We Are VdM: The Strongs

The very best part of Villa di Maria is our people. Our community of families, faculty and staff is something to be proud of. In this series, We are VdM, we’ll highlight the energies, talents, humor and wisdom of some of our amazing people. Today we’ll kick off the series by featuring the Strongs, Maya and her parents Pratistha and Charles. Maya is in her first year in Lower Elementary with Ms. Megan. This is the Strongs’ second year here at VdM.

Villa di Maria: Tell us a bit about you and your family.

Pratistha: We are three free spirits trying to figure life as we go along. I am Nepali, born in Kathmandu, but raised mostly in Texas. Charles is half-Dominican, half-Okie, with a dash of Chikasaw, born and bred in Texas. Maya is an amalgam of us—trilingual (she is even trying to learn French now), loves anything spicy, and she truly lives up to her name: Maya means love or illusion in Nepali.

VdM: Where are you from and what brought you to Villa di Maria?

Pratistha: Well, it is an interesting story. We were brought to Villa from a guide that Maya had in Jefferson City, MO. We were at a crossroads of where to go at the end of the school year a couple of years ago. Maya’s guide told us about this little school in Kirkwood that she thought would be a good fit for us. We were looking for AMI schools all over Texas, but decided to drive up for a weekend trip to St. Louis after the suggestion was made. After checking it out and meeting with Laura Ceretti-Michelman, we knew we could just up and move to Kirkwood without any fear! People think we are crazy, but we moved to Kirkwood because of Villa di Maria! It has been the best decision that we have made not only for Maya, but for us as parents too!

VdM: What do you do, career-wise?

Pratistha: I am a primary care physician and Charles is a pharmacist. We own and operate Kathmandu Clinic, my hometown namesake, that is located in Kirkwood. Please visit my website to learn more about what we do and offer. It is my attempt at making a “Montessori-style” medical practice. I think Dr. Montessori would approve. We are also artists! I write. Charles has his art, hence I call him a “Phartist”. Feel free to call him that if you see him walking around. Some of our work is on the website as well!

VdM: I know your family does quite a bit of traveling/exploring. What has been your favorite family vacation?

Pratistha: Our favorite place to visit is Kathmandu, Nepal. We call it home because it’s my hometown and Charles enjoys it more than his hometown in McAllen, Texas! Maya gets to give hugs to her grandparents and great-grandparents. We get to reinforce the Nepali language and culture.

VdM: What is your favorite close-to-home family activity?

Pratistha: We usually like to garden, whether it is in our own backyard or at Villa di Maria. We get really excited about growing food and medicine. We also enjoy hiking, going to museums, watching sci-fi, reading Harry Potter and finding fun places to eat around town.

VdM: A question specifically for Maya, what has been your favorite part of Lower Elementary so far?

Pratistha: Maya said she likes recess because she can now play all over the campus. She likes playing at the pavilion, in the field, and playing four square with the upper elementary kids. She also likes lunchtime! Her favorite new lesson is Animal Cards. She also likes the new variety of chores and added responsibility in the classroom.

Thank you, Pratistha, Charles and Maya. We are so happy to have you in the VdM family!

Photos courtesy of the Strongs, taken in Kathmandu in December 2018.