A Bright Spirit…

IAS JPsNotesDr. Irina Antonia Sitnicova-Smolina graced the world on the 2nd of March 1981 in the city of Vladivostok; within the Russian Far East.

She was awarded a PhD in Geochemistry and Geo-ecology, by the Russian Academy of Science and sailed around the world on the Russian tall-ship Nadezhda, as part of completing her thesis addressing ocean temperature fluctuations, tidal shifts, grey whale migrations, etc.

Irina was raised in a loving and close-knit family which fostered from an early age her inquisitiveness and taught her strong values, to be immensely proud of her Country and her Cossack lineage and to develop the brave and righteous traits we all noticed and loved about this amazing lady.

She was drawn to the ocean like her beloved grandfather who; from a very young age, would sometimes take her with him on his sea voyages and, she remained an explorer at heart, an avid reader, continuously fueling her never ending curiosity about everything.
A fact that in 2014, led to being selected by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); and to remain until her passing, as one of the members of the global scientific research team on its ‘Environmental Solution Initiative’ (ESI), actively working on understanding and addressing the impact of the human footprint on the planet’s environmental envelop.

She came to Hong Kong seeking better opportunities, after investing 6 years of working in mainland China with the Chinese Government; developing its environmental awareness programs, and teaching Environmental Science at the Chongqing University. Sadly… she never did find the opportunities she hoped for here.

Instead, she did find a welcoming spiritual home and HOPE in and through St. John’s Cathedral, becoming an esteemed member of the CLARES; a 55-year-old St. John’s led organization, that raises funds for charities through their recycled article sales and… we found each other, fell in-love and built our life together rooted on the foundation of our deep caring and belief in each other and in embracing the wonderful joint journey of nurturing and supporting one another and our families as a team no matter what, as well as, our joint belief in a merciful God.

We enjoyed four wonderful years – of what we thought would be a lifetime – together; although they were filled with professional and financial challenges and disappointments, this only brought us closer and never once came between us… we faced everything jointly and loved each other deeply in-between and through the challenges.

Then, rays of hope begun to shine through as she was offered a position as head of a scientific research team in the University of Padua… we were preparing and very much looking forward to leaving Hong Kong and heading to Italy with plans to build our own home somewhere in Europe; perhaps Portugal, perhaps Italy… didn’t really matter much to us.

We remained excited preparing for the new adventure until the fateful morning on September 15.

Irina and I had a lovely breakfast, we talked and hugged and kissed like we always do. IAS+Max-1BWe did a bit of work together and then at midmorning she told me she was going to the beach near our home for a swim with her dog Max… she asked me if I wanted to go but I said no, that I had things to do. When she didn’t return in a reasonable time, I went looking for her and found Max with his head out of the water, ever faithfully guarding her floating body.

The sea that she loved so much, took and carried my love in its fluid arms to heaven and left me here, broken hearted and grieving to this day.

Most importantly, Irina was a doting mother of two beautiful girls from her first marriage, whom she loved more than life itself and who will miss her dearly along with the rest of us all.

May her Spirit continue to shine ever-brightly in God’s presence.

Copyright, Joseph Pereira 2006-2016

About JP
"There is nothing to be found in a beehive that is not submerged in a bee. Yet we may explore a bee forever and still never find a hive..." Kevin Kelly's - Out of Control

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