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Tatiana Ball with the Russian American Cultural Society

Our second event for Friday was the 52nd annual Tatiana Ball presented by the Russian American Cultural Society at the Crystal Ballroom on Chevrolet Blvd. Our good friend Mr. Ken Kovach held a ticket for us but we were still happy when we were approached by Ms. Laura Vervisky who let us know that she too had set aside a ticket for us because she remembered that we always make an effort to attend. We saw several people that we knew from St. Sergius, where we had tabled at their annual festival two years ago, like Father Ilia and George and Lucy Balasko. Last year they did not have a festival but they plan to have one this July at the German Central Farm in Parma and we plan to table there if possible. Mr. Kovach explained to us that the Tatiana celebration was started back in the 1800's. It was named after Saint Tatiana who was the daughter of a czar. She was canonized due to her charitable work. Before dinner was served we enjoyed "zakuski" which, according to the program, is "a Russian tradition dating from the 10th century when salted fish and meats, marinated mushrooms, and vegetable preserves were served before the main meal. They serve not only to stimulate the appetite but to banish any cares of the day" which was prolific because people were dancing and spirits were high.

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We shared a table with Ms. Lisa Lufkin, Ms. Laura Drolson, and Ms. Mary Lisa Boufateh who all work for Vocalink Language Services that does interpreting and translations. We told them that we work for Margaret W. Wong and Associates and that we like to write stories about people who have immigrated to the United States from other countries. Ms. Drolson suggested that we walk over and talk to Mike and Inna Skorichenko who were sitting just a couple of table away so we did.

It turned out that Inna immigrated to the United States from Russia to marry Mike right after 9/11. The two of them hooked up accidentally on the computer so Mike flew to Moscow to meet Inna and it was love at first sight. Naturally, Inna wanted to come to the United States and be with Mike so she applied for a fiancé visa and, surprisingly, got things processed rather quickly at the American Embassy and was able to join Mike in America after a few weeks. The rest is history and Inna became a United States citizen around 2006.

At this time Inna is working as a pharmacist tech although she holds a Master's Degree in Engineering that she earned in Russia. She has experience working in the oil industry but, until a couple of years ago, there was a shortage of U.S. jobs in this field. To be sure, Inna might eventually go back to working in the engineering field because she loves geology and has other geologists in her family. Mike grinned and pointed to Inna's wedding ring and said, "she came here and I bought her a rock!"

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