I am grateful for everything I experienced, and to everyone I encountered - good, bad or indifferent - in Russia. All of it led to the amazing life and treasures I have now: incredible relationship; my true self; and a life that is my own.

My homeland, Russia, has never left me, despite my not being there. It is a large part of me. I will always remember all the good that it gave me, and it will always be in my heart.

This book would never have been possible without the feedback Meg and I received. My dear friends far away, who reached out to us, you inspired me. You acknowledged what Meg and I did and you knew, in your hearts, why we did it. I suspect, we are very much alike. Freedom, to us, is everything.

And finally, we come to Meg. She was, and is, my example, my inspiration, my love, my everything. If it wasn't for her reaching out, I wouldn't be typing these very words and, likely, would be trapped in a nightmarish existence, not worth living. Meg edited this book, but she is also the reason for it. All of what I have become, what I want, and love, is because I have her in my life. Thank you for sharing your life with me.