Thursday, April 10, 2014

Back to Work - Learning Life

Upon returning to the states, I had an overwhelming media schedule from newspaper reports, to radio interviews, television appearances, speaking engagements, but most of all, I had to catch up on all the lessons that I missed while in Russia.  As I write this (February of 2015), reflecting on the events of 2014, I can't help but also mention all that I missed writing about in 2013.

Partly due to my own insecurities, it was a difficult two years to be a public person.  I dealt with severe depression, divorce, the rather violent death of a friend, coming out of the closet (while afraid to be "out" in Russia - a notoriously horrible location for LGBT folk), and several rounds of discriminatory actions against me that left me quite helpless to address.   All the while, I had a crazy international performance schedule, trips to the Emmy's and Grammy's, being offered a professorship (at the age of 27!), the Olympic experience, and other surprises like being named Distinguished Kansan of the Year last year by the Topeka Capital Journal.  It was a strange time to describe and live, and I was terrified of dealing with some of these issues in the public light.  It was impossible to avoid being a public person.

So, having settled into a "new normal"  I want to take you through some of the moments that have dotted the last few months.

These balloons greeted me upon my arrival back at K-State on my office door - "Welcome Home Dr. Pinkall"
My new boyfriend Patrick and I visit the Varsity Donut food truck in Manhattan, KS (a foodie's dream!)
Patrick and I take little vacations nearly every week.  Here we are at the top of the Liberty Memorial at the National World War I Museum overlooking Kansas City.
A visit to Kansas City's Union Station
My rather successful attempt at making my Volga German family's favorite dessert - Kuchen - pronounced by them as "Kooguh"
An hilarious hate mail letter sent to me from a pro-Russian person obviously angry that I commented on my poor treatment while in Sochi
A day in the park in Kansas City
On a trip to Western Kansas to teach a masterclass, I stopped in Victoria, KS at the Basilica of the Plains
A purple evening sky in Spring overlooking Anderson Hall at K-State

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