United States of America LH

Russian Federation RH


In the canola with her "Russian Prince"


Arlen & Ronna's first contact with Marina Dobrydina was an email from Siberia the end of June, 2003 informing us that her best friend, Katya, was on her way to the Pleasant Acres Ranch.  They didn't think the email sent by Katya letting us know she was coming had got through, and they were right.  In the correspondence that followed with Marina, she informed us that she had also hoped to come to the USA to work at a camp using the International CCUSA (Camp Counselors USA) program, but that the program was filled.  It wasn't until a few weeks later, after Katya had arrived that we found out Marina was in Missouri working at a camp that specialized in special needs campers.  It seems that a couple of the counselors from Germany decided that working with special needs campers was not what they had envisioned, and they had returned home to Germany leaving a couple vacancies.  Marina was notified of the openings, and the short version of a long story is that she ended up working in a special needs camp close to St. Louis, MO.  The camp ended by the middle of August, and had she known us better at that time she could have come up to the Pleasant Acres Ranch to visit and stay with Katya for 6 weeks or so before returning to Kurgan.  It was not until the following spring that we met her in person when we visited Katya's home in Kurgan.  We had Katya (Kate) Postavolova, also from Kurgan, lined up to work for us that summer (2004), and the camp in Missouri wanted Marina to come back there to work which she did.  This time when she was finished with her camp duties, we (Arlen, Ronna, and Kate) drove to St. Louis and brought her back to visit for a couple months before she returned to Russia.  She was able to get into the Work & Travel USA program the following year (2005), so she came to work for us that summer.  Most of the following photo-journal is about working for us in 2005, although it begins showing her family at home in Kurgan.


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Marina with her mom and dad, Nikolai and Nina


Marina holding Daisy....Mom Nina and sister Masha




Next are pictures showing the visit at the Pleasant Acres Ranch after working at the camp during the summer of 2004.

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A litter of lab puppies was born at the same time Marina arrived from her camp near St. Louis, and she and Kate had a great time with them



They are about 4 weeks old plays with Snickers, one chews on Marina's toes, one in her arms, and one gives her a kiss


Marina and Kate, also from Kurgan, Russia, posing with Ronna on a hill overlooking the Medora Musical stage which is in an outdoor amphitheatre



Modeling her Deepwater Bay B&B coat






 Ronna has taught all three girls from Russia how to wheat Marina shows plaited hearts that she will take home as gifts to her family


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Marina & Arlen sitting by the monument of the Geographical Center of North America located in Rugby, North Dakota



Kate, Ronna, and Marina at the International Peace Gardens located north of Rugby on the Canadian border which commemorates the peace that has existed between the USA and Canada since their existence 

Kate and Marina at the west end of the was late in the year and many of the beautiful gardens were not blooming anymore



On the USA side of the Peace Gardens, Marina stands by a memorial of the 9-11 terrorist  attack which displayed some of the ruined steel beams from the twin towers that fell

Marina and Kate standing by the combine in a newly harvested canola field



Another surprise birthday party for Ronnishka in September....this time originated by Marina and Kate


Marina rolling out a thin slice of lefse ....there is one baking on the lefse griddle in front of her



Lefse is a Norwegian "tortilla" made of mashed potatoes, cream, and wheat flour....Marina is using a "lefse" stick to place it on the griddle


The stick is also used to turn it over to cook both sides and then move it to the cooling stack......put a little butter and brown sugar on it and roll it up..mmmmm...finger food



Ronna is chopping jalapeno peppers which will go in the many gallons of salsa she and Marina will make and preserve


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 End of October, 2004....Goodbye my little Prince....Time to go back to Kurgan for school





This last section is a photo-journal of Marina's summer working for Deepwater Bay Bed & Breakfast at the Pleasant Acres Ranch in 2005.


