How can I possibly put words into the phenomenon that is Roman Kudinov? After our last trip together in the Crimea I think he swore he would never travel without me because I made him look so good in my photos. He is a lovely creature... he has a tremendous heart and spirit to him and emerald eyes that are as clear as a sunny day at the sea.
He is usually so much fun to hang out with that you let him get away with his many vanities. But they are odd vanities that most people don't have. I can't necessarily translate any of them either. To his parents he is still a perfect boy, Ping-Pong champion, the pride of Russia. To women he is the man that captures and steals their hearts from underneath them. To me... well he calls me his twin and that just says it all.
He's certainly one of my heros in a world where heros don't necessarily have character. He fought the Russian government for an alternative service instead of being forced into their horrific army and actually won. Setting a kind of precedence in Russia is unimaginable... he was lucky to have a great sister to help him out.
We spent several days together using an outhouse in a part of the Crimea where $6 USD was the standard monthly income of every household. That's the kind of poor where you wonder how Fanta and Coca Cola managed to reach but they somehow have them hooked. Where bottles of home made wine are cheaper than any Coke product you can buy and laying around and smoking pot all day is what the neighborhood hooligans do.
We have traveled through many places together from all around Kentucky to some of the luxuries of Kiev. We were even with my sister when the Russian market was collapsing around us in 1998. When I am with Roman I really feel like I am living a part of history. That maybe my perceptions about life are not so skewed and that there is a life out there where seizing the day is really all you can think about.
He's the kind of guy you would want to be stuck on a desert island with because you would never quit laughing. He finds the sunshine in everything and everybody.