caitlin russo was born katyenka alexandra petrov on november 7, 1989 to a young, unmarried couple in the ukrainian city of odessa. as the family was poor and the child born out of wedlock, katyenka was raised by her maternal grandparents in the country. she has no memories of her early childhood. a wodden doll inscribed with her name is her only memento from that time. to this day, she knows very little about her birth mother.
when she came to america, all she had was a small suitcase of clothes and her little doll. for years, the russo family had adopted children and when she joined their home in boston, massachusetts, little katyenka was glad to find that she had older brothers and sisters. they didn't always get along, but they loved her like a real family and soon, she trasformed from a shy little girl who didn't know a word of english, to a spirited and bossy little imp that had them all running in circles.
her name was anglicised to "catilin" and two years after her adoption, she was enrolled in school. from a very young age, caitlin proved to be incredibly intelligent and she began to show an interest in science, mathematics, music and art. to the bewilderment of the russo's, she solved puzzles on her own, could calculate a light year by heart and best any opponent in card games that she had memorised. she had even learned to speak romanian by listening to their next-door neighbour converse with her relatives over the phone.
to her adoptive parents, it was an impressive feat, and after showing an interest in ballet at the age of five, caitlin began formal lessons. she fell in love with dance and dance fell in love with her, finding beauty and grace in her mercurial and dogged energy, allowing the family some reprieve from her incessant antics of "look at me" as she locked herself in her bedroom and twirled around in front of the mirror. when she decided that the piano accompanist at her ballet school couldn't keep proper time, she begged her parents to let her learn to play, keeping it up until she began college.
surpassing her peers intellectually, caitlin skipped the eighth grade. it quickly became apparent to her teachers that she was exceptionally gifted, learning languages easily and showing an interest in computers and science. sadly, she became easy prey to bullies who mocked her slight and diminutive stature and dark features compared to her fairer parents, not knowing that she was adopted. quickly losing interest in ballet, she became enamoured with her school work and skipped another grade. she was fifteen when she sat her exams and upon completing them, began to look at scholarships for universities. she was sixteen when she was accepted to boston university to study political science.
college was the great leveller. at BU, although she was one of the youngest students, she was surrounded by exceptionally gifted peers. arrogant due to her adolescent hormones, it was a difficult pill to swallow to no longer be the smartest person in the room. despite the blow to her ego, she trudged through. although high school had proved difficult for her socially, she made a few friends in her course. but her age proved to be a discomfort for some and she rarely made time for social gatherings. as such, she felt a little stunted in that regard. it wasn't until she turned eighteen, was partway through her degree and had finally grown into her face, when she began to focus on her personal life.
a few months later, due to her consistent efforts in school, an opportunity arose for caitlin to study abroad. initially hesitant about her idea to study in spain, caitlin moved to continue her studies in madrid. what had begun as an experiment -- a wish for a change of scenery from the same tired crowd -- caitlin grew fond of living on her own all away across the sea.
it was that same itch for a change of scenery that brought caitlin back to boston. but the itch did not go away. constantly looking for something new and exciting to appease her attention span, she has a penchant from jumping from job to job, taking new courses at university and moving from relationship to relationship. with no plans to "settle" anytime soon, caitlin continues to live each day to its fullest, indulging in her hobbies as often as she can. since returning to boston, her social life has vastly improved. although she makes acquaintances easily, caitlin counts few people as close friends.