Russia, Turkey, California, Texas

“Remove yourself from the story.” – every journalism teacher ever. But … I can’t. Not with this story.


Taylor Aubry, Editor-in-Chief

For me, this was a summer of hard change. In many areas, I have learned that life will always have moments that seem to change the course of everything. It hasn’t been easy. I was devastated when my closest friend Liz Ilyuts told me she was moving to Texas at the end of the summer. For the first time that I have lived in Rocklin, I would not be walking into the school year with her by my side. This hit me like a train.

For Liz, change like this isn’t new. It’s been a part of her life since the age of 4, when she and her family moved from her birthplace of Moscow, Russia to Istanbul, Turkey.

“I left Russia when I was 4. From what I remember, it was very cold, gloomy, and depressing. Russia is a very sad country. I don’t miss it at all,” Liz said. From Russia, the Ilyuts family moved to Istanbul, Turkey for job opportunities. “My parents fell in love with Turkey, and that’s where we stayed for a while. I went to an international school in Turkey, because my parents wanted me to know multiple languages. I really miss Turkey, with the people, the landscape, and especially the food. Turkish cuisine will always be special to me.”

When Liz was 12, she and her family moved once again. This time, they relocated to Rocklin, California. “We left Turkey due to some personal reasons and religious reasons,” said Liz. “Turkey is a heavily Islam-populated country, and the leaders of Turkey are not very fond of Christians. Christians like my family and I were being persecuted. Although, my parents didn’t tell me that because I was 12. They just told me that we were going on a vacation to California, but we never went back. We left in such a rush, and it’s surreal to look back and realize that’s what our situation was. I do remember sitting on the plane and having the feeling that I wasn’t ever going back to Turkey.”


“It was very hard to move here in the summer of middle school because I didn’t know anyone,” Liz said. At around this time, I met Liz in 7th grade, and she became my best friend. Over the summer as incoming seniors, we had reflected on how our friendship had only just begun.

As they always do, things change. “My parents went on a trip to Texas at the end of my junior year, and they fell in love with it,” said Liz.” They felt like God was calling our family there. Soon, we were putting in offers. At first, I was so angry. My life here in Rocklin is so good. Now, I have a feeling that this move will be a very good thing in the future for me, even if I don’t see it right now. I realized that I am going to be okay no matter what.”

Liz is the strongest person I know. She credits her many moving experiences with shaping her as a person. “Moving around so much has made my character stronger. I have the tools to face challenges now. It would be harder for me to handle obstacles if I had a very stable life and never moved or gone through difficulties. My mindset is set on that.”