Two Sides

This is my part of the mutual project with Maria Alekseeva. Nowadays there are a lot of lonely people and the family values have decreased in importance. However there are couples, who have lived together happily for many years. This project is about couples with their unique stories; it’s a tale about family and its values. 

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Irina & Valeri 

Irina and Valeri met at the children’s pioneer campus in 1975 and since then have been together for 40 years. Valeri has been doing sports since he was young, training is always the most important activity of the day and no matters everything else. That tenacity was what caught Irina’s eye. They both live and work in Kohtla-Järve. Valeri is working on the slate mine. In free time he coaches the young generations with karate lessons, while Irina is event manager and also works as an accountant. They can’t stay apart even for two days. On the question about their family secret, they smile and say that they have no time to think about someone else. They are always together and do things they fond of all daylong. 
Kohtla-Järve (Estonia), 2015
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Ljudmila & Leonid
Leonid came to Tallinn from Kaliningrad, where he graduated Institute of Fishing Industry. Ljudmila was born in Tallinn and worked for R&D Institute. She is embraced in tourism. Once she was not taken to a rather difficult hike to Tibet and she was advised to contact Leonid instead, who was preparing a trip to Crimea. That is how they met and since that live together for 40 years. They are avid travelers and collectors. The secret of their family life is the love, the desire to hold for each other, try do not disappoint and avoid conflicts. Ljudmila said that Leonid is the man with great sense of humor, and this means a lot to her. Leonid, considers himself a happy man, referring to the saying - "if you have a bad wife - will be a philosopher, but if you have got a good wife - be happy."
Tallinn (Estonia), 2015

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Maria and Nikolai
Maria and Nikolai live together for 40 years. Maria, or Mai, as she is called by close friends and family, originally from a small village Aakre located in Southern Estonia. Nikolai was born in Russia, Novgorod region. They met in spring time, not far away from Tallinn, where Nikolai got a job. Since then, they are always together. They have lived in different places, but now prefer the small village – they can grow crops and be closer to the nature. In their family life there is everything –fights and making up. When asked about their secret of family life, they smile and say that they are just look in one direction.
Kärevere (Estonia), 2015

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Alina & Igor
Alina and Igor are together already for 28 years. Many years ago Alina came to Kohtla-Järve to visit her friends from Leningrad, where she used to study in the Institute of Health, Physical Culture, and Sports. Igor at that time returned to his hometown Kohtla-Järve from Chernobyl. There, in one of the restaurants, they met. They had a connection through dancing and cross culture communication – Alina is Korean, while Igor is Russian. They think that the secret of a happy family life is a mutual spiritual growth and trust. Being supportive to your partner in his/her choices is also very important. They have opened their own restaurant and the aerobics-club in the city. With a smile saying, that their personal secret of family life “to put correctly the moulding”. That was a definite point in their relationship.
Kohtla-Järve (Estonia), 2015

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Marina and Valeri
Marina and Valeri live together for 33 years. Marina is from a Russian city of Saratov, Valeri is originally from Tallinn. Marina came to visit her aunt in Tallinn, and family friends suggested that Valeri can show her the city. On the 4th day of dating, they decided to get married.  In their family life were a lot of difficulties. But the secret is love. From the first day of dating, they tell each other "I love you." And they believe that important point in family life is to forgive each other's mistakes. It is important to grow up, but not to dominate and be partners in everything. Marina and Valeri consider that every year their love gets stronger. Now they are helping their daughters raise granddaughters.
Tallinn (Estonia), 2015

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Viive and Peep
Viive and Peep met each other at the evening school in Tallinn, they sat at the same desk. They got married in 1971 and since then already 44 years living together. They have three kinds. All life they work so hard to get everything to the family. Peep used to work as a bus driver in Finland for many years, Viive supported him all the time. Viive originally has from small island of Estonia named Hiiumaa, where people are calm, and this helps a lot in family relation. Now both retired, Peep thinking about traveling, Viive on the contrary, wants to stay at home. Even now they are trying to find a compromise of their different interests - a walk together and go to the cinema. The secret of family life, on their point of view, is to work together to find understanding, care, forgive and most important is to talk to each other.
Tallinn (Estonia), 2015

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Galina & Valeri
Galina spent her childhood and adolescence in Buguruslan, near city of Samara, in Russia. Both she and Valeri finished the Politechnical University of Penza, and then they were sent to work to one of the Penza biggest companies, where they worked in the same department. Work, mutual interests, sport,  backpacking trips got them more close and in year 1964 they married. In 1967 a factory named Baltiets invited them to work in Narva, which they accepted and where they still live. They are together for already 51 years. On the question about the secret of family happiness they said that even when there’s love and understanding between partners, these things should be approached seriously and with responsibility. Good example for them was Valeri’s parents who lived together 67 years and Galina’ mother, who stayed loyal to her husband, who was killed in the World War II in 1941 and managed to raise 3 children.
Narva (Estonia), 2015

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Olga & Vladimir
Olga was born in Arkhangelsk. When she was 1 year old, her father, a sea captain, was transferred to another locality - to the Baltic steamship line, and since 1935 her family lives in Leningrad. Olga, her brother and her mother survived the blockade of the city in 1941-42, but many close relatives died by hunger and were buried in common graves of Leningrad city. Olga’s father participated in Polar convoys, and in 1944-45 participated in long-distance freight transportation from the USA to the USSR on Pacific Ocean. These times the family moved to Vladivostok, and at the end of 1945 came back to Leningrad. Olga received a degree of a oceanologist at the State Hydro meteorological Institute, and was sent to Tallinn, where she still lives. Olga worked at Hydro meteorological Centre of Estonia. Vladimir was born Pechora region (Russia). He was lucky to survive during the World War II. After the 8th form of the school he moved to Tallinn to his brother’s place and later graduated the Polytechnic Institute. He met Olga at friends, and they married in 1961. They’ve been together now for 54 years, gave birth to 2 children, and have grandchildren. On the question about secret of family life they say that they are united with their love, children and grandchildren. If there was a fight, you have to make up. Right now they both are retired and are discovering their history and are writing memoirs for the next generations.
Tallinn (Estonia), 2015

