I’ve called Reno home since I was a child, though I’ve been a wanderer since essentially birth. Born in Las Vegas – the other, much hotter part of the state – I grew up with a Russian immigrant father that was “fresh off the boat,” and a French/Irish mother from Massachusetts – both of whom worked for United Airlines, so my earliest memories were of airports, planes and a wide variety of locales. As a native Nevadan, I always remember asking my mother while in Boston’s Logan International Airport why there were no slot machines…she chuckled. It was my first impression of how ingrained our gaming culture is for us here in Nevada.
In Reno, however, there is a much broader spectrum of culture beyond the resounding slot machine cacophony…unbeknownst to many, even those that reside here. This is a community filled with a rich tapestry of talents and cultures, comprised of a fabric of entrepreneurs, immigrants, intellectuals, artists and rebels. All stitched together with the string of rivers, highways, dirt roads, train tracks and runways leading us to the amazing surroundings encompassing us, and experiences awaiting us within our own city limits.
Little would anyone expect, but there is a stellar International Relations program at the University of Nevada, Reno, a degree in which I achieved in the year 2000, intending to leave the “confines” of this small town to become a world-traveling diplomat for the United Nations. In Reno, I pursued my passion for languages and cultures with those that knew what I hadn’t opened my eyes to yet: that the quality of life in Reno even appealed to people that I considered worldly – professors, diplomats and dignitaries who I worked with while pursuing my degree that resided in or passed through, intrigued with what the Biggest Little City had to offer.
I pursued my U.N. goal, before deciding that A) there was far too much discourse versus action for my hyperactive, results-driven self in the U.N. diplomacy field and B) that the Biggest Little City was evolving in a positive direction that I found interesting. So I went into media, events and ultimately public relations, all of which my diplomacy training has definitely come in handy with. But traveling has honed my patience with, understanding and appreciation for those that may not be of like mind or similar culture, and a fondness for for the individual quirks of people, which Reno seems to bring out so well somehow.
I’ve lived and studied in Montreal, traveled the world, explored and immersed myself in a multitude of cultures and languages….and returned here to little ol’ Reno, where there’s an airport ready to take me anywhere across the globe I may be eager to explore; outdoors that inspire me daily, and can be escaped to within minutes; friends and family who pride themselves on being friendly, helpful and supportive; and a community willing to band together at a moments notice. And THAT is why I still call Reno home.