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Author Topic: Trip Report/Introduction  (Read 2513 times)

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Offline rmcmonty

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Trip Report/Introduction
« on: February 06, 2019, 08:43:47 AM »
This is by way of an Introduction and TR.

My Russian Wife

My previous girlfriend of 10 years and I had broken up. I was back living in my condo and she lived at her, relatively, new home. I wasn’t devastated over the breakup but, as always, brought the crisis upon myself making sure the girl broke up with me instead of visa versa.
To regress just a bit. While I was stationed at the Naval Alcohol Rehabilitation Center in San Diego, CA, as an “Alcoholism Treatment Specialist,” I had separated from my then wife. I was called into Pete’s office, Pete was a MSW and basically ran the Training Department for the ARC. To make a long, long story short, Pete asked if I trusted the 3 other men in the office? Yes, I said, I trust you all with my life! He then asked If I would agree to a plan without knowing what it was? It seemed a little weird for me to actually agree to something I haven’t heard yet but, knowing the 4 men in the office and trusting them 100% I agreed!
Pete went on to say: You will not have a “relationship with a woman in any way, shape or means for one full year from today! He also stated that I couldn’t date or have sex at all for a year. The year was for ME to work on ME and to figure out what I wanted and needed in a relationship.” I asked a few questions that today, I can’t remember! But since I agreed, it was law as far as I was concerned. I write this just as an explanation about what was going to happen to me in the future and how I came to meet and marry my Russian wife.
Now fast forward to the year 2001. In further future relationships I have always ascribed and lived the 1 year rule as set down by Pete and the others. In January of 2001, I decided that American women and I did not get along so well! The 10 years that I had spent with my “old” girlfriend (who was 15 years younger than I was) and I didn’t have the same goals and what we both wanted in a relationship.
I had been married 3 times in a “past life,” and was not that all excited about having a fourth wife to support! I told (Who I will call CG) that under no circumstances would I marry her. I also told her that I couldn’t have children and additionally, that “I had tried being a father but found out I wasn’t very good at it. For clarification, I was dating a woman who I had gotten pregnant and decided to get a vasectomy so I wouldn’t put another woman in the situation of having her make the decision about whether to keep the child or not. Hence the reason I could not father any more children.
That’s enough of the past. In or around January or February of 2001 (I was alone for a full year!) I had remembered being on an Alaska Patrol and we had the opportunity to board the Russian Commissar’s flag ship. I had to go along on the boarding and my job was to “talk with the Russian radio officer.” When we got on deck our mouths dropped open. We had all figured the movies we had seen about Russian women were true. They all supposedly looked like they could play an Offensive or Defensive Lineman in the NFL! The women we saw were, mostly, very beautiful.
OK, back to Vegas and what I did in January of 2001! Remembering my Russian exposure, I decided to hit the internet and do some research on FSU women. I first tried the Ukrainian sites and found many, many beautiful women there. I even managed to write a few of them. Being 48 and having had a 15 year age difference with CG, I decided to try and find a woman closer to my own age.
One day I fell onto a BLOG about FSU women. The commenter of this BLOG was a US Male and made sense to me. He basically said in the BLOG (here comes a generalization but they are his words I just followed them!) was, that some men shouldn’t go to a big city to find a woman for possible marriage or dating but that the smaller towns, village, or small cities may be more interesting. The gist of his message was, or I interpreted it as “the women in smaller towns are more genuine and are not as ‘spoiled’ as the big city women.” Please don’t shoot the messenger I didn’t write the blog!
The BLOGGER did mention the city of Yoshkar-Ola and said that he found his wife there. Since I was looking, and the Odessa women didn’t seem authentic to me, I looked into Yoshkar-Ola and found “Maxim’s Agency.” No, I’m not plugging his agency because it has since closed months or a year after Maxim’s death.
I went to the agency’s page and looked at the profiles of most of the women. I decided to keep a seven to eight year spread in my searches. See age difference with CG and me (15 years if you’ve forgotten by now!) I didn’t jump right in, mind you, after being alone for a year I did have time to look around and see who I could possibly find. I didn’t write to any except one! I started writing to one lady I saw and would keep going back to her over and over. Still a little suspicious and not really knowing about Russian women, I decided to do more research on them. Being a retired Chief Radioman in the U.S. Coast Guard I figured I had a nose for fake women. Not to sound too egotistical, I have been around the world several times and when I worked at the ARC’s Training Department I had to travel to teach 2 week classes to train, what they called back then “Collateral Duty Alcohol Advisors.” That travelling around, I believe, allowed me to see what women in other countries were about.
In March 2001, having done my research and felt ready and able to write the lady that interested me the most, I dove in and wrote to her via Maxim’s site! I can’t say if doing it the way I did gave me a better chance of success or not. I think it boils down to what makes a person comfortable or not. Being me,  being brought up with a father who had very strict ways about things or behaviors in life as in lying for example. He told me never to lie because if I did, two things would happen:
1.   I would get nailed or in simpler words punished for the act and would get punished harder for the lie and the 2nd one, which made me sit up and take notice was:
2.   He would never believe another word that came out of my mouth!
Pretty hard to imagine your own father wouldn’t believe you!
So, I didn’t want to have to explain to a woman I was interested in that I was also communicating with other women. Whether this is right, wrong or indifferent, I had to be honest even to the point where if I was corresponding with other women, I would take the risk of possibly missing out on a possible happy marriage. But I am just me no more no less. So, I wrote her. I think I went through several drafts of the letter. I was honest about my circumstances, job, background and ethnicity. It turned into a medium to long letter. Hit “SEND” and it was off! Now the hard part started. Waiting for, if any, reply from said lady!
In the two or three days it took to receive an answer from her, I got up for work, looked at my email, went to work, came back and looked at my email. Slept, woke up and looked at my email. Then, I got what I was waiting for, a response!!!





 


 
« Last Edit: February 06, 2019, 11:15:31 AM by rmcmonty »

Offline rmcmonty

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Re: Trip Report/Introduction
« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2019, 10:34:37 AM »
Part II
It was great to read a response from my future wife. I already knew from her profile that she had a 20 year old daughter and she knew I had a son from a previous marriage. As a thought here, my wife having a 20 year old daughter wasn’t that bad. I knew that if things followed a logical progression and we married she couldn’t come and live with us because she would be turning 21 in July and this was March. Our letters came quickly from then on. After writing the second letter and reading TR’s on Maxim’s site about how much money single women there made was mind blowing to me.
I made the decision to contact Maxim’s and to pay for all her correspondence and have them translated on paper instead of having someone read them to her. I think she told me she was making about 50 USD per month at that time and there were times she didn’t get paid. So, I felt OK with paying for her and my letters back and forth.
Funny thing thinking about the past with her. After I had gone to Yoshkar Ola in July 2001 and came back to Vegas, I got a phone call from her and she was crying. I asked her what was wrong, thinking her father had died, but she said she didn’t want to tell me. I finally got her to tell me what was wrong and she did. Basically, she told me she needed money because she didn’t get paid.  My brain went into overdrive and I remember saying to myself…”Here it comes, the big hook!” I steadied myself and asked “how much do you need?” She cried even harder and said “10 USD.” Sigh of relief on my part. I told her that sending 10 USD to her would cost more than the 10 USD, so I told her I would just send 100 USD and that should carry her over till she got paid.

One day I was looking Maxim’s and discovered that MW’s (AKA My Wife. Thanks to 2tall bill,) birthday was after I first wrote to MW so I sent her flowers belatedly. Then it was International Women’s day and Valentine’s Day. Think I overdid this? Sure did. I feel she really got to me after 2 letters. The third letter really blew me away. She told me in the letter, which to me, told me volumes about her, that she felt that I was the man she had been waiting for all her life. It may seem corny to some or spooky to some but for me, I felt she took a huge risk coming out like that so soon after we had started corresponding. Later she told me she felt that and wanted to tell me she was worth it or that’s what I chose to believe.
I had made up my mind I was going to Yoskhar Ola to meet her since I knew that her getting a tourist visa was slim to none in 2001 and why go through the trouble only to get shot down in flames? I told her I wanted to come to her in November. It should be noted that I didn’t get a huge response on that. She told me later that unless she could hold my hand, promises didn’t count because she had been promised a man would come to meet her several times. Hmmm 18 years later, she was still waiting for the men to come and meet her and they never did!!!


A few weeks into our writing to each other, I decided to “buy” her phone number from Maxim’s. 10 USD for a phone number, go figure but it was worth it. I decided to call one day and my daughter picked up the phone. Very interesting. She spoke no English, though she knew a few words. From what I gathered MW was at her cousins house and my daughter would call her and told me to call back in 60 minutes (I think.)

I wanted to go meet her so one day I talked to my boss and told her if she wouldn’t let me go, I’d quit! She let me for 2 weeks only. I told her in a letter that I would be coming mid-July.

More to follow


« Last Edit: February 06, 2019, 11:11:46 AM by rmcmonty »

Offline rmcmonty

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Re: Trip Report/Introduction
« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2019, 11:01:54 AM »
First time I heard her voice was great. Only thing was she couldn’t speak a word of English!! She did have a Russian/English dictionary and would look up words while we spoke. Since I speak little or no Russian, It was a mess trying to communicate. She kept saying “shas skagu.” Which means “now I will tell.” After she looked up the word 😊

I wanted to go meet her. I told her in a letter that I would be coming mid-July. There was much to do before the 1st trip. I had to arrange flights, find out where we would stay, who would pick me up at SVO and did she want to come to Moscow to meet me? Where would I stay In Yoshkar Ola. You know all the little things that could and would go wrong even with the best planning. I also had to shop, which I hate and get someone to take me to the Airport in Vegas and pick me up at LAX and transport my butt to the International terminal with all my “stuff” I was bringing.

Quick thought about MW and her daughter. People who know me ask: Why do you call her YOUR daughter? You really only have a natural son? She is, in reality your step-daughter. My usual reply, is and was: I’ve been a step child and really didn’t like the label. To be honest I love her as much as if she had my own blood in her veins. She’s a wonderful woman and has blessed MW and I with 2 beautiful grandchildren, a boy and a girl.
« Last Edit: February 06, 2019, 11:11:19 AM by rmcmonty »

Offline rmcmonty

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Re: Trip Report/Introduction
« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2019, 12:13:15 PM »
Continuing long story

July finally arrived! I was all ready to go. I didn’t know what I was going to encounter but what the hell. MW and I spoke on a regular basis, both phone and written. I will tell you, back then, and maybe even today, I spent a bunch of money buying phone cards. MW didn’t have a computer or cell phone back then so our correspondence was phone card or Maxim!

Prior to leaving Vegas, there were a few “housekeeping” things that needed to be dealt with. About a month before I was going to leave we needed to figure out where to stay in Moscow, get Maxim to arrange a guide to pick MW from the train station and get her to SVO and pick me up, take me to exchange money, then deliver us to the hotel. MW decided that the Hotel Arbat would be the best choice. In a letter we spoke about what type of room we should get or how many rooms! She told me we both were older and not kids so “I think one would do,” was her answer.

