Hello. My name is Irina Markova, I live in Chelyabinsk, near to Siberia, in Russia. Chelyabinsk has a name of informal capital of South Ural. I have two remarkable sons -- Ilya, 22, and Vsevolod (Seva), 17. Our family has many friends.

And in 1999 we had friends in the United States of America. Ilia was the finalist of the Program " Leaders of the Future " (FLEX -- Future Leaders Exchange) and lived and studied in the USA (in Oregon) during the whole year. We till now maintain kind relations with Ilia's hosting family.

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And in 2005 my younger son Seva was finalist FLEX too. In Hudson, Wisconsin, lives tremendous Burman's family -- Darrell, Nancy, Sarah, David and John. For the whole year these people became real family for my son. Nancy and Darrell thought about his health and study, feed and clothes, entertainments and a financial solvency. Far unfamiliar Americans cared of my son as the native parents! Certainly, I worried - what he feels in the another country? What is his health? What is his mood? We exchanged letters with American family - I have written more than 50! Nancy answered often - she told about my favorite son in details.

This kindhearted women gave Seva musical lessons, visited parental assemblies at school. All his teachers liked him. Nancy was going to ask his teachers for letters of recommendation on how he performed in each class. Certainly, Nancy understood, how strongly I missed on my son. Seva has made friends with Sarah, David, John and many other American teenagers. My son has learned customs and traditions of your country -- he took part in holidays, acted together with chorus, visited concerts and representations, made travel with family.

Seva was with church group (these were all high school students with adult advisors). Seva's trip had taken him to Gulfport, Mississippi to do construction and clean-up work from the Hurricane Katrina (that struck last year, and there was still much wreckage and disaster to clean up from). And recently we have received by mail a school album.

Some evenings we considered its all together -- behind windows was darkly and frosty, and our family in Russia learned the American teenagers: Seva told us about American children. As all children in any country, they love sports, long for bad estimations, cartoon films look, take a great interest in music, draw.

I am very grateful to Burman's family! These remarkable people gave my son their love, emotions and times. He was feeling comfortable in your country. I have invited them on a visit and I am assured, we shall meet soon! Thanks all Americans who was with Seva: to adults and children! Excuse my English, please. I hesitated very much of my mistakes earlier. Now I think it is better to write how I can, than not write in general. With the big love.

Irina Markova, Chelyabinsk, Russia