I'll begin with the present and work my way back to the origins of my existence. Currently I work as a cook in Brooklyn, NY at Superfine a Mediterranean inspired restaurant, bar, and gallery under the Manhattan bridge. I finished my formal undergraduate education last May at Columbia University with a degree in History. Before that I studied Russian at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. Childhood, adolescence, and teenage years were spent in Saranac Lake, New York a small town of 6,000 that was once home to Robert Louis Stevenson and Bela Bartok. The town lies in the middle of the Adirondack State Park, the largest State Park in the continental United States. Some of my interest in rural communites and the kind of changes affecting them comes from having grown up in a region far from any major metropolitan center. New York City is a good six hours away. In Russia I'll be spending some time in St. Petersburg at St.Petersburg State Polytechnic University and in villages along the shore of Lake Chudskoe now divided between Estonia and Russia. The question for me is whether in the twenty-first century rural communities will survive or if they will become a thing of the past subsumed and overshadowed by the great urban tide.