There was another big issue to deal with. Where would I stay in Yoshkar Ola? She told me her parents were going to their Dacha soon and would be spending the entire summer there. So, we would be staying in her parents two room apartment. Our daughter would stay at MW’s apartment. Then I got a bright idea. I called and asked her how the hell was she going to get Mamma and Poppa to the dacha? Pop had Parkinson’s disease and had to be helped everywhere. He basically couldn’t walk. So, I decided to call Makim’s (I was getting pretty well known there, for getting things I needed done for her and I.) I had them call MW and she would arrange a car to pack them up and move both of them to the dacha. As a side note, their dacha was about 45 minutes out of town and when the bus dropped them off it was about a mile walk to the actual house. No way MW, daughter, Momma could have done it alone! MW arranged it all on the phone and I just paid 😊

I had a female friend from work I’ll call Lucy, pick me up at my house and transport me to the Vegas airport. I also had my step-father meet me at LAX to drive me to the International terminal due to all the bags I was taking. The flight from LAS to LAX was uneventful until I reached the international terminal. I chose Aeroflot because they were the only international carrier I knew of that still allowed smoking on the flight.

I hated flying anywhere. Not that I was afraid of a crash or foreign pilot at the yoke. I had 2 ships in the CG try and kill me in Alaska so my father’s words came back to me: If it’s your time to go, you can hide under a rock and it will fall and kill you. Fear didn’t enter the picture, I just hated being cooped up in a tube flying 10K miles to where I want to go!

My first introduction to Russian Culture awaited me when I tried to check in at the Aeroflot counter. The “back and forth” lines were full of Russians and I couldn’t get through with the majority butting in front of me. Welcome to Russia I thought. I finally made it to the counter and got checked in. I got an aisle seat and was ready for the 12+ hour flight. Funny, I thought that I spent most of my life training to fight the Russians. I had no idea what to expect. I’ve thought back that if I was still in the military and having a high security clearance I wouldn’t be allowed to go there. But after being retired 11 years it was ok now?

The flight itself was alright. The stewardess’ or should I have said the Flight Attendants were somewhat polite and I knew a few words in Russian and could say please and thank you. The meals were ok also. I was fine until we were about 30 minutes out from SVO then a thought crossed my mind! What if MW wasn’t there? What if I’m stuck in a foreign country and didn’t speak the language? I knew MW had made the train in YO. She got me a RT ticket in a 1st class compartment. She had to leave the night before I arrived so if she wasn’t on the train I think I would have known, or not! The thought came and went. My brow dried and I was ok again. I couldn’t believe that someone could get me to fly 12+ hours to a formerly hostile country and feel good about it! As the plane started to land, I felt the wheels hit the ground and then all the Russians started clapping, what’s up with that, I thought?

The next big surprise was clearing customs/immigration. For those of you who have landed in SVO, well, maybe things have changed since 2001. But walking through the airport then going downstairs to a somewhat dark, dingy room kind of unsettled me. I got stuck in a gaggle of people crushing the lines for Immigration. Back then, your visa wasn’t put in your passport. I remember it being a folded piece of paper with my picture on one and like 3 other copies they gave back. At any rate, I made it through unscathed and went out a door, I think, and tried to find my luggage.

After retrieving my luggage, what an ordeal, placing them on top, over my shoulder and wheeling them out the door into another throng of people, I started looking for MW. I walked down the “path” of passengers and heard my name being called. It was MW. I let my bags drop and went to her, hugging her and then, putting her at arms length, I took a good look at her she was more beautiful than her pictures. I knew I made the right choice for once in my life!
More to follow

Offline rmcmonty

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Re: Trip Report/Introduction
« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2019, 01:10:58 PM »
Continuation

It was so good to be on the ground again. I forgot about the crowd around me and just focused on MW. Alexei was our driver/guide. We shook hands and we left SVO to change money. Alex said he knew the best place to change money and went in with me and did all the talking so I wouldn’t get ripped off or short changed. He was a good man. From the money changer to the Hotel we go! On the way he pointed out a few old “Tank Traps” and said this is where the Russian Army stopped the Nazi’s. Wow, I thought. SVO was outside of that spot! It was interesting to say the least.

The hotel was just off Arbat Street. I’ve always liked that hotel and if per chance I ever go back to Russia I will stay there again. Once inside, we checked in, they took my passport and visa to register it in Moscow and told me it would be ready again soon. It’s so long ago and I suffer from CRS. MW and I went to our room put the luggage down. It was hot in the room and we had, what I would call, a small portable A/C unit that barely worked. We decided to take a walk down Arbat Street before dinner and a good night’s sleep. I wanted to buy a bottle of Champagne, soda’s and some juice or as MW would say “SOK.”

It was almost time for dinner and the Hotel had a great restaurant. We both had Chicken Kiev and afterwards, off to sleep!

Alexei was due to pick us up at around 2:00 pm for some sightseeing and all. I did find Red Square very interesting but never got the chance to see Lenin’s Tomb. Seems it’s closed on Thursdays and I always arrived on a Wednesday night and we would wait for the train on Thursday so the Tomb was out!
The Moscow Metro was amazing. I loved the art on the walls and compared to the NY Subway it was a lot cleaner. I do remember that there were a few musicians playing stringed instruments outside some of the tunnels. The music was beautiful and I had to tip them for the sheer enjoyment I had listening to them. The most interesting part of Moscow was GUM. We walked inside of it and there was a pool inside that had in it, what I thought were real geese or swans. They were so lifelike until you got on top of them and saw they were made of wood. I still believe the cultural aspects of Russia were impressive.

Alexei picked us up and we drove around Moscow before heading to Kazanski Station. MW wanted to get something to bring on the train so we stopped at a magazine near the station. I had to remember to not ask for “gas” in my water but she figured that out and wouldn’t let me buy gassy water ever. On the way to the train we walked hand in hand and went to the track the train was leaving from. The female conductor for the car we were in was nice but appeared to be very capable of tossing someone off. She seemed interested in MW and I as a couple. She never asked so we didn’t tell

I can say very positively that some things in Russia may be broken but the trains are definitely not. If the train is scheduled to leave at 5:00 PM, the wheels are moving at exactly 5:00 PM.
Another thing that to this day I’m still shocked over is that in 2 trips I had no idea they had food on the train. On my 3rd trip there was a semi-dining car that I didn’t find out about till the Moscow bound trip after a friends wedding!

The train was nice, the compartment was comfortable the service was good. I was about to learn about, what I called “The Crystal Stop!” The Crystal Stop was a town whose major industry was making hand blown crystal items. MW told me she thought the people who worked at the various factories stole pieces of crystal and sold them to people on the trains. When the train pulled into the stop, all I could see out the window were people walking up and down the train with beautiful crystal items. So of course, MW and I decided to look. MW told me not to speak because she was afraid I would be mobbed by the crowd of vendors. She on the other hand wanted to look for a few things so I stayed on the steps of the car and smoked while she was looking. She came up to me and asked in English “how do you like this?” By this time I was on the platform finishing my cigarette when I was mobbed. I got back to the steps and the linebacker was there helping me on and blocking the crowd. We came away with a few items that were nice and some are still in our china/crystal cabinet. The rest were for presents when we arrived in YO. The train spent about 30 minutes or so there and then it was off again.

To Be Continued


« Last Edit: February 06, 2019, 01:16:32 PM by rmcmonty »

Online 2tallbill

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Re: Trip Report/Introduction
« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2019, 02:15:20 PM »
Continuing long story

Welcome to the Forum!!




Bill
« Last Edit: February 06, 2019, 03:52:05 PM by 2tallbill »
FSUW are not for entry level daters
FSUW don't do vague
FSUW like a man of action. Be a man of action 
If you find a promising girl, get your butt on a plane.
There are a hundred ways to be successful and a thousand ways to f#ck it up
Kiss the girl, don't ask her first.

Offline rmcmonty

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Re: Trip Report/Introduction
« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2019, 02:19:35 PM »
Thanks Bill: Took me a few days to read your TR from 1st to last it was a good read

Online 2tallbill

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Trip Report/Introduction
« Reply #7 on: February 06, 2019, 03:54:17 PM »
Thanks Bill: Took me a few days to read your TR from 1st to last it was a good read

It was a nine year adventure to find Angel Eyes aka AE and I had a few speed bumps
along the way. There was some messy Antidate stuff etc but it was worth it!

Udachi!

Bill

FSUW are not for entry level daters
FSUW don't do vague
FSUW like a man of action. Be a man of action 
If you find a promising girl, get your butt on a plane.
There are a hundred ways to be successful and a thousand ways to f#ck it up
Kiss the girl, don't ask her first.

Offline rmcmonty

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Re: Trip Report/Introduction
« Reply #8 on: February 06, 2019, 03:59:59 PM »
Bill: I read the anti-date posts. I don't post much since I got married in 2001. I ended up going back to YO in October of 2001. We got married in YO on 11/22/01. Great ride ever since. Longest relationship I've ever had but way worth it! I'm sure you can relate eh?
Take care
Monty

Offline rmcmonty

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Re: Trip Report/Introduction
« Reply #9 on: February 07, 2019, 06:51:54 AM »
The train spent about 30 minutes or so there and then it was off again. The ride was ok after the crystal stop. The only thing I didn’t really like was the stop (I can’t remember the name) where the “electric engine” had to be swapped for a diesel engine because the wires ended. If my memory is correct, it took about an hour to change the engines. It happened at night so we were probably sleeping when they did it!

At about 7:30 or 8 AM MW told me we were pulling into YO. We had tea earlier and gathered all our belongings and got ready for the arrival. One small part about the train. The restrooms we closed for about an hour outside of Moscow. When they opened I got a big surprise. The waste dropped right onto the tracks. There was also a tiny mop used for cleaning the bowl, I would imagine. I realized why they were closed for 1 hour. Funny saying goodbye to waste products as they hit the rails. Hopefully no one was standing near the tracks when someone was using the toilet!

Yoshkar Ola

As the train slowed down, entering the station at YO, MW was telling me all about her family. Although I knew much about her family, she told me again. She had an older sister with 3 girls, Mom and Pop, her cousin, and of course our daughter! As the train stopped, I could see MW waving out the window to a crowd of people! I recognized our daughter immediately but wasn’t sure who the others were in the throng who met us.

I was tired as I still hadn’t gotten over the jet lag and I don’t usually sleep well traveling. Getting off the train into that mob didn’t bother me, however, not speaking the language it was impossible to understand the “jabbering” I heard. MW coined the phrase “my family jabbers all the time!” I could have told her that I understood because jabbering in a family of all women is understandable.

It was a good reception at the station and MW had told me that Momma was making lunch at her apartment. Pop, I was told, stayed on the dacha and we would go out to meet him in a couple of days. After the introductions were made and I was hugged, shook hands with the men there and we all jumped into numerous cars and a mini-van someone had rented for the day!

We loaded our luggage into the vehicles and off we went to Mama’s place! Once we arrived at “Mama’s” place I was ushered upstairs and into the apartment. I think I was still in a state of shock. I was in a city about 600 miles from Moscow, 10,000 miles away from my home surrounded by people I couldn’t understand with MW who, was the only one who could, at least understand me a little and now at the apartment of her mother.

Upon entering I took off my shoes (as instructed by MW) and walked in. Having been to Japan several times, I knew about the shoe deal inside the house! Mama hugged me and shot off a string of very fast words that I had no idea what she said! MW tried to translate as well as she could. There were more people in the place I hadn’t seen before and was told that they were her aunt and some neighbors from the building her mother knew!

I had read about how bad the Russian toilet paper was so I brought a whole suitcase full of Charmin with me. That damn suitcase was only used for TP. Brought some booze from the USA, little gifts, a picture book of Las Vegas and other things I can’t remember. The TP caused a big to do when MW opened the suitcase and showed all the TP I had brought! From what I learned later, the women didn’t use it for what it was made for, they used it to wipe the makeup off their faces. They were running a few sheets over their faces in the apartment!

