About Gina Levtov

Gina Levtov and her sons complete a corn maze

My name is Gina. I’m a 42-year-old account manager and mommy who lives, works, and plays in New Jersey. My family and I emigrated from Russia in 1989, right before the fall of communism. My mom and dad were only two years older than I am now when they moved my sister and me and my grandparents to another continent. Everything I do in life is based on that experience—if my parents were able do that, then what can I accomplish?

I’m new to blogging but I’ve often wanted to share my thoughts. I read somewhere that most female bloggers my age typically fit the same profile: 33–37 years old, with two kids, and writing a mommy blog. I cringe at the idea of being typical and, worst of all, blogging about “mommy stuff,” so I’ll do my best to stay away from that. While I certainly have opinions about things like organic baby food, I’m still trying to figure out if I’m raising my kids properly, so I won’t comment on anything family oriented until both of my boys are out of college and successful at life. At that point, I’ll consider my mistakes and maybe let others know what not to do.

Instead, I’ll dedicate this space to things that pop into my head during my hour ride to work and after 10 p.m., when everything has been taken care of and I can be myself again, thinking about books, music, fashion, art, and other subjects that don’t have any right answers, but just allow us to make choices based on our individuality and imperfections. I’m expecting this to evolve and grow, and maybe I’ll get better at writing, spelling, thinking…

Gina Levtov and friends snowboarding

How do I get back there?

My first memory of my father is of him coming home from work, putting on his old robe, and placing me on his lap to chat while my mom made his food. We’d open the hardcover book that sat on the coffee table, which was filled with pictures of the artifacts and sculptures from the ruins of Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius. I don’t know if he was too tired to get a more appropriate book, or if he was just that wise, but that book was the start of my obsession with anything historical.

I loved hearing the story of the heroic boy who wouldn’t leave his dog, and the families that huddled together, eventually mummified by falling ash from the volcano. As tragic as the story was to hear at three years old, my dad gave each mummy a background and each object a memory. I wanted to dip myself into the story—I wanted so badly to meet those people and use the beautiful golden vases I saw pictured in the book.

In addition to my father’s clever lessons, I was surrounded by reminders of the more-recent history of World War II. My grandparents, who played a part in the war efforts, were walking, talking history books. Living in St. Petersburg, they were proud survivors of Hitler’s almost three-year blockade of the city and the onslaught of his army.

While my grandmother spoon-fed me breakfast, she shared memories of her brothers leaving for the front, meeting my grandfather, and the days after the war, when my father was a little boy whose father had died a war hero. I was fascinated and looked forward to hearing every detail.

Today, my favorite pastime is watching the History Channel. It astounds me that what we now view as historical was once all the rage, and what we see in black and white was once full of vibrant color. It baffles me that the story of 9/11 is now being taught in grade school.

They say that history repeats itself, and I always try to compare some of our current events with what’s already taken place. It scares me that 30, 40, 50 years from now, we’ll be history. What will people say about us? Will our biggest claim to fame be the iPhone and emerging technology? What visuals will kids get when someone mentions the year 2000? Who will people remember most? Most importantly, what role am I playing?