Discovering Connections to my Homeland at California State University San Marcos

My name is Victoria, I was born twenty-one years ago in the Republic of Tuva, a remote native community in Russia. And twenty-five years ago, in Sweden, Tuva Liisa Victoria was born. Fate has brought us together in San Marcos, California. I didn’t believe in fate before, but after our meeting, I know that everything is not a coincidence in the world. All people on this planet are interconnected and their fates are often intertwined into the most unpredictable threads, which are sometimes tangled, lost, but never torn. Despite the distances, time and circumstances, fate, sooner or later, binds connected people in a fabulous way.

Tuva’s Great Grandmother

It was on the second day of orientation week for international students at California State University – San Marcos. During the roll call of all students, I suddenly heard the name of my home republic. My heart fluttered, because I was on another continent, thousands of miles from my hometown. “How is this possible?” I thought. Looking behind me, I saw a joyous, bright girl with red hair. She raised her hand, and only then I realized that her name sounds similar to the name of my republic. But I still did not believe it, and I thought I heard something wrong. After that, I nearly forgot about this interesting case until I coincidentally met her at lunch. We started talking, and she shared an unbelievable story that I could not believe for a long time.

Many years ago, an invisible thread connected a Russian girl from the Republic of Tuva and a Swedish man. The beautiful and strong love that arose between young people grew into a strong inter-ethnic family. They moved to Sweden, and two children were born. They created a wonderful and loving family. It was the great-grandparents of Tuva Liisa Victoria. Her great-grandmother was my compatriot. Unfortunately, she passed away at a young age, but her life is continuing in her great-granddaughter, who is named after my republic and her homeland.

Victoria (left) and Tuva

Now, Tuva and I are so close, we like to say that we are almost relatives. It is true, because we have a strong spiritual connection. Another interesting fact is that her full name includes the name of my republic and my name, given to me by my father. I feel like my homeland and I are reunited together in her name. I am the one international student from Russia, and as it turned out, I am exactly from Tuva. I don’t know how it is possible, because Russia is so huge and anyone could be in my place. I am so grateful to my exchange program for this great opportunity to study in the U.S., and for choosing  my host university.  If I hadn’t become the finalist of the Global UGRAD Program, I would never have met Tuva and never known that there is a person who bears the name of my republic.

I think we were destined to meet each other. Tuva Liisa Victoria has a dream to visit Tuva, and I believe that it will come true soon, because I also have a new dream – to show Tuva her great-grandmother’s homeland.

By Victoria Dorzhu, 2019 Global UGRAD from Russia at California State University – San Marcos