Another side track here. I didn’t drink alcohol in the US. I had been sober for from 1975 – 2001! I didn’t drink because I got stupid and got into a lot of trouble in the military when I did! MW forgot to tell me that if I didn’t tell the people immediately, I didn’t drink and they then offered me one, to refuse would be tantamount to spitting in their face, of so she said! Needless to say, and being stupid, I tried to match my brother-in-law and nephew, drink for drink. I lost! More of my stupidity will be told in later chapters of “War and Peace!”

I was freaked out by a few other things that day. I couldn’t smoke in the apartment but went to the stairwell and smoked. While there, two men came up carrying a coffin. I mean a real coffin, as in dying type! Talk about being freaked out! My brother told everyone, when we went back into the Apt., what had happened and it surprised no one. Mom said “Oh, little babooshka upstairs died!” My future daughter helped make the food and brought it to the table and kept giving me a sour look. 
I found out a few years later that she didn’t trust me at all back then. She was being very protective of MW and wanted to be sure that I wouldn’t hurt MW at all! However, that didn’t stop her and her cousins to steal my cigarettes on a daily basis! I guess American cigarettes were better than Russian cigarettes😊 I still kid her about that to this day!

After the feast was over and the presents were doled out everyone left including Mom. We had a chance to grab a nap, take a shower and just relax for a while!

Two days later, MW’s nephew drove us to the dacha. It was an interesting trip and the country around YO was beautiful. I remember MW going to the dacha all the time to get the snow into the water tank for summer and, generally keeping things up there.

For some reason I can’t explain even to this day, I found it necessary to ask her father’s permission to marry her. We talked about it a lot and I really couldn’t explain it. I had only asked one father’s permission to marry his daughter, that was back in 1976 and I had told him I had been married in the Catholic Church in 1974 but we divorced shortly after that. His only words to me were: “Get a divorce in the church and then you can marry my daughter!” Needless to say, I didn’t get a divorce sanctioned by the Catholic church but, we did get married by a Chaplin friend of mine and he even wore a “Roman Collar” to fool the relatives still in Ireland!
MK and I committed to each other in May of 2001. The thought of getting Pop’s permission was, to me, a sign of respect to him and to his daughter. I think about that sometimes and I come to the same conclusion. My conclusion was my father (who died in 1970) was born into a Southern Gentleman family. He was originally from the state of Georgia and was, at, all times, a gentleman. Me, on the other hand, unless he was around not that gentlemanly!

Once at the dacha, we walked around looking at all the land that was around it. They had 2 fields and I was told that Pop cleared all the land by himself and some of the neighbors helped. He built the cottage on the land out of trees he felled and then hewed them to fit. Kind of like our old pioneers in the 1800’s!

Mama was there and I told MW that I wanted to have Pop give us his blessing. She told him what I asked, and he said something to her I didn’t understand but, he was smiling. As soon as Pop finished talking, Mama brought over some Icons and made MW and I kiss them! I was officially engaged to MW!!!! I have never regretted getting Pop’s blessing.



The two weeks went by like a flash and I was back at SVO after a terrible trip by car from YO to Moscow courtesy of MW’s nephew! They took me to SVO and waited till I had to get on the plane and then headed back to YO. Leaving her was terrible but, I had told MW that I would be back in October and we would get married in YO and I would make arrangements for a 2 month leave of absence from work. The trip home was uneventful except for the 3 hour delay at SVO waiting for a plane coming in from India they waited for.

Back in Vegas, the day I came back to work, I talked to my boss and told her I needed a 2 month leave of absence and I had a candidate to replace me for the time I would be gone. He was a Ukrainian and wanted to get into surveillance badly. She agreed and gave me the Leave of Absence. I didn’t tell my family about my plans to go back and get married in Russia.

There were several reasons for that. I had told my son that I was going back and marry her I also told him I hoped he would like her. I also told him that it really didn’t matter to me whether or not he liked her, but as my wife he better respect her as my wife! I don’t think he took it all that well but, I’m sure he understood my words and took it to heart.

Now I only had about 3 months to get everything ready to leave again!!!

This is the last installment for this trip!!








Online Hammer2722

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Re: Trip Report/Introduction
« Reply #10 on: February 07, 2019, 09:21:08 AM »
Welcome to the forum Chief! I hope you will continue the story. Well written and very interesting.  :clapping:
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Offline rmcmonty

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Re: Trip Report/Introduction
« Reply #11 on: February 07, 2019, 09:40:31 AM »
Thanks Hammer: It was a work in progress. Having CRS, it was difficult but I had my wife proof read and of course release it for publication. You are the 1st person in a long while to call me Chief :) Felt good after all the years gone by. Best to you and your wife!
Monty


Offline Faux Pas

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Re: Trip Report/Introduction
« Reply #12 on: February 07, 2019, 09:42:16 AM »
Nice TR rmcmonty! Welcome!

One question though, you're still married to MW and haven't been back since 2001?

Offline rmcmonty

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Re: Trip Report/Introduction
« Reply #13 on: February 07, 2019, 09:46:57 AM »
Marriage in Yoshkar Ola, Mari El, Russia

As I start another book, I have to tell people reading that all this happened in 2001 and I don’t know if the same rules apply. I do know that for me, marrying MW in Russia was easier than to get a K-1 visa. Being married in a foreign country enables you to file for a K-3 (Marriage) visa. There are good and bad to each. For both there much paper work and proof you have to submit to BCIS. There are offices on the internet who will, for a large fee prepare the forms for you. I didn’t use one because I went to Law School for 3 years but didn’t finish due to orders to Kodiak, AK, and had an old classmate who was practicing Immigration law in California, but that’s another story! MW did receive her K-3 visa in about 4 months. I did all the paperwork myself and had no problems. The benefits of a K-3 visa are they are good for 2 years vice K-1 being only a 90 day visa. As a comparison, a friend married in Yoshkar Ola in 2003 or 2004 and it took him 1 to 2 years to get his wife here. My son-in-law applied for a K-1 visa and my daughter got here in 2005 but he did some stupid things and disregarded the advice I gave him to send all mail to BCIS via registered, return receipt requested to ensure if it got lost he would have signature documentation that said the information got to BCIS and instead he had to pay again and start the process all over. A “Request for more Information” from BCIS is not to be taken lightly if you don’t want to pay again and start at the beginning!
I should say that the BCIS website has all the form readily available for both K-1 and K-3 visas. If you have all the information handy, most of the forms are available to fill out online.

Prior to leaving on the marriage trip, I had to do a lot of work here to prepare. Having been divorced I had to gather the previous marriages final decree of divorce papers, go to the county clerk’s office and have them do a records check that they would Notarize stating that I had not nor was ever I married in the county. That part seemed a little weird to me because it only stated “Clark County, Nevada.” In theory, I could have many wives running around the other 49 states and I could still have married in Russia! The next step was I had to send the county recorders notarized statement to the Secretary of State and get them to issue an “Apostille.” All this did was the SOS of the state I lived in had to “Notarize” the county clerk’s signature. Not being very smart, I disregarded this step and had to get it done through the mail while I was in YO. Nobody ever accused me of being smart, at times! This blooper tacked on about a month to our getting married!

I had looked on a map and was pleased to find that YO and Kodiak, AK were on the same latitude. I had decided to buy a few pairs of long underwear so not to freeze my butt off. My first trip was in July but this was the last week in October and I knew it would be cold! Here is where I challenged my own intelligence. I forgot to buy my long johns and left without them.
Armed with my birth certificate, passport, prior final divorce papers, I was about ready to enter a new chapter of my life.

Again, I had booked the flights on Aeroflot (still the only international airline to allow smoking on the overseas trips!) called my female friend from work to take me to LAS and I was off.

MW had purchased RT train tickets in a 1st class car for both of us, booked the room at Hotel Arbat, hired new people to pick her up at the train station and me at SVO. In retrospect, I should have just flown from Vegas to either New York or Washington DC and then caught the flight to SVO. It would have gotten me to SVO in time to get to Krazanski Station the same day and not had to stay in a hotel for the night and hang around Moscow for the day till the train left but of course I didn’t! At LAX’s duty free store I purchased a large bottle of tequila, large bottle of Jack Daniels more cigarettes, (so my daughter could steal them again!) I had already bought 2 huge sizes of Charmin TP and filled one of my suitcases with other gifts, Now, on to the gate to board. I lucked out and got another aisle seat😊

It was a totally uneventful trip. Upon landing at SVO, I was already a pro at crashing lines and getting through Immigration with relative ease. Outside, MW was waiting with a huge smile. I had one also😊 I “toked” (Vegas speak for tip) the drivers 2 cartons of American cigarettes and the adventure continued.

The hotel was excellent as was before, we had dinner and off to bed for a well deserved rest. The next day we kind of just walked around Arbat Street taking pictures and what not. Off to the station to get the train! It was the same as in July. Crystal stop, buy presents for us and others then onto the PITA place where we had to wait for 30 minutes or more for the engine change and onto YO!

More to come




Online Hammer2722

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Re: Trip Report/Introduction
« Reply #14 on: February 07, 2019, 09:48:41 AM »
Thanks Hammer: It was a work in progress. Having CRS, it was difficult but I had my wife proof read and of course release it for publication. You are the 1st person in a long while to call me Chief :) Felt good after all the years gone by. Best to you and your wife!
Monty

Thanks Monty, I am a retired Navy Submariner (ET) so I quickly recognized the RMC in your name. ;)
every ship can be a minesweeper at least once...

Offline rmcmonty

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Re: Trip Report/Introduction
« Reply #15 on: February 07, 2019, 09:49:52 AM »
Faux Pas:
We are still happily married. Almost 18 years now. Daughter is here and we have 2 grandchildren. After the initial trip I went back in October 2001 to get married. Then back again to see a friend get married. My wife has been back several more times. I was there a total of 3 times.
Monty

Offline rmcmonty

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Re: Trip Report/Introduction
« Reply #16 on: February 07, 2019, 09:52:49 AM »
Hammer: Nice to see you. I went to RM "B" at NTC SDIEGO in 1974. Had a few Sub sailors with us. They were some crazy people but fun to be around. I used to make ET's crazy blowing fuses in the XMitters we had on one of the ships I was on. Nice to be aboard!

Offline ML

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Re: Trip Report/Introduction
« Reply #17 on: February 07, 2019, 10:43:57 AM »
Four year US Navy man here.  Enlisted the day after turned age 17.  Served on aircraft carriers out of San Diego.  Two tours to Pacific . . . Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Philippines, etc.
Winston Churchill.  “The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.”

Offline GQBlues

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Re: Trip Report/Introduction
« Reply #18 on: February 07, 2019, 10:49:24 AM »
...This is the last installment for this trip!!

Nice T/R. Thank you. Your report brought back a couple of notables. One of which was Maxim (Makshim).

Late 2002 for me when I first jumped into this silly pool. Maxim was one of the first sites I stumbled upon, and around that time I believe they may have been on the downward slide in terms of popularity and/or 'reliability because Yoshkar Ola was generating an eventual unfavorable reputation as scammer capital in Rus.

They initiated a campaign and put a bad taste in my mouth that actually spurred me to post my very first thread at the ol' RWG, titled: "Justifiable Prostitution?" when their inter-mediator sent emails to subscribers that an option to shoot pictures of each subscriber's objects of interest can be done with less 'clothing', or in bikinis, for a price. The more money you apparently paid, the lesser article of clothing your 'love interest' will pose with. Cancelled myself off the site ASAP.

