I sat at Illy Café at the corner of New Hampshire Avenue and M Street sipping a double espresso. To my right sat a girl who seemed to also be writing in a journal of sorts. The last time I saw someone writing in a journal we got to meet Roey…maybe this would turn into a recipient 273.
I asked her to accept my $10. She did and asked to take a few minutes to talk to her for the blog post. Coincidentally she was waiting for someone that she was going to interview!
I am usually pretty good a detecting accents and determining where people are from, but I had no idea about Elina. First let me say that she speaks incredible English. Occasionally I would hear a slight accent that would make me think Eastern European. But just when I would think that was it, I would detect an ever so slight southern twang! I give up!
So it turns out that she was born in Russia but grew up in the small town of Minden, Germany which is about 25 miles west of Hanover. Her flawless English is probably partly due to her time in the US as an au pair and a year that she spent studying in Virginia on a scholarship. “It completely changed my life.” These days she lives in Regensburg, Germany. “People kind of know who I am there because I was voted “party queen of Regensburg” on StudiVZ, a German social networking site similar to Facebook.
So I discover that she is in DC for about two months doing research for her undergrad thesis paper that studies society’s perception of soccer in Washington, DC. “So I am actually interviewing people for my research,” she explained. “I’m actually waiting for the President of a fan group for DC United.”
The $10 will come in handy Elina tells me. “I’ve been refusing to add more minutes to my American cell phone since I’m leaving next week. I’m down to just $5 now and this will hopefully get me through these final days.” She actually says that unlike most other 23-year-olds she hates having a cell phone. “I didn’t have one until I started my studies.”
Just then a guy approached our table and she asked, “Are you Paul?” Her interview subject had arrived.
Paul is one of the leaders of the Screaming Eagles, a 1,100 member fan community for DC’s professional soccer club. All three of us chatted for a while about random topics. I didn’t want to impose on the time Elina had set up to meet with Paul so I said goodbye to both of them and excused myself.