In order to get to St. Petersburg, a Londoner has to travel a distance less than, for example, a tourist from Irkutsk. When foreigners hear from a Russian fan "my hometown is only 1,300 km away, it's not far", their eyes, in which misunderstanding and admiration can be read, pop out. Anna and her friends are dressed in the colors of the Russian flag, and the answer to the question "Where are you from?" sounds unexpected.
- I am from Miami. This is my first trip to Russia! I wanted to come here a long time ago, my family told me a lot about the country. I'm very happy to be here! The city is very beautiful! I like that there is a lot of water here, and people..! People are kind, openhearted. One cannot find that in America, even though there live about two hundred thousand Russians, and that's a lot! I like it here; it's the “warmth” of this country!
- And how did it turn out that you live in Miami?
- I've been living there for seventeen years. I have Russian roots, my mother and father moved to the States when I was still a child. My grandmother said to me from childhood: "How will we communicate with you, if you forget Russian?" I took it to heart, did not forget the language, practiced it on Saturdays and Sundays, and went to the Russian school. Although English is my first language, I consider myself Russian. In our family, we speak Russian with each other, and all traditions are preserved.
- You did not mention the cuisine. They say that some products simply do not come overseas.
- There is nothing tastier than Russian cuisine! Mom always cooks Russian dishes, they have known me since childhood. And in Miami there are shops with Russian products. In the American cuisine there are a lot of excessively fatty dishes, I do not really like it. Therefore, it is with great pleasure that I go to restaurants and cafes here.
- One of the legendary footballers who came to the FIFA Fan Festival™ in St. Petersburg said that he fell in love with our restaurants so much, that he did not have time to see the city and plans another visit.
- My cousin takes me to all the sights. For three days, we managed to visit several museums, to swim on the boat through the canals. My sister is Russian - she and her parents have been waiting for me for a long time. One of the days, we decided to devote to football, and I really like it here on the Konyushennaya Square: we are here only half an hour, and already there are so many positive emotions! By the way, for these three days, I met only one fan from the United States, and he also came from Miami! I managed to get to know the fans from Argentina, Brazil and Portugal - there are a lot of them!
- According to the statistics, there are a lot of Americans in the tournament. However, we also have not seen many people with a star-and-striped flags.
- To be honest, there is a slight oppression there. Perhaps tourists mirror their attitude. In the States, I do not talk about my roots, because in the US children from the primary classes are imposed a false story, in which Russia is represented not in the most favorable way. I was once in a history lesson, and I was very sorry for Russia, for the fact that the truth is distorted. My grandparents are blockade people, they still live in St. Petersburg, and I'm glad that I can hear the truth from them. I am proud of the history of Russia and I am happy to be here, and to see the true picture with my own eyes. It's a wonderful country, and although I'm far away, my heart belongs to the Russian people.