A bright, articulate and engaging boy, six-year-old Gleb already speaks three languages, believes in healthy eating and cares about the environment. The youngster, born in Russia, has moved with his parents to the Seychelles, where he has settled into the local lifestyle and culture with ease.
Despite his youth, Gleb is aware of the differences in Russian and Creole culture. He relates, with a chuckle, how some English-speaking friends struggle with his name, “It’s very funny in English and sometimes, people can write the right name, but something’s wrong with the spelling!” He giggles.
The bright youngster takes it all in his stride, understanding how Russian spellings can be difficult, unless the language is your native tongue. Popular with his teachers and everyone who knows him, Gleb attends an international school, where he speaks English, Russian and, “A little bit of French”. His friends include other pupils from Russia and some from India. However, Gleb admits the language barrier is sometimes a problem. “We have a lot of people in school who use Creole and I don’t understand Creole,” he says ruefully.
A green dream
Born in Moscow, Gleb’s early memories are of the long journey to the city centre from his home on the outskirts, where he recalls what he describes as the, “Brown streets. In Moscow, there’s not a lot of grass. The Seychelles is very, very beautiful. On these islands, if you go out of the door, you’re living in a very nice area. You breathe very, very hard and it’s very good because of the fresh air and the green trees.”
Gleb’s dream is to take a helicopter ride, high above the Seychelles, so he can look down on the beautiful, green islands below. “I like it when there are a lot of green things,” he says, “I’ve never been in a helicopter, but I’d go on it and see the Seychelles. It would be very nice. The trees you can see, because there’s only green, but in a helicopter, you wouldn’t see the rubbish on the ground below!”
Hobbies and pastimes
Gleb also loves living by the sea, speaking with great fondness of a school trip to visit one of the islands. “When I saw the water, I was shocked it was so clear!” he recalls. He enjoys going to the beach, although only once or twice every three weeks. He hasn’t been swimming in the sea yet, although he used to swim in indoor pools as a small boy in Russia, where he had a swimming teacher.
He isn’t a massive sports fan, preferring spectating to participating in football. “My best friend loves football,” he observes. He now goes to football classes as he played football only when he was very small.
Gleb plays a tennis. “I liked it, but the first time, I thought that tennis is not for me,” he admits, “Everybody thinks I do it very well, but I don’t realise that. I play on a Wednesday and sometimes on a Saturday. I started when I was four years old.”
Passion for reading
In fact, Gleb prefers hobbies such as reading and building with his much-loved Lego. “I like a lot of Lego and books,” he says. Despite living in the Seychelles, he still enjoys reading Russian books, sharing with excitement two books he has read recently, one about a boy who is a wizard and another about two young people who save a unicorn.
“The stories are all in Russian,” adds the youngster, “I have a book that has more than 100 pages! I find books exciting. I think I read four books a week, if they’re not very big. In my life, I’ve read lots of other books. Some are bigger, some are smaller, but one story I can read in a day.”
He also says, with a titter, that he likes to sleep quite a lot after school!
Lego sparks building ambition
Gleb’s real passion is Lego building bricks, as he finds it mentally stimulating. “I like Lego, it’s very, very nice. When you build Lego, trying to stick it together, all the information goes to the brain and the brain is working very hard,” he explains, clearly displaying remarkable awareness for one so young.
“I have a lot of wishes. I’d like to be in Legoland. My mum said when I’m eight, maybe I can go. When I was five, I thought, ‘Oh, my gosh, what a long, long time!’, it’s a lot of days!”
In fact, Gleb loves building with Lego so much that his early career ambitions have changed. “When I grow up, first I thought I want to be a fireman, then a policeman and now I think it’s more for me to be a builder, because my dad was a builder and I build Lego,” he says thoughtfully.
The school day
Gleb enjoys school, particularly the traditional playground games, such as, “tag”. He said that, in Russia, he used to play hide and seek a lot. His typical day starts at 7am.
“I have school at 8 o’ clock, so I get up very early,” he explains, “It’s a very long way to international school. My mum wakes me up.”
Gleb’s school day lasts from 8am until 2pm. “First I was in kindergarten, then I went to year one. Now, I’m going to be in 3E,” he reveals, “Kindergarten was one class. Then it was split into two classes.”
His favourite subject in the Seychelles is maths. “In Moscow, I didn’t like it at all!” he admits, “In Russia, it’s not like international school. In international school, they have a mat that you sit on and listen to the teacher.” “In Russia, you sit at your table and the teacher tells you how to do your work. You do it while you’re sitting down. At international school, the teacher tells you and you go and do it.”
When asked which type of school he prefers, recognising the more relaxed type of teaching in the Seychelles’ school, Gleb says astutely, “I think that for my brain, it’s going to be better in Russia!”
Healthy eating habits
Gleb has also formed opinions on diet that are advanced beyond his tender years. He recalls at Christmas in Russia having turkey sometimes, but says he likes fish. “Yes, it’s not Russian, but it’s very healthy,” he points out. He also enjoys eating fruit, particularly apples and bananas.
He almost shudders at the thought of drinking coffee, preferring to drink juice. “Me and my mum are making a lot of juices out of apples and oranges,” he divulges.
From Russia to Seychelles
Asked how he feels about having moved to the Seychelles from Russia, Gleb is very honest. “When I first moved to the Seychelles, it was like I didn’t know a lot of things and I thought it’s not going to be good, but now I think it’s very, very good. Maybe it’s because over my life, I was mainly in the Seychelles and not a long time in Moscow.”
Gleb is a well-adjusted, bright and astute child, who has a great deal of wisdom for someone who’s only six years old. He has adapted well to his new life in the Seychelles and seems to thrive on the different way of life and culture. A new citizen grouping, a Russian Creole, maybe.