Lydia is from Russia, and she grew up in a small town called ‘Rostovo don’, which is known as the capital of South Russia., about 1000km from Moscow. She says the weather is extreme, in summer it is over 40 degrees, and in winter, it is minus 20. Lydia says Russians are very much connected to their homes, they hardly ever move home. Where she grew up, Lydia’s family had been in the same place for 3 generations. It was very out of the ordinary for them to leave their home town, let alone to travel and end up on Norfolk Island.
Up until the mid-nineties, Lydia grew up in the Communist regime, but her sister who is 11 years younger grew up after Capitalism had taken over. During Lydia’s childhood, there was hardly any crime, students at schools wore uniforms and there was more discipline than there is now. When her sister started school, there were no uniforms or respect for teachers. Lydia was about 15 years old when things started to change and she saw a lot of people start to leave Russia as they didn’t like the new ideas and different ways of life.
When Lydia went to school, almost everything was free, including education and housing. Flats or houses were given by the government to people who had worked a certain job for a long time. Once they finished working, the government took back the house or flat. Cars and personal effects were probably the only thing that people personally owned, though cars were often shared with 20 or so others. Lydia went to university in Russia and now has a PhD in Psychology. She was interested in Engineering Psychology, that is to be able to arrange equipment in military planes were the brain perceives them to be, though she wasn’t able to pursue this as the only professor doing this passed away just before she was to begin the course.
Lydia married her husband Alex in Russia 16 years ago. Lydia was living in Russia and decided to go and see Australia and New Zealand. Lydia’s Mum had moved to Norfolk a year before, so she had heard lovely things about it. Since arriving on Norfolk, Lydia has been working for the Irvine’s Group. They have now been here for 12 years.
Lydia was accustomed to city living, living in an apartment and not knowing their neighbor who lived 10 metres away! Where Lydia is from, she was used to the dry dusty atmosphere, and she was a bad asthmatic. Since being on Norfolk, her asthma has gone. This is testament to the clean living and fresh air that the island is renowned for.
She was surprised how everyone is so multi-skilled on Norfolk, often your receptionist is also the accountant. One day she was driving past a sign which said “open house”, she wasn’t in the market to buy a house. Once inside the house she just reached to turn a light switch on and the switch was just where she thought it should be it seemed like fate, but as she hadn’t planned on staying on Norfolk. Lydia asked if they could rent it, the owners said they wanted to sell, so Lydia and Alex jumped in “boots and all” and bought their very first home on Norfolk.
Lydia loves her home town in Russia as it gave her so much, though she is very happy to call Norfolk her home now as this is where she has grown her family.