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Irina & Voldemar
Irina is originally from Tallinn, Voldemar from Tskyuvashi. Both of them are deaf-and-dumb. Once, in the Soviet times, Voldemar asked his friend, which city is the most beautiful in the USSR. The friend said Tallinn, and Voldemar came to see it. He liked Tallinn and decided to live there. Once, was walking on the street, he notices that a group of deaf-and-dumb people. He approached them and that’s how he met Irina. She had just entered to college in Kuybushev (nowadays Samara). He waited for her 4 years. When she graduated the college and returned, they got married and now together already for 37 years. Nowadays Irina and Voldemar are the owners of a small family business selling haberdashery in Tallinn. Despite some difficulties in communication, they find their work interesting and creative. They travel a lot, read, and have learned Estonian. Voldemar likes gardening, and Irina - paint potties. About family life say that the main thing is understanding and respect for each other. Love helps them to experience difficulty. It is important to cherish these feelings, to understand and to forgive, to compromise. Irina and Voldemar look at the world same way - and this is the secret of their happiness.
Tallinn (Estonia), 2015

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Natalja and Ivan
Ivan is originally from Dnepropetrovsk region, Ukraine and came to Tallinn for holidays. In 1965 was called to army and served in Estonia. Natalja is from Kolyvan, an Estonian village in Altai region of Russia. Her mother is Estonian and father – Russian. Her parents moved to their relatives in Haapsalu, Estonia, in 1966. Natalja says that two years before her dating with Ivan, she already notices a soldier who brought an army general by car and stop near the place where she took the water from the water-pump on the street. They began dating and got married in 1971. On their 30th wedding anniversary they got a gift –their grandson was born. Now their grandson is 14, and they live their family life 44 years. On the questions what is the secret of their family life, they answer that it is love, of course, also respect and ability to listen each other. Natalja says that she has a one soul with her husband, and this is more than love.
Haapsalu (Estonia), 2015

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Olga & Igor
Igor is from a large village in the Tambovskaya oblast in Russia. Olga is from Jõhvi, Estonia. They met on a theatre rehearsal in 1988, later then they had trips in Armenia with stage performance for the habitants of the cities razed by the earthquakes, later they visited Moscow, and then - Europe. Their own group of actors in the theatre, interesting people – all these made them closer. In 1993 they were married in Russian Orthodox Church. During the wedding services they could not even realize if they stand on earth or stand on Eden, they were that excited. Since then their views on family life, life goals, way of making close-nit family have changed, they have started to participate in the congregational life of the Orthodox Church. Family for Olga and Igor means joy and crucibles, it is love bounded by 5 children they are taking care of, as well as their attempt to be closer with what St. Paul had said – “Love is always patient...it does not boast, love is never envious or arrogant with pride, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs... It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails...”
Tallinn (Estonia), 2015

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Larissa and Victor
Larissa and Victor – originally from Tallinn. They met each other in same friends company and after 3 days applied to get married and now together 35 years. From the beginning the relationship built with difficulties, it took a long time to get used to each other, a lot of thing they changed in themselves. Son was born. Most significant role in their relation has played is patient, understanding and desire to keep a family. Parents are never interfered in their relationship, but always support them by giving an advice. They have created their own family and have learned from own mistakes. Now Larissa and Viktor rebuilt they summer house, travel together, also visit relatives at the Chudskoe Lake. Viktor is a fish man, Larissa is a guide, tells tourist about the medieval Tallinn and modern Estonia. They believe, that relationship is a huge and important joint work for each other. The secret of their family live is desire to listen each other, do not shoot from the hip, take a wise decision and, of course, mutual love.
Tallinn (Estonia), 2015

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Kristin and Hillimar
Kristin and Hillimar originally from Tallinn, now are living in old house in Tagadi, it is 25 km from the capital. They met each other accidently, after the famous dance party named Amigo which located in hotel “Viru” in Tallinn. Late in night after dancing Kristin decided to get a snack from kiosk and noticed the interesting guy, who also got a sandwich. After third date Hillimar and Kristin star their family life together. Their relation is not always perfect and sometimes was not so easy. They think, their family happiness is in the following things: to be friends to each other, do not hide secrets from each other and always everything discuss. They raise 3 kinds and already have a granddaughter.
Tagadi (Estonia), 2015

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Heidi & Pekka
Heidi and Pekka are together already 40 years and cannot imagine that they would live without each other. They met accidently in café. Pekka made a proposal to Heidi when she used to go to school. He already worked in that time, always when he drove near by her school, stop in café and waiting for Heidi. Only one person in this situation was not happy, it was his boss. Originally Pekka is from Lahti, religious family. His family moved to Espoo in 1972 where Pekka lives now together with Heidi. Heidi and Pekka got nothing when they married but worked hard and still do. Pekka is a chimney-sweeper and Heidi works as a manager on petrol station. By the time they've got a beautiful house, where Heidi did all design. On the question about their secret of family live Pekka and Heidi said that all the time family keeps contact their children. They have 3 kids, youngest is 17. Pekka is sure that because he trains karate regularly, got third dan black belt ”sandan”, keeps him in good condition and may be it is also one of the reason to stay together with Heidi so long. Heidi and Pekka still like to live together, travel time to time, also have own space and interests. 
Espoo (Finland), 2015

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