When Students Don’t Forget…
In January, 2007, I received a call…
- Mike, it’s me, Timofey.
- Where are you?
- I am at JFK.
- Why didn’t you tell me you were coming? I could’ve met you!
- I’m only passing through New York to do some business in Miami. On my way back, I’ll stop in New York and we will meet up.
- But I am leaving in two days for Germany for a fight. My boxer Jill Emery is fighting for a World Title.
- O.K., I’ll call you when I get to Miami.
Next evening, I met Timofey in the Miami airport. Here I was, meeting a former talented student, Timofey Kurgin, after 13 years.
In 1991, Timofey was the silver medalist of the Russian Junior Olympics National Championship. But he eventually left boxing to be a businessman.
I spent a quick night in Miami catching up with Timofey before heading back to New York City in the early morning to fly to Germany for the fight.
- Mike, when will you visit Russia?
- Timofey, I can’t afford right now.
- Mike, I remember a time when I lived in your house and you taught me to clean potatoes. This is my email, send me your bank account number. You have to return to Moscow to see your mother, your daughter, my mother, Gennady, and all your other friends and boxers.
September, 2007 After more than 12 years, I find myself in Moscow again. My daughter Valeria and I were chauffeured from the Sheremetyevo Airport to the hotel.
Valeria was born in Moscow in February 10, 1994. She left Russia when she was 1 year old. For her, Moscow and Russia is a different world. Her first language is English, even though she speaks Russian.
I saw Moscow has changed a lot over the years. On one hand it is still the capital of the Soviet Union that I remember from when I lived there. But in other ways, it has become much more western.
I always argue with Americans many of whom have university degree about WWII. They are sure the Americans won the war. The Russians won it. There were only around 44,000 American casualties versus 20 million Russians.
Eteri Kurgin is my ideal woman. She is smart, beautiful, aristocratic and a loving mother. She raised three children alone.
Natalie was born the same year as my daughter Yana. Many years ago, Gennady and I took them from Kindergarten to the park and played with them like good fathers.