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Early June, 2005, a tearful reunion at the Minneapolis airport...back for the whole summer to work through the "Work & Travel USA" international student program


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Little number "307" needed a bottle of milk morning and night as her mother would not allow her to nurse when she was alone with the calf



Marina learned to not only feed the calf by herself, but how to put the cow in the holding pen so the calf could nurse some by herself


She brought her dad's love for machinery with her, and she could run anything



She passed her North Dakota driver's test and even drove the semi tractor trailer rig in the field when we hauled bales, as well as the tractor pulling the grain cart unloading the combine on the run during harvest

We did get to fish for a few walleyes she is steering the boat...Ronnishka is the one who catches most of the fish for some reason



Marina with Lucky (her Russian Prince) and Ronna with Lucky's mom, Snickers



An evening at the White Shield Powwow which is 20 miles from home....this picture is with a "Fancy Dancer" competitor from Wyoming who stayed at our B&B



Back again to the Badlands by Medora and the Medora Musical....wearing a western outfit of Ronnishka's that is now in Siberia as it fit her perfectly







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The garden is producing at its peak, and here Marina is snapping beans that will be canned in a pressure cooker



The beans are snapped, and there is sink full being washed before packing the jars


Cucumbers are waiting to be made into bread and butter pickles....the smaller ones into dill pickles



Marina, mounted up and ready to ride at the ranch of our favorite horsewomen, Marion Pierce, who is tying extra provisions onto her saddle


Marina, Marion, and Ronna ready to head out for a trail ride



Rubbing down her mount after the ride

Looks like she found the T-shirt that Kate left last summer...baking day in spades....2 pans of cinnamon rolls, loaves of bread, buns, and cookies ready to go in the oven next


Arlen who was a director on the National Farm Credit Council had a meeting in Washington D.C. the first week of August, so Ronna and Marina had the opportunity to go along and tour the nation's capitol, while Arlen attended the meetings.

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Arlen, Ronna, and Marina were able to tour together one day....the White House in the background



Marina trying out a seat in an old West stage coach at one of the Smithsonian buildings


The U.S. Postal Museum was very interesting



These worn out looking jeans with the holes were over $150 at a trendy store in Union Station...."I think we're going to be rich Ronna...let's go home and clean out the closet"...maybe run  them through the combine (grain harvester) a couple times to make some $300 jeans


August is miserably hot in D.C. and most of the lawmakers are in their home states....Marina joined other tourists soaking her feet in the "Tidal Basin"??



Marina and Ronna used the Metro to get they are at Arlington Cemetery


At the museum of natural history which is part of the Smithsonian....just before she took a big bite out of a prehistoric animal bone



We visited all the ND congressional offices....all the Congressmen were out of town, so Arlen took over Senator Dorgan's chair for a while at the invitation of his aide


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September 2005...Goodbye again my little Prince

After the Washington D.C. trip came wheat harvest and hay hauling which Marina had a large part in helping with.  Unfortunately, Marina could not stay to help with the fall hunting season, as she had stayed an extra month after her school had started the year before.  She thought she better not miss any of her last and fifth year at Kurgan University where she would complete an environmental engineering degree in June, 2006.  The last week of September found us at the airport in Minneapolis where Marina would leave for the other side of the world again where she would soon be reunited with her loved ones there.

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THE END of another chapter in the experience of a lifetime for all involved.  Lots of people have been impacted by the single email from the other side of the world that Marina's best friend, Katya, sent to Arlen & Ronna in the spring of 2003. 

Da Svi Danya







There is something about the Pleasant Acres Ranch and Deepwater Bay B&B.  The place is so beautiful and peaceful it makes you want to come back again and again (that is what I actually did the past couple summers)!!!!  Working at Deepwater Bay gave me more perspectives about life.  I experienced something I never would have somewhere else, and I learned so many new things that I like to do now.

I really enjoyed the Summers of 2004 and 2005~~~~enjoyed watching fields changing their colors, enjoyed golden waves of the wheat in the wind, enjoyed double rainbows, enjoyed beautiful Sunrises and Sunsets, enjoyed Northern Lights~~~~and most of all enjoyed being around Arlen and Ronna, as they are an amazing couple, great friends and just parents number two to me!!!!

 Thank you for the wonderful Summers!! I love you very much!!!


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