Friday, May 13, 2016

From Russia To Tokyo To Canberra: The Khorosho Journey Of Andriy Shamalov

Vladimir Putin, Ekaterina Verniyeva and Verka Serduchka, the great-granduncle (father's side), mother and great-granduncle (mother's side) of Leafa recruit Andriy "Addo" Shamalov

From Russia To Tokyo To Canberra: The Khorosho Journey Of Andriy Shamalov

By Reiko Arisugawa-Bell
The Spirit News
November 9, 2077

At age 16, Andriy Verniyevich Shamalov is the son of Ekaterina Verniyeva, a restauranteur and former officer of the Russian Navy, and Gregoriy Shamalov, the youngest grandson of the late Rossiya Bank owner Nikolay Shamalov. Andriy, who prefers to play as a running back or receiver, worked at Furukawa Bread as an artisan baker and accountant when he was in junior high school and learned the skills of finance and accounting at a very young age. In 2074, he and his mother chose to leave Furukawa Bread and emigrate to Australia to reunite with his father, who ran a small business serving Russian and Ukrainian cuisine.

Ekaterina, who goes by Katya or her nickname "Verniy" and whose Japanese name is "Hibiki", is a grandniece of the late Ukrainian entertainer Andriy Danylko, a.k.a. Verka Serduchka, of which Andriy is named after. As for the Leafa recruit himself, he is fluent in English, Japanese, Korean, Russian and Ukrainian and is a talented singer that has a voice similar to his great-granduncle on his mother's side. Thus, he has Japanese, Russian, and Ukrainian heritage but he is especially close to his mother because, as he will tell you, he was spoiled by.

"I'm blessed to be the descendant of a Russian president/prime minister and a brash crossdressing entertainer and comedian and the son of a shipgirl, according to my mom," said Andriy, who prefers to be called Addo in accordance with Australian sports nickname convention. "But since the Community Party is back in charge over in Russia, I sometimes put where I was born in the back of my mind.

"I was born in Saint Petersburg, the same place where my parents married and also where my great-granduncle on my father's side was born. At age four, after my mother retired from the military, we moved to Japan where I learned to work in a small business selling bread, curry and other Japanese specialties. At age 10, my father moved to Australia so that he could start up a business. He earned a job in Tuggeranong serving Russian and Ukrainian cuisine and on weekend, customers queud up for a buffet that included dressed herring, stroganoff, pirozhki, pirogies, and self-serving pots of borscht, as well as the customary meat pies and other Australia delicacies.

"But as the years passed, my mother started to be bored of working at Furukawa Bread so three years ago, we immigrated here so that were were reunited with my father. I decided to take up a sport and play gridiron because I liked the dynamics of the game. I told Mom that I wanted to play on offence and be like Jerry Rice. I watched the Leafa College games with my mom at Pleiades in my first year of applying for citizenship, and my mom liked the action. I clasped her hand and said, 'This could be me. This will be me.'

"She agreed to it, but she told me to focus on my classes and do well on my exams. When I decided to enroll at Leafa, I want to play as a receiver or halfback but I if I end up trying a different position, I will do it because I want to be versatile. I'm 6'0", 200 lbs, I can diversify my skills, I like running the option, the most pure element of offense.

"I'm competing with other people to earn a spot on the team next recruiting class, but Leafa is a very prestigious school. It's similar to Stanford in the States. Competitive, high-performing students come here, and the distance learning programs means there are students of the system on every continent. However, Leafa is exclusiv to Oceania-based students, so now that I am wrapping up my citizenship process, I can get the wheels in motion. At Leafa, I plan to major in finance and accounting and also have an option to go for an MBA if my professional playing career is not to be.

"As my mother tells me, 'You need a plan if you want to survive, and you need a plan in order to live. When you know what you want to do, you can be ready for anything.' I am ready to give everything I have to make everyone I love proud, especially my mom. My favorite phrase comes from her: Жизнь хорошо. Life is wonderful."