02/01/2012 - By Gayle M. Irwin
(click for larger version)
Imagine being a brand new bride and living not only many thousands of miles from home, but also not speaking the language of your new residence.
Such a bride was Anastasia Carothers when she came to Casper from Russia. More than seven years later, she is a wife, mother and small businesswoman who speaks English well, visits her homeland once a year or every other year, and enjoys the natural beauty around her.
Anastasia and Michael Carothers married on September 10, 2004 after meeting the year previous. Anastasia said she did not speak English, and that, for quite sometime, she used a dictionary to help learn the language.
"It was hard," she admitted.
Otherwise, adjusting to a new life far from home was not very difficult for her. Her home community was much larger than Casper, and she likes the smaller town.
"It's good – I like it here. I have lots of friends, and they help you feel at home. Casper is very similar (in climate) to where I lived in Russia. It has snow and cold, but it's at sea level, so it can feel really cold!" she said.
The natural beauty of Wyoming, the mountains, blue sky, sun, and wildlife, strongly appeal to Anastasia as well as to her children. Danila, age 9, moved with his mother to Wyoming from Russia; his sister Sofiya was born three years ago. The family enjoys traveling and visits regional areas such as Yellowstone, Thermopolis, and Deadwood in addition to their travels to Russia. They also like to visit "haunted" hotels, such as the Stanley in Estes Park, Colorado.
Danila is a fourth-grader at Verda James Elementary. He enjoys learning about computers and likes snowboarding and sledding in winter and bike riding and rollerblading during warmer weather. Eating Russian food and visiting his grandma in his native country are two other things Danila enjoys. He also likes swimming. Both he and his sister take dance classes. Danila participates in Hip Hop, and Sofiya takes ballet classes. Both children speak English and Russian, and Michael knows "a few words" of Russian, said Anastasia.
Both she and her husband are business owners. Michael owns and operates Wyoming Safe and Lock; he has been a locksmith for many years. Like her husband, Anastasia learned her craft, which is sewing, several years ago. She owns A Perfect Fit and works as a seamstress on both large and small projects.
"I do alterations and I sew buttons," she said with a smile.
People who need a seamstress are welcome to contact Anastasia at 258-9632.
In addition to her family and her business, Anastasia spends time with friends she has come to know through church (she attends the Greek Orthodox Church), through her husband, through her business and other associations. Many of those friends are also from Russia.
"There's a large Russian community in Casper," Anastasia said.
They spend time sharing tea, memories, food, and family. They often speak in their native language and teach their children their heritage and culture.
Anastasia also enjoys gardening. She raises flowers as well as vegetables. She likes to cook, especially foods from Russia, which she shares with family and friends. Her children like to sample the fresh produce while its still in the garden, she said.
The family also enjoys watching movies, but television is not part of their lifestyle.
"I think there's too much junk on TV," Anastasia stated. "We're a little old-fashioned, I guess you'd say."
Casper is a great place to raise children, Anastasia believes, with the ability to share nature with family. Her mother has visited a few times, and the family took her to Yellowstone and to Casper Mountain.
"She wanted to see a waterfall," Anastasia explained.
"We enjoy the outdoors, mountains, animals; the kids like to play outdoors," she added. "It's pretty here (around Casper), and I like the smaller town – it's really good for kids," she said.