Anyway: Funny excerpt about the train restroom's disposal system.
~Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people~ Gator :P

Offline rmcmonty

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Re: Trip Report/Introduction
« Reply #19 on: February 07, 2019, 11:50:05 AM »
GQ - Max's Agency was real good in 2001. I ordered a few pictures of MW but she was 42 when we got together. I think if I had tried to get some risqué photo's of her made she would had dumped in a NY second. What's not in the TR was I became friends with someone I suspected to have ties with Russian Mafia. Not certain but I had my doubts he wasn't. From then on I just had to call and he'd do what I needed. All it cost me was a Zippo Lighter I had from one of the ships I was on and a 100 USD tie I had from my days working as a floorman in a casino.
Yes, the toilet on the train was a big surprise for me.
Monty

Online jone

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Re: Trip Report/Introduction
« Reply #20 on: February 07, 2019, 11:55:30 AM »
Welcome Monty......

Couldn't help but remember a guy who sang this song as part of his repartee. Looking on YouTube, there it was:

Kissing girls is a goodness.  It beats the hell out of card games.  - Robert Heinlein

Offline rmcmonty

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Re: Trip Report/Introduction
« Reply #21 on: February 07, 2019, 11:58:13 AM »
Jone, I'm still laughing at the record pic..)
Monty

Online krimster2

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Re: Trip Report/Introduction
« Reply #22 on: February 07, 2019, 12:08:16 PM »
soldiers RULE
sailors DROOL

18 yr old me saving the freakin free world!!!

Offline rmcmonty

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Re: Trip Report/Introduction
« Reply #23 on: February 07, 2019, 12:11:48 PM »
ML: I also joined at 17. I can remember sitting in the recruiters office and people came in and he just told them to turn around, walk out and go see the Army, Navy, or Marine Corps. The wait list was very long in the CG at that time (1970.) My father almost disowned me for joint the CG. Said I'll be damned to have a son in the "Hooligan Navy." I think he was proud of me. He was Navy BM Cox'n during WWII. Some of the best tours I ever had, except at sea, was San Diego. I bumped between the CG Airsta and the Navy ARC twice each then did my last 2 in Kodiak, AK. Buoy Tender and Communication Station. I pulled the pin in 1990. Sure do miss it but in today's military I would have been tossed for my "Leadership" style. take care....Monty

Offline rmcmonty

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Re: Trip Report/Introduction
« Reply #24 on: February 07, 2019, 12:14:42 PM »
Krimster2: While in Honolulu we always thought the AF was pretty smart. My first ship was built in 1939 and went to SE Asia in her.
Best
Monty

Offline rmcmonty

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Re: Trip Report/Introduction
« Reply #25 on: February 07, 2019, 12:18:15 PM »
Krimster-Just an added thought. Yeah we were saving the free world but look where we found our wives:)

Monty

Offline rmcmonty

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Re: Trip Report/Introduction
« Reply #26 on: February 07, 2019, 01:09:28 PM »
Arriving in YO via train was the same as in July with one exception. I was told by MW that we were going to stay at her apt for the 2 months I was there. Great I thought! Two women and me in a one room apt. I felt like I was back on the Buoy Tender I was on in Alaska, no privacy what so ever!

Our daughter, now (2001) was 21. Her 21st Birthday was in July on my first trip so MW and I decided it would be a good gesture to have a big party for her at one of the better known café’s in YO. MW invited the entire family and we all showed up on time except for my daughter! She decided to grace us with her presence about an hour late. There were about 16 people there and we were having a great time. I learned from 1st trip that there were designated smoking areas in YO cafés. This one had a closet and my brother and nephew and I decided to go smoke. About 5 minutes later the bill came and 30 seconds after the bill arrived MW arrived at the door of the closet! She was yelling at me and ranting in Russian, waving the bill in my face. I felt like I was in an old rerun of “I love Lucy!” I told her to calm down and pointed out that I couldn’t read Russian. She decided to calm down and “splain” it to me. Apparently after what seemed like a 4 course meal, drinks and dessert the bill was like 1,500rub she was louder than usual and accused them of cheating me. I sat there smiling and figured out the amount came to roughly 50 USD. I put my arm around her and told her in Vegas or anywhere I would guess in USA this meal was very, very inexpensive! I mentioned that when she was in the US she would have a cow when the bill came. It was hard to explain to here that it wasn’t unusual for a bill for that many people would easily cost around 400-500USD or more. So, I had seen a Russian woman have a conniption fit right before my very eyes in YO! It should be noted that my lovely daughter only ate an ice cream sundae then promptly left the party!

Another side issue: When she finally arrived in Vegas, I took her to a Japanese Tempan Restaurant Called Osaka. We had steak and lobster, she had sushi and sashimi. We had a great time. The bill was around 120USD without tip and she started crying and saying “I’m so sorry for eating so much!" But the good news was she remembered what I had told her and seemed to understand!

There are a few more items that I had to deal with back in July. One was when she washed my clothes she decided to iron my undershirts and “skivvies.” I told her that (as many men who encountered this behavior probably said) it wasn’t necessary to iron my underwear as no one was going to see them! The other one was going shopping with her.

I had read that if a Russian woman like an item she will pick it up, look at it, put it down and walk away. Then she’ll come right back to the item and go through the same procedure all over again. MW decided we needed to go to the “supermarket” and we went. The supermarket surprised me because it looked exactly like a swap meet in the US. She picked up the items she wanted and we walked around looking. At what, I couldn’t tell you. She found this nice turquoise dress. The behavior started at once. She looked at it. Held it up to see the length then put it down and we walked away! Stopping her, I asked “do you like that dress?”
She nodded and I told her to go try it on. She complied and came out of the makeshift dressing room. She looked beautiful in that dress, so I told her to buy it! Easy right? No! It’s too expensive I can’t afford it, ad nauseum! I told her to just buy it and since she was in charge of holding the money she reluctantly bought it! Not 5 minutes later the same thing happened with a white pair of shoes she was eying. Same behavior, same attitude, same excuses. My answer was also the same. If you like it. For God’s sake buy it. Again she complied and ended up with a beautiful dress and a nice pair of summer shoes to wear!

To be continued!
« Last Edit: February 07, 2019, 01:16:31 PM by rmcmonty »

Online krimster2

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Re: Trip Report/Introduction
« Reply #27 on: February 07, 2019, 02:13:14 PM »
"My first ship was built in 1939 and went to SE Asia in her. "

wow, what kind of ship?

"Krimster-Just an added thought. Yeah we were saving the free world but look where we found our wives:)"


I wonder what the longevity of looking for FSU women is going to be if war happens with Russia/Ukraine in the next 2 years...
« Last Edit: February 07, 2019, 02:17:43 PM by krimster2 »

Offline GQBlues

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Re: Trip Report/Introduction
« Reply #28 on: February 07, 2019, 02:13:38 PM »
..... It was hard to explain to here that it wasn’t unusual for a bill for that many people would easily cost around 400-500USD or more...

LOL. Had to chuckle with that one. There's a restaurant in Sta Monica where wifey and I occasionally dine. One of our favorite in town. The usual tab is about 6bills. Worth every cent, I think.

Quote
..I had read that if a Russian woman like an item she will pick it up, look at it, put it down and walk away. Then she’ll come right back to the item and go through the same procedure all over again. MW decided we needed to go to the “supermarket” and we went. The supermarket surprised me because it looked exactly like a swap meet in the US. She picked up the items she wanted and we walked around looking. At what, I couldn’t tell you. She found this nice turquoise dress. The behavior started at once. She looked at it. Held it up to see the length then put it down and we walked away! Stopping her, I asked “do you like that dress?”..

Same habit my wife used to have. Still do, but not as much anymore. From first arrival to current, her clothing store went from Marshall's to Karen Millen - nothing over the top. Wifey still hesitates, or would still hunt for bargains, but not as rampant as before.
~Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people~ Gator :P

Offline rmcmonty

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Re: Trip Report/Introduction
« Reply #29 on: February 07, 2019, 04:17:52 PM »
Krimster2: The ship I was on was a 255' Lake Class Cutter. All those in that class were named after US Lakes. Mine was named after a huge lake in the state of LA.

Were you speaking of FSU's inside another country. Mine isn't all that high on the Russian political figures

Monty

Offline rmcmonty

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Re: Trip Report/Introduction
« Reply #30 on: February 07, 2019, 04:20:44 PM »
Krimster2: Misread your reply....about FSU women. It doesn't look good. I know I wouldn't want to go there if we were at war :)Been there, done that....didn't want the tee shirt

But, I'm sure happy MW and daughter are here.

Monty

Offline rmcmonty

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Re: Trip Report/Introduction
« Reply #31 on: February 07, 2019, 04:26:02 PM »
GQ: For the first few years here, I used to go with my wife to shop for clothes or other things. I made her crazy for the way I shopped for groceries. I just threw things into the cart as I went along. So after that I just drop her off at the store and she calls me up when she need to be picked up. Makes things more serene in our household I think.
My parents used to spend a lot of money at a bistro in Beverly Hills. I remember once going with them and having my step-father fight with his best friend about who was getting the bill. I think she still cringes inside when we go to dinner. I think it's funny, she doesn't!!!

Offline DCcowboy

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Re: Trip Report/Introduction
« Reply #32 on: February 07, 2019, 06:26:02 PM »
GREAT STORY!! it gave my great insight to my Russian Lady. Thank you so much for sharing! We are 16 years different, so I fall into both parts of your story.

Offline rmcmonty

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Re: Trip Report/Introduction
« Reply #33 on: February 07, 2019, 06:40:43 PM »
DC - I think it depends on the maturity of the woman involved. I was 38 and my ex was 23 when we started playing house. I remember sitting at the bar after work one day and I tried to talk her out of being with me. However, it didn't work. MW now is 7 years younger than I am. But I have met FSU women much younger than that who, maybe by circumstances alone, are vastly more mature and know what they want and more importantly, to me at least, know what they absolutely don't want. Sometimes what they want and what you want are exactly the same. Sometimes not but, after almost 18 years of marriage to MW, there is nothing about her I would change. My life since 2001 has been almost idyllic. I may sound a little crazy by stating that but for the first time in my entire life I finally found love. Thanks for the reply and good luck.
Monty

Offline rmcmonty

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Re: Trip Report/Introduction
« Reply #34 on: February 08, 2019, 06:06:52 AM »
When we finally reached her apt the same things happened that happened in July. But trying to fit her whole family and friends into a 1 room apt was interesting to say the least. There was food, drink and I watched Mama, Mama’s sister and a friend of Mama’s drink a whole, big bottle of tequila straight. God, I could have made a fortune with them in the US betting drinking American men under the table. Tequila didn’t phase them one bit! 

After a while, Mama left with her sister and friend because she had to go and take care of Pop who she left at Mama’s apt! MW and the rest sat around the apt and talked, ate and generally had a good time. After everyone was gone, we relaxed a bit and then went to Mama’s apt to see Pop. MW wanted to stop on the way and get Pop some ice cream because he loved it. No problem! We stayed with them for a while and then walked back to MW’s place. It was a very good day!

I was an early riser while staying with MW and daughter. Sleeping on a couch to me, was akin to being at sea and the “racks” were narrow and weren’t made for comfort! I usually liked to get up, make tea, open the window and smoke! When the women got up they would come into the kitchen have tea and we would plan our day’s activities. For MW and I it was taking care of getting things done so we could get married.

