also curious about making new friends. Her main concern is to find a professional tennis programme, as she is devoted to her sport. Leon and Diana were too shy to talk to me.
I asked Anastasia how they are spending their days in quarantine. She said, "We are going crazy. We always on our computers or phones, including my mum and dad. I sometimes go onto the balcony to look at the sea. I just want to go swimming!"