Superwoman: A woman who fulfills her many roles with apparently superhuman efficiency.
I’ve came across several Superwomen during the time I have been living in Thailand, and I keep having the honour to meet more of them every now and then. I have decided to dedicate a regular section for them – to bring their story, give them a little praise, and let all our readers get some inspiration.
Olga Balachina: From the DJ podium to the gymnasium
“Who am I? I’m a woman. I’m a mother. I’m a wife. And I really hope that at this stage of my life – I’m not just a coach but also a person who can inspire students to achieve their maximum and grow to be strong people who love what they do. In return, my children inspire me to improve and do my best”, says Olga. Olga has one daughter, but she often talks of her students as if they were all ‘her children’. I was introduced to Olga when my daughter started taking rhythmic gymnastics classes under her training. I got a glimpse to who she is on a long ride from Bangkok to Pattaya to gymnastics competition. I’ve discovered that behind the calm blue-sea eyes, there is a woman with high level of energy, very focused on her goals, hard worker, who maintains a unique bond with her teenage daughter. Olga Balachina, 38, married plus1, originally from Russia, started her Thailand journey 7 years ago in Pattaya, following her husband’s job there. At the beginning of 2016 she decided to move to Bangkok to allow her daughter a formal Russian education which was not available in Pattaya. She explained it was important for her that if her daughter will ever decide to go back to Russia one day – she will meet the Russian criteria to start her life there. You can’t do it with international education apparently. Now Olga shares her life between those two cities, running professional gymnastics clubs for children both in Bangkok and Pattaya. It means long mileage driving her car every week on the highways, but it seems she absolutely loves it.
Living in two cities at the same time …. tell me a bit about this experience!
“Right after moving to Bangkok it was clear I have to use this opportunity to expand my business and I opened in Bangkok the second branch of Universe Gymnastics Club, in addition to the club in Pattaya I have run since 2012.
I teach in both branches. I now live in Pattaya on some days and in Bangkok on the other days. I love both cities. When I just started my Bangkok life, I thought I will probably like it more than in Pattaya, because previously I used to live in Moscow which is also a big city, and I missed big city life.
But living in Bangkok for a while now, I’ve realized I actually enjoy Pattaya better, as it is more relaxing and less traffic. I spend my weekends there – and it is always so amazing. I also feel Pattaya is a very good place for international expats, especially for the Russian expat community.
I honestly think that I haven’t seen all of Bangkok yet, and my journey in the city just started. The time to explore all what Bangkok has to offer will come soon.”
Pattaya has a big Russian expat community, in Bangkok it’s growing, and although you have been living in Thailand seven years now, it seems you are still maintaining a very Russian life – many of your students are Russian and you teach them using the Russian language.
After so many years in Thailand – do you feel you have managed to blend?
I’ve been living in Thailand for so long that I think I understand Thai culture by now, but I’m still a foreigner here. For a Russian person, it’s very hard not to be Russian, but Thailand did change me in a way that I’m still Russian but at the same time – I’m a woman of the world.
What brought you into the profession of gymnastics and fitness trainer?
“I’ve been enjoying sport and gymnastics from a very young age. I was always serious about it so it just stayed in my heart forever. I’m a Master of Sport (a special title given in Russia).
Even though I’ve completed my first academic degree in Moscow university in economics, I decided to complete another degree in physical education and become an instructor in fitness and gymnastics.
I don’t regret it. Sport is my passion and something that I really love doing.”
How did you start your business Universe Gymnastics Club? What do you practice for your own wellbeing?
When I came to Thailand I was thinking what can I do here. At the beginning, I worked a lot as a fitness instructor and did different group classes for adults: yoga, Zumba, Pilates and more. My business of fitness club started this way. The club offered various classes for adults and gymnastics classes for kids. At that time in Pattaya there weren’t any gymnastics clubs and I thought it can be a great idea to start this programme in my club, especially as I love teaching kids.
As the kids grew and wanted something more serious and professional, I started preparing them for gymnastics competitions, that required additional lessons and hours of practice. I’ve realized that I can’t focus on my adult’s fitness classes as much as before and I have to focus on the kids programme and keep only my favorite adults Pilates and yoga fly programme.
For myself I also like to do gym workout and stretching.”
It was a surprise for me to discover that you are a DJ too. When did you start DJ’ing and why? What music do you play?
“Back in Russia, when I just started working as a fitness instructor, I was running dance aerobic and step aerobics classes. I created my own choreography and I recorded my own mixes for my classes. My husband, who is a musician and saw my abilities, advised me to engage in DJ’ing. Thanks to him this whole DJ adventure started and opened me this wonderful opportunity to play my own mixes and tunes. I played in many clubs in Moscow and continued to do so in Pattaya. I love Deep House, Tech House and Techno, but I like also spinning Russian popular music. However, Pattaya is a touristic city and clubbers prefer commercial music.I believe there are more DJ opportunities to explore in Bangkok, but at this point of my life – DJ’ing is just a hobby and it should not interfere with the main work.”
It seems you are a very busy woman. Do you take time off? What do you do then?
It seems you are a very busy woman. Do you take time off? What do you do then? vacation, going to different places and experience different hotels.
If I don’t have the time to go and stay for few days – I prefer just to spend my day off at home and relax, or go to the spa. And of course, my favourite day off is when we can go all the family together somewhere.
We like restaurants, shopping, cinema, concerts and shows. I especially enjoy spending good time with my daughter – we are real girlfriends!
What are you proud of?
“I’m proud of my kids. And I know in the future they are going to be really good gymnasts; we already have some wins.”
Where do you see yourself in 10 years from now?
I hope that my Universe Gymnastics Club will be a big sport school similar to my school at the time when I was a kid in Russia. For me it will be what I’ve imagined when I originally planned it. I believe nothing is more remarkable than achieving your goal, as well as the process itself. Nothing is impossible.”
Your top tip to inspire other expats women in a foreign city?
Continue following your dreams! There are lots of opportunities awaiting for you, even in a foreign city.”