Florence Gervais d’Aldin got hooked on Russia at an early age when the Soviet Navy dropped anchor in Cherbourg, a port in northern France.
Eleven years old at the time, she ignored the initially frosty reception that the Soviet sailors received and experienced the warmth and boisterousness of Russian company, which left a lasting impression.
“In the evening there was singing and dancing, and I experienced the Russian soul,” d’Aldin said in an interview. “I was lost because what I saw was totally warm and — especially when you are young — you cannot be insensitive to this spectacle. From this, I wanted to learn Russian and had the will to go where I was told not to.”
A subsequent high school trip to Moscow, where she used the excuse of preparing for her diploma to skip the teachers’ prearranged tours and explore with a friend, piqued her interest in the still-closed country yet further.
“I was totally shocked. I visited in 1983. There was no advertising, nothing in the shops, and lines everywhere,” she said.
The brief excursion also marked the first time that d’Aldin made money on Russian soil, as Muscovites — amazed by the plastic bags that the teens were carrying — came up to them and bought up the bags with relish.
MALP Educational MeetingFree to the public
Date: Tuesday January 24, 2012
Place: Maui Community Service Bldg next to CTHAR Extension Services (Map) on the UH Maui campus.
Time: Pupus will be served at 6:30 pm and the talk will begin at 7:00.
On January 24th MALP is proud to host guest speakers: William Merwin and Leland Miyano as they share with us their vast combined knowledge about palms. Their talk will include information on Hawaii’s palms, palm growth habits and conservation efforts.
William Merwin, who has twice won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry and is the recent US Poet Laureate, has lived and gardened on Maui for over 30 years. Most of his focus has been on cultivating palms from around the world. He has gathered approximately 800 different species of palms, creating a truly unique palm jungle within the rainforest of Maui’s north shore. His enduring gardening passion along with his legacy of being a successful poet will be preserved with the recently created “The Merwin Conservancy“.
Leland Miyano, a good friend of Merwin, is an artist, landscape designer and author from Oahu. Leland has years of experience working with native palms throughout Hawaii and has worked extensively with many highly respected people in the field of horticulture and design. Leland’s numerous books include: Hawaii’s Beautiful Tree’s and Hawaii, A Floral Paradise. Leland’s own 1-acre garden in Kahalu’u is renown for its design and features numerous palms.
CLICK HERE for full information on this truly notable event.