This particular day I was informed that we had to go to some Government building and get “something” related to the wedding. We hadn’t even spoken about “ZAG’s” yet! So, after breakfast, women doing what they do to prepare for the day was done, me dressed in jeans, 2 shirts and my nylon, OD green, flight jacket, we braved the winter day and walked to the Government Agency. To this day I have no idea what the place was for! We gathered all the paperwork we had prior to leaving the house.

Now I mentioned before that I wasn’t very intelligent! I forgot to buy “long Johns” for my trip. Being very unintelligent, and a pro at weather, I thought (WRONG) that a city being on the same latitude as Kodiak, AK would have the, approximately, same type of climate, again WRONG. My jacket came only to my waist and subsequently my butt froze easily! Ever tried to buy or explain “Long Underwear” in the FSU? Utterly impossible. But people gave me funny looks when MW tried to explain what they were!

By the time we reached this “Agency” I was about ¾ frozen. MW, the intelligent one bought me a scarf, gloves and a knit hat to wear! My head, neck and hands were warm but my butt was an ice cube! MW walked around talking to several people about where we needed to go. Found the appropriate office and went in. I should mention that MW and I had very few arguments in the past but this time we were going to have some beauties! I usually am a calm person. I was able to control my temper. But, thinking about my genealogy I made some very intelligent (Maybe) deductions. I am Scottish (on Dad’s side) German, Navajo or Apache and Mexican (on Mother’s side) all my mother’s side of the family had terrible tempers and, the absolute worst was my maternal grandmother. This crazy lady literally threw a knife at me and it stuck in the wall about a foot from my head! I said “damn Nanny, you could have killed me!” She looked calmly at me and said “If I wanted you dead, you would be!” God, I miss that woman! So, I was cursed with the triple whammy. Scottish, German, Navajo or Apache and Mexican! I looked like my father. Blonde/light brown hair, grey eyes, 5’8” and 165 lbs. Do you think I would have inherited some of his temperament? Not a chance. My temper came from my mother! So, after 20 years in the CG and being a Chief I was expected to yell at people. MW wasn’t in the CG and so I didn’t feel the need to revert and call in the Chief! However, when I had the few “Temper Tantrums” she could calm me down in a heart beat by one phrase! “Montychek, is Russia!" That did it. No more tantrum. She had to use the magic phrase about 10 times at the agency. I blew up, she said the magic phrase, I calmed down, next tantrum coming up!

My lack of intelligence was becoming clear now! Remember the Apostille I needed to get? I needed it before anything went forward with our marriage. Well, Mr. Smart knew the law, and found that there are no short cuts in Russia. Quick find an internet café so we could get the address of the Nevada Secretary of State’s address!!! We got the address, found out how much this damned Apostille was going to cost me. Luckily I could pay online with a CC so that was good news for once! Went to the Post Office and sent it out “Express Mail.”

MW called a lawyer who was also a licensed translator and a notary. She told her that we could at least start having all my documents translated into Russian and she would notarize them all without the Apostille. Good news at last. MW got the address and hailed a cab! No more freezing butt for me.

After the lawyer, MW said she needed to go to her parent’s house and take care of Pop. She also informed me we had to stop to buy Pop some ice cream. She told the driver where to go and off we went. MW had to care for Pop on a daily basis. She would shave him, take him to the bathroom, etc. I would tell MW, when we went to the parent’s to make it clear to her mother I was NOT hungry and just wanted tea. Clear as mud, eh? Not. She would tell mama that and it was as if she were speaking Latin. No response but much food came my way! I was used to eating only once a day for the past 30+ years. On a ship or standing watches you had a choice. Eat or sleep! I always chose to sleep rather than eat. So, having 3 squares a day wasn’t something I did or was used to. I tried to explain this to MW and she nodded that she understood. However, the nod was just to confuse me and lure me into a false sense of security. Even to this day, some 18 years later, she still asks me about 5 to 10 times “is there something I can get or do for you?” Which translated from MW speak to: Are you hungry and what can I make for you.” Although she smiles at me and says OK, I still feel her doubts that she isn’t a good wife, just because I don’t get as hungry as she does at certain times of the day!

My brother used to call us on a regular basis to invite us over to their place. There was a Russian code you had to learn to decrypt the message. The code was: I’m peeling and about ready to fry potato’s and the chicken is frying.” Decoded this meant: Come over, and don’t forget the vodka! One night after receiving the code and acknowledging it, my nephew and niece came by and we all decided to go together. Nephew had a car so he was going to drive. We had to stop at a magazine to pick up the vodka. There was a boy, I’d guess was 8 to 10 years old outside the magazine, which looked like a 7-11 store to me, and asked MW for money. Apparently, he told her his parents were alcoholics and he hadn’t eaten in a couple of days. MW came back to the car and asked me what she should do. I told her to not just give him money and if he was as hungry as he said, offer to buy him food. Have him pick it out and tell the shop keeper to NOT exchange the food for money! She did exactly that. The boy picked out the food he wanted and started eating it like his throat had been cut and hadn’t eaten for months.

It’s not like I’m an easy touch when it comes to someone asking for food. I’ve seen pan handlers all over. Mostly they are drunks who need money for wine. They aren’t too sophisticated in their pleas though. If you offer to take them to a store or café and buy them a meal they usually decline and you know it’s for booze. This kid seemed very hungry and sad. I would however, give money to this older woman at the supermarket who was horribly disfigured. Face, hands, she couldn’t see well and had to look very closely at the notes I gave her. I also found, for me, that being in a foreign country, the currency of the country seemed like play money to me. Russia was no different. I really had no clue about how much something cost in rubles. MW had to educate me on what was what and how much was how much!

We got to the brother and sister’s home and had a great old time. As usual. Niece and nephew had to go earlier than we wanted so we called for a taxi. I did learn in July that taxi’s came in “5 minutes” which was BS but it was always 5 minutes no more, no less. They were there usually around 10 to 15 minutes so I used to calculate when to call the taxi. Back then, taxi fares were the equivalent to 1USD anywhere in the city of YO. Where brother and sister lived it was 2USD. MW always told me the trolley was only a few kopec’s and I was wasting my money on taxis. In one ear and out the other for me!

There was really nothing to do about the wedding since we had to wait for the Apostille from Nevada to come. To me, YO and Russia was a magical place. Things I had never seen before. Some wonderful, some not so wonderful. In July, I discovered what I came to call “The Chicken Shop!” Everything and anything made with chicken was sold there. I always got a kick watching, what seemed to be, every dog and cat in the neighborhood hovering around that shop. The babooshka’s would buy chicken feet and heads and toss them to the animals waiting for a hand out. They sold amazing chicken cutlets and I loved them. Very tasty, as MW would say!

Now you can say that Russian people are very cold, suspicious and calculating. That maybe so outside. But, if you are fortunate enough to be invited to a Russian home all the coldness, suspicion and calculation disappears immediately. I’ve never seen a people so eager to please a guest and would, it appeared to my western eye, that they would spend their last ruble making you feel comfortable, well fed, and drunk!

MW had 2 cats and there was a “Cat-man” who lived next door. Every time one of her cats went into heat, they ended up pregnant by “Cat-man.” When the kittens were born, MW had to drown the newborns ☹ I had offered to send her money and I think I did once, to get both of them spayed so she wouldn’t have to murder the kittens. It’s funny, for me, that I could and had watched a man die and not feel much but an animal, dog, cat, etc., bothered me so much I couldn’t be in the room when the vet had to put them down. Am I cold, unfeeling? I don’t know but that has stuck in me for years and years. It’s still the same today as way, way back then.

Anyway, MW never had her cats fixed. She told me that she could use the money for much better things. Like makeup, food, rent, you name it she could use the money for a higher purpose than to have her cats fixed and not have to go through the agony of drowning the kittens. I don’t want this to sound as me making a value judgement of her. On the contrary, I never had to live “hand to mouth” or so to speak. In a way, I was living like a Russian with her and my daughter.

The epic will continue
« Last Edit: February 08, 2019, 07:05:33 AM by rmcmonty »

Offline rmcmonty

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Re: Trip Report/Introduction
« Reply #35 on: February 08, 2019, 08:16:55 AM »
I find I’m running out of cash. Not wanting a CC advance, I decided to call Lucy (my friend in Vegas) and gave her my bank info and asked that she get $500 and Western Union it to me. Now, Lucy and I had been friends for years. We even tried to get together. Both of us agreed it wasn’t going to happen and we were better friends than lover’s so we kept our friendship on that level and it worked out beautifully. Instead of hitting my bank account she just sent me the $500 out of her own pocket. Love that woman. Lucy knew me well enough that I would pay her back the moment I got back to Vegas. I do remember when I got back to Vegas, calling Lucy up and had her meet me at the local Denny’s. She agreed and when we met, I handed her 5 $100 bills. She said I didn’t have to pay her as soon as I did but I reminded her that I had promised her that she’d get the money back as soon as I got back! She then surprised me by saying that I was the only person who had ever paid her back who she had lent money to!

MW has met her at our house in Vegas. They got along very well. I had told MW about how we tried to be with each other and the outcome. I may be blowing smoke up my own butt on this. But I believe my past doesn’t bother her one bit. As hers doesn’t bother me. We are man and wife and nothing from the past has ever bothered her or me. Except for one small and insignificant thing: MY SON!

MW and I made a deal that consisted of: What ever happened in our past life up to the moment we committed to each other was ancient history. For me, ancient history is usually bad history. Past relationships would and could be talked about if we wanted but we believed that the past shouldn’t interfere with our present and future lives. Still is true today as it was when we agreed years ago! MW was as honest as I was about the past. Besides we would have known about our past history by getting married in Russia. Kind of hard to hide “Final Divorce Decrees” even if you think you are sneaky!

With nothing to do until that damned Apostille came, I decided it was a very good time to buy wedding rings. I had never worn a wedding ring in my life. My standard excuse was I couldn’t wear one because I worked around electricity all the time. Pretty good dodge. The real reason was I was a cheater with every woman I had ever been with. I didn’t wear rings because I didn’t want the giveaway of a pale ring shape on my left hand.

We went shopping for rings. Several shops later we both decided that a plain gold wedding band would fit us both nicely. MW is not one to want to flaunt anything. She is probably the most down to earth person I’ve ever met. She told me that buying a diamond engagement ring was somewhat silly because why have a diamond when a plain gold band would work. Not sure if she were blowing smoke up my tail pipe with this but, she’s never lied to me before or complained that she wanted pricey “stuff.” So, we had the rings, she had the dress. She just needed shoes. I told her we could go shopping for shoes and she told me she had a friend who offered to lend her shoes for the wedding. I asked her if me getting $500 from Lucy bothered her? She shrugged, but I believed it did and she felt as if she was the reason I had to get more money from home. I was still learning about Russian women!
It was decided that we would have the reception at “our” apt. Fitting that many people in that tiny apt would be a problem but MW said it wouldn’t be a huge deal and we could do it easily. Well, it was her apt and she knew how many people could fit in it. Another decision made and the plans kept getting resolved.

