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Where are you from?
Karr-Balta, Kyrgyzstan
How did you end up coming to Fluvanna?
It wasn’t my choice. We have this program in my country and they have tours for us. We have to do exams for English and stuff. Then they choose certain people who qualify for that and then we just wait for someone from America, there’s a special site for exchange students and American host families choose them. I was just at home waiting and then I found out I would be here at Virginia, Fluvanna.
What are three things that surprised you about America?
Umm, a lot of people don’t walk. Like, all the time they’re driving. I’m not used to that. I’m used to walking in my country. And air conditioners are everywhere. They’re everywhere, even in the school. The third thing, I think everything is big. Like the stores and also when you go to a restaurant and you order something and there is a big plate. It’s a lot, I never eat so much.
What is your favorite thing about America?
I think everything. The whole country.
Do you have a least favorite thing?
Fast food, a lot of fast food.
What is your favorite American food?
Mac and cheese.
What do you do in your free time?
Homework and sometimes hanging out with friends.
What other languages do you speak?
I speak Russian, then our national language Kyrgyz, and I learned French here, and English.
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Photo by Christina Dimeo GusemanWhere do you live?
Lake Monticello.
How long have you lived in Fluvanna? What brought you here?
I’ve lived here for 21 years. Before I moved here I was living in Charlottesville. I found I wanted to get out of the city and find a better place to live the rest of my life. Lake Monticello was a place to settle in for real.
Tell us about your work.
I retired in 2000 after 32 years at the University of Virginia. For 10 or 12 of those years I worked in the office of the dean of arts and sciences. Then I was the assistant to the dean of continuing education. After that I worked in the Rotunda as the secretary of the vice president of development, who is the fundraiser for the university.
Tell us about your family.
I’m so proud of my two sons, two daughters-in-law, five grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren. One of my sons lives in the Lake and the other is about 20 miles south of Charlottesville. We get together a lot for family birthdays and special holidays. I stay in close touch with both of my sons, who mean everything in the world to me. It’s been such a wonderful blessing for me to have lived long enough to see my sons become grandparents. And then, just to put the cherry on top, to live long enough to see my grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
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Photo by Christina Dimeo Guseman

Where do you live?
Lake Monticello
How long have you lived in Fluvanna? What brought you here?
I’ve lived in Fluvanna since 1996. We moved here after I retired from the U.S. Navy after 24 years of service. My wife Jeanne wanted to finish her education and worked hard to earn her CPA at the University of Virginia.
Tell us about your work.
I own Mailbox Express, a store located in the shopping center across from Food Lion. We offer a full menu of products and services for shipping and mailing, plus business services.
I opened the store in June 2005. I really desired to work and serve people, instead of being served. We do shipping and packing, copies, notary services, printing, large format copying with canvas, bulletins, banners, school pictures, calendars, and all the post office services also.
Tell us about your family.
Jeanne and I have two children: Hannah, age 14, and Abigail, age 12. My daughters are homeschooled, competitive swimmers, and soccer players. I’m just so proud of them. Jeanne is an accountant for the YMCA in Charlottesville, and a homeschool mom, business advisor, and co-owner of Mailbox Express.
Tell us about a hobby you have.
I used to do custom woodwork, like cabinets and tables. I do it as a hobby now, not for business. I love fishing. I love my local rivers – the Rivanna, the James. I want to get down other rivers over on the other side of the mountain too. I’ve dreamed about going down those rivers. We love camping; my family is a bunch of campers. We enjoy our state parks.
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Ruthann Carr with her grandson Ben Robinson - courtesy of Ruthann Carr.

Where do you live?
Not far from the town of Palmyra on Shiloh Church Road.
How long have you lived in Fluvanna? What brought you here?
I’ve lived in Fluvanna since I married Jeff Carr in July 2008. He and a job with Region Ten Community Services Board as the public affairs coordinator brought me here.
Tell us about your work.
I identify as a journalist (mainly because I’m insanely curious, people fascinate me and I love to write). However, I haven’t written for a publication since May 2014. That’s when I stopped working as a correspondent for the Fluvanna Review and accepted a job as the community outreach coordinator for Culpeper’s Services to Abused Families (SAFE). For several years before working for the Review, I wrote for daily newspapers in the Midwest covering cops and courts. At SAFE I answer helpline calls, do educational presentations about domestic and sexual violence, train and manage agency volunteers, and represent SAFE on several committees throughout Culpeper, Orange, Madison, Fauquier and Rappahannock counties.
Tell us about your family.
Do I have to? Oh, all right. I mentioned my husband Jeff, who is a substance abuse counselor in Charlottesville. I’m the wicked stepmother to his two teenage daughters. I was married to my first husband for nearly 30 years and together we raised our two sons and daughter in Akron, Ohio, where I was born and raised. My oldest son lives in Albemarle County. My daughter and youngest son are still in Akron. My daughter is mother to my eight-year-old grandson. My youngest son is father to my two-year-old grandson.
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Where do you live?
We live between Fork Union and Palmyra in the Carysbrook community.
How long have you lived in Fluvanna? What brought you here?
I actually grew up in Buckingham, but went to school in Fluvanna. I was able to attend Fluvanna schools because my dad worked in the Fluvanna school system. I graduated from FCHS in 1984, and left for college and work. I opted to reorient my corporate career path in 2001, and convinced my wife to relocate here. We had a vision for renovating an old family farmhouse that belonged to my grandparents. After we started working on the old farmhouse we realized the termite and water damage was extensive, and we decided to tear it down and start over. We kept many of the items from the farmhouse, like heart pine flooring, large timbers, and old brick, and used them when we built our new home. The location of the old house makes a great front yard with several large oak trees.
Tell us about your work.
I am an area supervisor with MWV (MeadWestvaco Corp.), working in Virginia and North Carolina. I supervise a group of foresters that purchase wood fiber for a paper mill, two chipping plants, and three power stations. We work with loggers, landowners, and sawmills to supply these facilities. It is a very professionally rewarding occupation, especially when you can work with good people connected to the land. I enjoy the outdoors aspect of my work, except for the extreme weather periods and temperatures we can get.
Tell us about your family.
Dad was from Fluvanna and mom was from Buckingham. They met while ice skating on one of the ponds at Bremo Farm. Dad worked for over 40 years with the schools, while mom worked at the bank in Fork Union. My wife, Pam, is a data coach with the Fluvanna school system. She has worked in public education for 21 years. After being raised by a public school educator it seems appropriate that I would marry one. We’ve been blessed with three children – a daughter (Aynsley) and two boys (Samuel and Jacob).

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