Living my life, guiding my children and communicating my truth in a language that was not my first gives me an interesting lens to the world. Hi, I’m Anya Bokeria.

I was five years old when my mom and I immigrated from the former Soviet Union – straight to Austin, Texas. I had no idea how well we’d landed and that I would grow to love this city like a true native. My older sister joined us about a year later. What was to be a possibly temporary stay in the US turned into a permanent residency and eventually citizenship, and where I would eventually start my own family.

I acclimated quickly, as children do, and was soon translating parent/teacher conferences for my mom. I spent my summers in Russia, visiting my Dad and my Grandmothers. Summer-long stays in a village at my maternal grandmother’s home grounded me and rooted my love for the outdoors. I fetched well-water for us to use as part of my morning chores. We used an outhouse. We had a cellar, an orchard, and hectares of corn and sunflowers. I milked our neighbors’ cow in exchange for fresh, unpasteurized (gasp!) milk. This filled a 3-liter glass jar as well as my sense of accomplishment. I wandered for hours through the chalk hills and spent entire daylights swimming in the river. When I meditate, when I close my eyes, when I dream – this is where I go. 

Fast forward to my teenage years and I befell a strange urge to grow up quickly. I graduated high school a year early, eager to start my journey. I graduated college by 20 with a degree in Journalism, quickly realized I was far from ready for the “real world”, and decided to go back to school for a Masters in Education. I giggle now at that overzealous girl who thought she had life all figured out and was ready to fly.

I married my college sweetheart and we had a baby boy exactly one year later. In two more, I gave birth to my daughter. Life had different plans for me and my family than I had at the time, and I began a journey to single mama-hood when my babies were 2 and 4.

A former athlete and daughter of a renowned Olympic and collegiate level track and field coach, I became a personal trainer and group fitness instructor for over a decade. I eventually found my way to the classroom as a PE teacher and Coach. Today, I teach PE and Yoga at a private school in Austin. I am thankful for the opportunity to work in a field I am passionate about and feel honored to impact and learn from young people. It can be powerful when we take the time to listen to children and how they see our world.

I am most proud of perseverance and strength through tough chapters. I have an amazing network of strong and dedicated mama-friends that make this possible, but at times have chosen to live through the chapters alone. I have had to “begin again” more than once. Mamas, there is beauty in resilience however you choose to/have to forge ahead. 

Today, my days are filled with travel sports (#hockeymom), kids activities, reading and writing (endlessly excited about this opportunity to share with AMB), learning about topics that challenge and inspire me (anti-racism, education, parenting, parenting our inner child, self-compassion), navigating the daily juggle of life as a single working mama (always driving, setting alarms, grocery shopping and over-packing), and an eternal commitment to lifelong learning and doing the work.

~Anya Bokeria

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