I had used up all the “real American cigarettes” I had brought with me. I found that buying Marlboro Lights in Russia cost about 240rbs which, at that time was about $10.00. Cheap at half the cost! I would buy 2 cartons and put them in the refrigerator till I needed them. Pack by pack started disappearing. I kept asking MW if I was smoking way too much. She didn’t notice. I told her I thought our daughter was stealing them! She agreed but decided not to confront her yet! I didn’t feel that my future daughter liked or trusted me still. I didn’t want to alienate her by trying to be her real father a few packs of cigarettes didn’t bother me in the least. I needed to find a way of getting through to her that I wasn’t going to hurt her mother or any of the other demons she had cooked up in her head. Today, now, as I’ve said before, we love each other very much. She calls me “Papa Monty.” Today, she brings the kids over to our house for a weekend visit. They stay 2 days then my “SIL” comes and picks them up. I remember when my son’s mother was pregnant with him I would pat her stomach and say “there’s my little boy!’ It aggravated my ex and her mother to the extent she said: What happens if she has a girl? I would answer, I’ll send it back!

I would piss and moan at work about how I was being eased out of my son’s life. One of the old timers told me: Don’t you know that a boy is his mother’s for life but a girl belongs to her father always (or something like that.) That didn’t hit me till I met my daughter then it made perfect sense! I now, or somewhat, knew why I felt the need to have her like me. Recently we were hashing over things and me coming to Russia happened to come up in the conversation. I told her: Do you think I would be stupid enough to spend thousands of dollars, fly 10,000 miles just to get laid? That hit home for her. It was easy for her to digest after she was in the US and her mother and I were so happy, even after the years we’ve been together. But in Russia I couldn’t have had her understand that message.


Hooray! The Apostille arrived. The only thing to do now is to get it, take it to the lawyer and have her translate and notarize it! MW decided it would be best to go to ZAGS and get a date we could marry. Great idea! More Russian stuff to do! MW said: Ooooh we have to stop at a magazine and get a little gift for the woman at ZAGS. Gift? WTF over? MW was firm on this and said the if we wanted to get married soon, we had to do “BLAT” which I understood as “grease” or “juice” as we said in Vegas! To me it was just a bribe but it was our wedding and her country so I just went along and followed her like a puppy dog wondering where the hell we were going. She decided that a small bottle of perfume would do the trick nicely. OK, you’ve got my money so buy it and let’s get back to ZAGS and finish up all the stuff we had to do! We walked inside and she found someone to tell us where to go. Waited and the woman came out and greeted us. We had all our papers with us however, I still felt some dread coming over me. Not that I was going to be married but not really understanding the Russian bureaucracy with the way my luck had been going in this matter, I was sure the woman would find a way to deny the wedding! I was wrong. MW was beaming, I was smiling, the woman said all papers were in order, when did we want to get married. In a strategic move, MW pulled out the bottle of perfume and said “this if for you!” The woman then looked at the appointment book and said “How is November 22nd? (MW translated this for me😊) MW told me the date, told her how is it for you? She said good. Ok no problem November 22nd it is at 5:00 PM. Now comes a confusing aspect of Russian life for me. The lady handed MW a receipt. MW thanked her (I understood spasiba) and she got up and motioned to me to follow her. What no leash? I followed and she explained that anytime you wanted to pay for something like bills or government things you needed to go to a post office, pay them, they give you a receipt to bring back to the place you paid. Are we all on the same page. No one confused? Good! Back to ZAGS, give the receipt and DONE!

More to come

Offline rmcmonty

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Re: Trip Report/Introduction
« Reply #36 on: February 08, 2019, 11:21:46 AM »
All that was left to do was buy food for the reception (MW’s Job) get flowers, and lastly get rides for the people to ZAGS and back to apt after ceremony.

Disaster: Daughter came in and showed MW her winter boots. The soles were coming off and it looked to me like she needed new boots! Next off to hunt for boots for a 21 year old. I’m so very happy (NOT.) We went to about every shoe store in YO. Trying them on, nope, looking at others, nope, off to another store. In my mind, I couldn’t believe she didn’t like any of the boots she tried on. I think she was on a mission to make me totally crazy! From one part of town to another we trekked with no end in sight. Shop after shop trying on anything that caught her eye, nothing! Finally, after almost circumventing the city of YO I had had enough! I told MW to ask her if she didn’t like any of the boots she had tried on during our trek? My daughter started crying and told MW that she loved several pairs but thought they were way too expensive and she didn’t want me to pay such a price for her boots. I told MW to tell her I didn’t care about the price as long as she liked them. Success after MW told her that she smiled and picked the pair she had tried on in many different stores. End of disaster back home to get ready for the wedding that was soon to come.

We had almost everything we needed for the reception. I asked MW if she wanted to rent a café for it. No, I want it at home.
OK, she was the boss of the event. The only thing left was to arrange for extra vehicles to transport the elderly folks to ZAGS and back to our apt. Now, it’s time to explain that I was not a major player in this endeavor. I was the least important person in all of this now. Everything was up to the women. I had MW make a call to my friend “Slava” and ask if he could arrange for transportation. Slava said: Of course, am I invited to wedding and reception? Yes, you are Slava. He had some business to take care of and had to miss the actual wedding but made it for the reception. Slava was a good friend. He provided two or three sedans for us for free!

Wedding Day Arrives: The curse of Citizen X

Thursday, November 22, 2001. The day is upon me. All preparation is done. MW ironing the dress, my suit and shirt all seems ok. Suddenly someone found there were not enough lemons in the house and we needed more flowers. My brother and I were recruited to go to the supermarket for these items. Great I thought. They are sending me with a person who can’t utter a word of English but “No Problem,” and someone (me) who couldn’t read or speak Russian. I followed my brother outside and we walked to where we could jump on a mini-van to get the required items. Needless to say, this was about 2:30 or 3:00 PM. The wedding was at 5, good time to figure out what they needed. We got on the mini-van and it headed right to the supermarket stop. Out we jump and into the place where they sell produce and flowers. Brother said he would take care of getting the flowers but needed money to get them. I held out my hand and he took what was needed. I couldn’t tell him that I couldn’t buy lemons because I couldn’t speak Russian. Didn’t matter, he pointed to where I should go, and I looked for lemons. Found them tried to pay and couldn’t understand what the woman was saying. AHA! Do what I did in Japan, the PI, Spain etc. Took out some money, showed it to her and shrugged my shoulders. I guess she understood and took some money and smiled at me. I have no idea how much I paid for the lemons but it was done. Back to find my brother in the flower section, got him, back to the mini-van stop and home.

In previous shopping experience with MW I looked at the price of the lemons and other produce and thought they were very expensive until MW mentioned to me the price was “Per kilo” and not per item! Duh! Safe at home I had to shower, shave and get dressed. “Murphy’s Law” comes into mind. MW ironing, me showering and wham, the lights go out! Screaming at each other, find the candles from MW utter chaos! I started shaving by candlelight hoping I wouldn’t cut my own throat. Then getting dressed, also by candlelight. Wondering if the power would be on by the time we got back for the reception. Everyone dressed, cars were there, time to leave for ZAGS.

ZAGS is across the river from where MW lived. We arrived and entered the building and we were met by a woman who asked what time our appointment was. She then directed us to a room to prepare ourselves for the actual wedding. My nephew was acting as my Best Man. One of MW’s good friends was Maid of Honor. A photographer came and wanted to sell us wedding pictures. The room was interesting. There were 2 thrones where we would sit in. We opted for a few pictures in the room, sitting on the thrones and some upstairs at the actual wedding!

My nephew said: Walk, walk, talk, talk, kiss, kiss, dance, dance…Next! Now is why I named this “Curse of Citizen X.” We were directed to a large stairway and told to wait till the music started playing then walk up the stairs and enter the room where the door was open. OK, so far so good. The music started playing, we started walking. Into the room where the door was open! Now this is where the movie Citizen X comes in. To me, seeing the room, I half expected to see a portrait of Gorbachev staring at me. There was a huge, long desk inside. I expected to see 5 or 6 communists sitting at the table waiting to question me. Instead there was a slender woman standing, not smiling watching us.

We approached her and she greeted us, of course this was all in Russian. MW, bless her soul, tried to translate everything but was so nervous she forgot all the English she knew. The rest is a blur for me. We were directed to go to the end of the table where she brandished a stick and pointed to where we were to sign. We signed, then the Best Man and Maid of Honor signed. Back in front of her, wondering if I had confessed to some espionage crime! The woman spoke more then handed me MW’s documents, passport and certificate of marriage. To this day, I don’t know when MW and I were actually pronounced man and wife! MW then told me we were married and to kiss her, no problem, I kissed her. Then music came on and we danced for a little while. Music off, out the door with my life and wife, down the stairs, congratulations from everyone around and home we go. We went to the WWII memorial to place carnations at the monument but it was way too cold so, my nephew and brother took the flowers for us while we waited in the warm car. :)

More to Follow



 

« Last Edit: February 08, 2019, 11:32:41 AM by rmcmonty »

Offline rmcmonty

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Re: Trip Report/Introduction
« Reply #37 on: February 09, 2019, 10:25:11 AM »
The reception was fun. My head was still spinning. When we walked inside the apt, MW’s aunt (the bootlegger I called her) greeted us with a traditional Russian marriage custom. It looked like bread and salt. MW had to show me what to do with it. MW told me to take a bite out of it. She said the whoever gets the biggest bite would become the head of the household. That being done and after everyone stopped laughing, I guess I took a smaller bite than MW. Now I could actually see the work that was done while we were at ZAGS and after the lights came back on. The entire living room held a huge table. So huge in fact it was hard to walk around the thing. Plate upon plate were on the table. Wine, champagne, vodka (some of her aunt’s creations I’d bet) and other drinks. MW’s Maid of Honor pulled out this long list of paper where she had written the rules of being a good Russian Husband and Wife. Didn’t understand a word nor could I read any of it. It was nice of her to do all that work.
After dinner we played some Russian wedding games like taking a lemon or an orange, blind folding the wife, and putting the fruit up inside the man’s trouser leg and she had to get it around to the other leg. We all had a great time. My daughter even started warming up to me. I guess she actually believed what I had told her! I felt wonderful. For the first time in my life I knew deep down I had done something I had never done before. I wooed the woman, kept every promise I ever made to her and her family and came back to marry her! I am totally convinced that I did exactly the right thing when I began this journey back in March 2001. I also believe that I never really loved any of the women I married in the US. I trust MW with my life and she trusts me with hers. All I can say is it was a great trip and the new episode of our lives were just beginning!

Married Couple Woes and Surprises!

Suffering from CRS, I can’t remember the next few days after we were married. I knew that we had to go to, what she ‘splained’ to me was the local ‘Passport Agency,’ some trivia here: MW told and showed me people in the Russian Federation have a local passport they carry. She showed me hers and it was like everything she did, worked, lived, married was memorialized in that little red book! She said we needed to “register our marriage and she needed a new domestic passport”. Ok, no problem. We or she decided we should go Monday morning and get it done. For me, being a “Jr.” was never a big thing. I used my name with or without the “Jr” and people in the US still knew I was the same person with or without the “Jr.” Not so true in Russia or other countries I think but I’m probably wrong on this assumption. On my military papers, ID, Security Clearance forms, DL, Birth Certificate and any real important issues the “Jr.,” is on the document and, in the Military, filling out clearance update forms I needed to place it on them, the “Jr.,” part.

We got to the agency and she waited to be called in to get her new or updated domestic PP. She came back out about 45 minutes to an hour later with a brand new, updated PP. She showed me it and I asked what the 2 letters after her name meant! She told me it was Jr., So now, in the RF she was forever known as: Her first, middle and new last name PLUS “Jr.” Her new name sounded funny to me. I (with the exception of some celebrities) had never heard of a woman being a “Jr.” I asked to talk with a lady who seemed to be answering question there, to see if the offending ending could be changed? She did and came back saying that in Russia her married name, all of it, was officially what she will be identified as and, no she couldn’t drop the Jr! Not a biggie in the FSU but I was thinking ahead to K-3 visa and US immigration. Would this be a problem? I had to wait till I got home and call my law school buddy and ask him since he was an Immigration Attorney in San Diego! Has anyone ever noticed that people who you have shared a common bond with, either professionally just friendly who is a “licensed professional” usually law, medicine, etc., gets calls from past friends with questions concerning their specialty? I’m glad my buddy was understanding. I told him, back in school, if he ever needed a divorce lawyer, I was his guy “pro-bono,” which means “for free!” Believe it or not, he remembered our pact!
  After I returned to Vegas after the July trip, I was thinking about how much work she had to do in YO with her job and always taking care of Pop. Once home, I called, and we discussed the possibility of her quitting her job and explained my reasoning for asking. She asked what she would do for money? I told her that she shouldn’t worry about it as I would take care of it. We discussed how much money she would need to live in a better way? She didn’t know so I told her “how about 100 a month? She agreed and in August 2001, she called and said she had quit her job.

Days slipped into weeks and my time with wife, daughter and family was quickly coming to an end. We had decided that I would leave on December 16th and asked daughter if she wanted to come along and we would spend a few days in Moscow sightseeing till my flight left on the 18th. She jumped at the suggestion and MW, me and daughter went to the train station to buy tickets. We opted for a four person compartment, paid, and had the tickets.

Earlier in this saga I mentioned lying as a “not ever excused sin?” I had bought an early camera that took pictures and they went onto a 3.5” floppy disc. One day, I went looking for it at our apt. I had decided to sell it and found I could get a great price for it in YO. We looked everywhere for the camera and it was gone! Finally, we asked daughter and she said she had no idea where it went! I wouldn’t find out what happened to that stupid camera until MW as already in the US. Seems daughter had this boyfriend MW and I knew nothing about. He and she stole the camera and sold it and split the profit. We had no idea where it went but MW was sure she would find it after I left.
At any rate, MW (in the US for about a year or so) confronted her about this boyfriend and the camera came up in their ‘Russian’ conversation. I had no idea what they were talking about and really didn’t care since it was probably about family, how daughter was doing, mother daughter stuff! Then MW handed me the phone and said daughter wanted to talk to me. Now, that was a surprise, she had never wanted to talk to me in the past! MW was listening on the extension and simultaneously translated the conversation. Daughter confessed to stealing and selling that stupid camera. She tried to alibi the sin by blaming it on her ex-boyfriend. I was not surprised because I had a feeling she had taken it. Tears flowed. I asked MW if she thought the tears and weeping were genuine and MW said yes, I think it was also. I told daughter that I couldn’t care less about the camera. What I cared about was her lying about it and showing MW and myself no respect by lying. I relented, feeling that my father’s rule about lying shouldn’t be relevant in this case. However, I did tell her, and rather sternly, that she violated MW and my trust and she had to atone for it by promising MW and I she would always tell us the truth about things. She was still sobbing and MW told me she agreed. End of problem. Trust was forming, slowly but surely! Our daughter never lied to us again! To this very day, she has always told the truth, of course this is combined with MW’s vouching for her!

About 2 days before we left for Moscow, MW found out her ex-mother in law had died. Daughter and wife went to the X-MIL’s home to pay their respects. MIL was daughter’s grandmother so it was very appropriate she went. MW hit me up for some money and giving it to her, I casually asked what it was for? She told me it was a Russian Tradition to put money into the deceased coffin. I didn’t understand because I wasn’t Russian. I gave her the money and they went to the wake at the apartment. The body was in the apartment and would stay there until the day of the funeral!

It was the day we were to leave for Moscow and me leaving my family. We had spent the night before saying goodbye to other people, friends, cousins etc., but this one was for Mamma and Pop. We spent about an hour or so there not forgetting to get Pop his ice cream. It was sad because, as I would learn a day or so after I got home, Pop had died.

I had gotten very sick about a month after arriving for the wedding. I knew what was wrong I had developed a bad case of bronchitis and was having a difficult time breathing. MW called one of her classmates and told her what was happening to me. About 25 minutes later an ambulance arrived with 2 nurses and a doctor (all female!) I told MW, that no matter what the doctor said, I was NOT going to a Russian hospital. The doctor examined, gave me this IV which I tried to talk her out of giving to me and declared that the IV would help and she told MW to go to the APTEKA (I learned later that meant Pharmacy) and fill the prescription. I recovered quickly. Before the crew left, I asked how much. Answer: NIL, Nothing, NADA! Isn’t life in Russia grand? I only mention this because Pop was so sick the MD’s were at his apartment constantly. Funny, in Russia they still made house calls! Pop had undergone several surgeries but they came to nothing to help him.


Back to Moscow and the Police!!

The trip was uneventful. Daughter and I, for some reason were getting along famously. Go figure. I think it was because I was leaving and she’d have MW all to herself again. I had told daughter that I would find a way to get her to the states even if it killed me. I would find her a man. She seemed to like the idea and I had a sneaky suspicion that she knew that when I promised something I would deliver, it would just take some time!

We stayed at the Hotel Arbat again. Settled in and decided what to do? CRS kicking in again. We decided to go to Red Square and look around. It was a great place to walk. Easy to get from Arbat to Red Square via the Metro. We walked around, went inside GUM and window shopped (they window shopped, I pretended to be interested but really wasn’t!) It was very cold in Moscow but clear. I had never been inside the Kremlin, so we decided to go and check out some of the old buildings, that we could get in to. Another new experience for me. There were different prices for RF citizens and foreigners! My ticket was almost twice what MW and daughters were.
The Kremlin was beautiful, the churches were historic and intricate. Loved just strolling around with them and taking in the sights, just like an American tourist! I wanted to go to the tomb of Russia’s Unknown Soldier and pay my respects. We walked around some more and looked at different things all very interesting. I had seen the monument to Marshal Zhukov in an earlier trip, so we passed on him.

I had spent 2 months in Russia and 2 weeks earlier. Never had a problem with anyone or anything. In YO there was no problem because my nephew was a detective in the YO PD. Never had a problem in Moscow. Things change, and sometimes very quickly. I had told MW if I ever got detained or arrested anywhere, she was to contact the nearest US Embassy and speak with the USDAO’s (US Defense Attache Office,) and ask what to do? Telling them your husband or boyfriend was arrested and is a Retired US Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer, and where I was being detained at. Also, what crime I had been arrested for!

I had noticed while I was paying my respects to the Unknown, a policeman was eyeing me. I wasn’t worried much but, after I walked a respectable distance from the tomb, I put my hat back on and he stopped us! Passport please! At least the cop understood English and spoke some, if not as good, as I did

MW carried my passport in her purse and she gave it to me and I handed it to him! He then asked me where my visa was! This was before Russia actually placed the visa permanently in your passport, so I had the 3 or 4 page paper visa the hotel didn’t or forgot to give it back to me with my Passport after registering there. Panic! but I don’t think I showed it. Immediately MW and daughter started, outwardly, panicking, I told him the hotel I/we are staying at must have not given me the visa back. But I could stay there with him and MW and daughter could go back to the hotel, get it and come right back here!

Now, daughter was crying, I was smiling, wife was speaking Russian to the cop, the cop started getting a tad pissed off because I wouldn’t take the bait. It became obvious to me he was looking for a bribe or “Blat” from the stupid American. I think my flight jacket tipped him off! I told my wife to get to the Embassy and talk to USDAO or a consular official and tell them what had happened. I also told MW to ask where the cop was going to take me? She tried to tell me that they wouldn’t let her in the Embassy she thought. If that did happen, I told her to find a marine guard and tell him/her the story and your husband had told you what to do in case this happened. My rank, even though retired, in the military always helped before and I hoped the marine recognizing I was a high-ranking enlisted man, even though retired, required respect for the rank!

I think the cop knew his shakedown wasn’t going to work. The more he tried to intimidate me the more I smiled. No, I wasn’t trying to act arrogant I just didn’t like the idea of being held hostage for, what I believed was, an innocent mistake easily remedied. The fact that I knew what to do could have been interpreted by the cop I had told MW exactly what to do and who to see! Finally, the cop got more pissed knowing I wouldn’t pay or even suggest something blatantly illegal, he figured out he wasn’t going to get paid so either arrest me and take me in or let me go with a stern warning! He opted for the second choice. Said to MW: Take your American husband back to the hotel and get the visa and never walk around Moscow without passport and visa! We left and walked around for a while longer, walked to the Metro and back to the hotel.

Other than, almost being arrested, the rest of our “holiday” was uneventful but fun.

The next day I was off, back to the USA and Vegas. It was a bitter sweet departure. Yes, I was happy MW and daughter were there to see me off but saddened that I had to again leave them. The only bright side to all of this was that soon MW would have her K-3 visa and would actually come to the US and me!

At SVO we waited and sat till my flight was called. I had checked in already and received a seat assignment, got lucky again and had an aisle seat! I never liked people coming to see me off or when my ship got underway for a patrol. It was a sad time and the small talk didn’t mean much. Daughter crying, wife looking very sad. Me, trying to cheer them up, to no avail! The woman at the check in counter told me what time to go through security and the time was here! I told MW that I had to go through security and she and daughter should go back to the hotel and relax before the train left at 5:00 PM. She kissed me, now she was crying, so was daughter as she hugged and kissed me on the cheek, as a good daughter would, and I felt like crying but kept strong! Security was long and a mess. I had ensured I had no prohibited items in carry-on or packed inside, just as a precaution. I did have 4 or 5 cartons of Russian Marlboro Lights in my suitcase plus about the same amount of vodka in it also. No problem on the Russian side but could be trouble going through customs at LAX. It was worth the chance!

The trip was uneventful till we landed at LAX. Immigration was fine, no problems and a “Welcome Home” from the immigration inspector/officer.

Getting back to Vegas was a snap and I arrived tired and missing my family very much!

I lied. Gonna keep it here because I too stupid to know how to start a new thread :)

 













« Last Edit: February 09, 2019, 03:21:23 PM by rmcmonty »

Offline rmcmonty

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Re: Trip Report/Introduction
« Reply #38 on: February 09, 2019, 03:22:27 PM »
Married and K-3 Visa 2002


Being home again was different. I knew I had a great deal of paper work to start but just didn’t feel like jumping into it immediately. I just walked around my condo and wished my wife was already here. I thought, maybe I should have just stayed in Russia and filed for her K-3 visa in Moscow. In retrospect, I would have had to quit my job, rent my condo and move to Yoshkar-Ola. Coulda, woulda, shoulda! I didn’t do that even as much as I wanted to. I needed to keep working and I had to stay in Nevada.

I found out that my father-in-law (Pop,) had died 2 days after I left for home and my wife was a wreck. She did call me and tell me what had happened. My first impulse was to find out if she had enough money for his funeral? I did send money just in case. Money was a touchy issue with MW. After my first trip in July 2001, she had only called and asked me for money once and that was only for $10.00 due to her not being paid. I had talked her into quitting her job because she was working and taking care of her father who had Parkinson’s Disease and hated to ask for anything from me, even after we were married.

Her father’s death hit her very hard. It was her responsibility to sit with his body overnight until the funeral took place. I felt bad I wasn’t there to give some comfort, but how can a person comfort grief on such a scale? For those who haven’t been in the FSU for a funeral, to someone from the west it’s extremely weird. The body is usually kept in the house. The coffin is delivered to the home. The lid is kept at the apartment complex entrance. The body is not embalmed. All the cosmetic and other preparations are taken care of by the women in the family. On the day of the funeral, the open casket is moved to the entrance of the apartment building a bus is usually there. The casket, still unopened, is placed on 2 “saw horses” and there is much moaning, groaning and wailing from the babushka’s who live nearby. After that little ceremony, the casket is slid into the back door of the bus, uncovered, the lid is placed inside the bus and off to the cemetery for the actual burial. MW used to tell me I couldn’t have handled a Russian funeral. She was probably right!

While I was in YO, after our marriage we had to get her an International Passport with her new name because her domestic PP had her new name on it. I went with her to the passport agency. However, as she told me, “blat” was involved in the transaction. She drug me, by the collar, to various “magazines” to find a suitable bottle of vodka and she also needed to buy 2 lemons. We had a little argument about the lemons! The magazine she purchased the vodka in was crowded with men drinking and waiting in line for their booze! I went outside and fumed! WTF are these lemons for? An expensive bottle should have done the trick, I thought! MW explained that she had to give something else to go with the vodka or it wouldn’t do. OK, it’s your country and customs so we were off looking for 2 lousy lemons! Finally, we had the 2 lemons and off to the PP agency. She gave the man the vodka and lemons, told him when she needed the international PP and he nodded and said yes, OK, I can do it!

MW’s domestic PP had her name with “Jr.” on it. However, her international PP didn’t have the “Jr.”  After seeing the international PP, I immediately thought, knowing how Customs and Immigration services worked, it wouldn’t have surprised me one bit if they wouldn’t have allowed her into the USA because of that damned “Jr.,” not being on the PP or visa. “I’m with the government, I’m here to help you!” NOT.

Back in Vegas and starting on her visa paperwork. I had all the required papers I needed. I started the paperwork. Not very complicated. I finished the application for the K-3 visa, copied them for my own protection and mailed them “registered mail, return receipt requested with a money order for all the required fees.”

Luckily, there were no problems with papers or other things. I called MW and told her the paperwork for her visa was on the way to BCIS and I’d let her know the progress when heard from them.

I had decided to take a break for a while and didn’t start the actual paperwork until the beginning of January 2002. I am not a patient person. I want what I want when I want it! I waited a couple of weeks before starting to check my mailbox in earnest to get any updates or approvals from BCIS. I was really happy to hear they received the visa application and things seemed to be on track. About a month later I received the notice that the visa had been approved and was being sent to the consulate in Moscow for an interview to be scheduled. Now, the waiting was killing me. A month to get the visa application approved and sent to Moscow wasn’t all that bad!. Back then, there was no way to track appointments or where your wife was on the list of interviewees. I also found out that she would have to get to Moscow a day earlier than her interview because she needed to get a medical examination and the results before the interview. More government BS and interference. I also learned that she had to pay to have her visa picked up and delivered, by DHL the next day, to the hotel she would be staying at in Moscow. Prior to the new visa delivery system, applicants who passed the interview were sent home and told to come back to pickup the visa later that afternoon. More DOS BS. With the old system she could have been on a plane the same day as her interview. Now another day was added.

During the process, I was getting more and more PO’d at the government and how slow the wheels turned. I called both US senators from Nevada and the member of the house from my district in Las Vegas. I was hot. I gave the people who talked to me hell! Did I want special treatment, hell yes, I did. I wanted her file marked with a “Congressional Interest” stamp on it so the idiots at DOS and the Moscow Consulate would know there was congressional interest in her. Did I throw a tantrum? Yep! And would do it again if it became necessary! You would think that being a retired chief would have taught me a little about “hurry up and wait!” But what the hell, I gave it a shot to improve the time line for her to get here! You can’t win if you don’t play!

While waiting for all this to happen I came upon an idea. “How was she supposed to navigate and find all these things in Moscow?” I needed someone to help her get from point A to point B while in Moscow. Who could I call? I can’t remember how I found the people but, I got their number in Moscow, how I got it and from who, I can’t remember. CRS,” and called them. We spoke for a while and the wife, of the couple, spoke English very well so I, at least could effectively, communicate with them. We talked about what they offered. She told me that from train pickup, hotel, medical, interview and SVO for departure would cost “X” amount of dollars. No problem I asked if they wanted a deposit? She told me to wire the money to my wife and she could pay them. Since MW didn’t yell at me about the cost, it must have been very reasonable. She did ask me to call or email them the date of the interview and what time the train my wife would be on arrived in Moscow and the station she would arrive at and time. Easy! Now, everything was finished and just had to wait for the interview time and date.

We still didn’t know when the date of her interview. It was about 3 weeks into March 2002 when I received this excited call from MW saying she received the letter with her interview date and time. Ok, this is very good. I told her I needed to make airline reservations for her on the 18th of April. I had looked at the Aeroflot flights and the only one that would really work had her leaving Moscow on the 18th of Apr. Her interview was scheduled for the 16th of April, she had to go get her medical on the 15th of April. Send more money now! This was the easy part because there was a Western Union near the Rossiya Hotel, where she was going to stay. I’m sure I sent money a few times waiting for her to leave YO for Moscow. I emailed the team who was going to look after her and told them the time line. Pickup at Kazanskiy Station at 0800 on Apr 15th, medical, Rossiya Hotel, Interview on Apr 16th. The rest MW could tell them.

The plane tickets were a bit of problem. I needed to get her to LAX or close to it so I could pick her up and she wouldn’t have to go to another terminal for her to fly into Vegas. Aeroflot only flew direct to LAX on Mon, Wed and Fri. The only Aeroflot flight was Moscow, SEATAC, SFO. I booked the tickets, paid for them and called MW to let her know the times. I told her she would have to clear customs in Seattle and if there was a problem call me at work. She understood. I told her I planned on picking her up at San Francisco Intl airport when she arrived so, don’t worry! No problems so far and we had some time to tweek things in case of any little problems.

Time stood still. She received the money I sent her, she went to the train station in YO and bought a one-way ticket to Moscow. Started packing and doing all the things she needed to do before leaving her home for good. In my mind it was sort of getting ready for a long patrol. You had to get into the mind set that you were going away and there was a sense that, in very rare cases, you might not come back!

I figured that if all went well, I would have to leave Vegas at around 0600 it was, I figured, the latest time, I could leave to   to get up to San Francisco in time to meet her flight. I wanted to be at least an hour early, just in case. I looked at the surveillance schedule and found I had the midnight to 0800 shift that day. I talked with the man who was going to relieve me and asked if he would come in before 0600 and relieve me so I could go meet MW in Frisco. I’m sure the surveillance crew were tired of hearing about MW’s trip and me being constantly pissed at the government, so he agreed, happy that this was the last time they would have to hear about it! On my end, everything was set.

In April everything moved smoothly. Medical done. Interview passed. She was told she had to pay for DHL delivery of visa for the next day. MW had a friend from YO that was leaving a day before her for Atlanta. They were at the same hotel in Moscow. So, she had a familiar face and circumstances as each other did.

It may sound strange, but I was happy to have had the midnight to 8:00 watch in surveillance. I know I wouldn’t have slept the entire night before she came. A few people asked me how I could work all night, drive to San Francisco without sleep and not kill myself? Easy, I told them when I was stationed at a communications station, we stood 12 hour shifts then after the last one. I would have 96 hours off. I would take off after we were relieved and drive to San Diego without any sleep and survived. I came to know I-5 very well back in the day
More to follow.

 

Online 2tallbill

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Re: Trip Report/Introduction
« Reply #39 on: February 21, 2019, 12:46:33 PM »
More to follow.

I've been holding off reading until you had a nice sized chunk to read since
I hate waiting until the next episode. I was just checking in to see if the peanut
gallery were picking anything apart. It looks as if they are being remarkably good.

Udachi!

Bill
FSUW are not for entry level daters
FSUW don't do vague
FSUW like a man of action. Be a man of action 
If you find a promising girl, get your butt on a plane.
There are a hundred ways to be successful and a thousand ways to f#ck it up
Kiss the girl, don't ask her first.

Offline rmcmonty

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Re: Trip Report/Introduction
« Reply #40 on: February 21, 2019, 01:49:55 PM »
Bill:

Oddly enough, they have been rather civil, since I really don't have much sage advice to give, being 15 or so years since I set foot on Russian territory and have never been to Ukraine. This is the last installment since I decided to just lump everything together as a "My Russian Wife" saga. I've been soliciting stories about my times in Russia from MW and our daughter, since my drinking stupidity surfaced there and I couldn't remember. My last time in YO was for a friend's wedding. It's a great story but too long to post here and it's too painful for me to re-live again!


Thanks for the feedback. Monty

Online Trenchcoat

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Re: Trip Report/Introduction
« Reply #41 on: February 21, 2019, 02:37:07 PM »
I've been holding off reading until you had a nice sized chunk to read since
I hate waiting until the next episode. I was just checking in to see if the peanut
gallery were picking anything apart. It looks as if they are being remarkably good.

Udachi!

Bill

One peanut here present and correct :D

Well I noticed the 1500 rouble would only be about $25 USD taking into account exchange costs so half of the $50 USD Monty thought it was. So she majorly over reacted on that one, even I would consider it a bargain :)

If Monty would like to swap I know of a great little fashionista Ukrainian girl who would only live too well to be bought stuff ;D That's the funny thing what may not suit one person can not be a problem for another.

The irony of WM seeking FSW because our society and relationships are a mess because of our values while FSU values is seen as preferably of our once USSR adversary is a strange outcome to say the least and many in the west thought western values as superior, lol.
No Deal is Ideal, It's a Free Britain we want :)

Offline rmcmonty

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Re: Trip Report/Introduction
« Reply #42 on: February 21, 2019, 02:56:59 PM »
Naw TC. After all these years, I wouldn't swap her for anything. Thanks for the offer though

Offline Boethius

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Re: Trip Report/Introduction
« Reply #43 on: February 21, 2019, 04:05:29 PM »
The irony of WM seeking FSW because our society and relationships are a mess because of our values while FSU values is seen as preferably of our once USSR adversary is a strange outcome to say the least and many in the west thought western values as superior, lol.


I don't believe most WM seek FSUW because of their "values".  The Slavic republics of the FSU have divorce rates as high, if not higher, than in the West.  The only reason it wasn't higher in Soviet times is because of housing. 


You haven't lived there, you have limited exposure to those societies, and are speaking from a position of no knowledge. 


This post was composed without the aid of google.
To love someone means to see him as God intended him. - Fyodor Dostoevksy

Online Trenchcoat

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Re: Trip Report/Introduction
« Reply #44 on: February 21, 2019, 06:54:52 PM »

I don't believe most WM seek FSUW because of their "values".  The Slavic republics of the FSU have divorce rates as high, if not higher, than in the West.  The only reason it wasn't higher in Soviet times is because of housing. 


You haven't lived there, you have limited exposure to those societies, and are speaking from a position of no knowledge. 


This post was composed without the aid of google.

I've lived in the hotels there :D

Seriously the apartment I rented in Minsk was in a fairly residential situation. Not the worst of the worst and near the city centre but still of old Soviet stylings, tower block like with actual bone-fide Minskers residing there :)
No Deal is Ideal, It's a Free Britain we want :)

 

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