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Author Topic: Newly Joining the Married Club: Steve and T  (Read 8242 times)

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Online msmob

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Re: Newly Joining the Married Club: Steve and T
« Reply #75 on: December 24, 2019, 09:45:10 PM »
I'm currently waiting for a sandwich at a restaurant at Terminal E at Logan.  In about 14 hrs I'll be meeting T on Christmas day.

I wonder if she'll wear a big red bow... 8)

 :ROFL:

SC will ( hopefully) be in Germany to meet me in a few hours ... and has made a dress with the  mandatory bow - a feature of all her dresses... 


Russians call bows, Butterflies....  babochki  (бабочки)   They look must beautiful when set free !;)

Enjoy


We'll be back, EU ..and as a certain 'gentleman' couldn't accept my offer to 'bury the hatchet' .. Don't trust a clueless Californian 'business owner' who cannot even quote me, honestly ..

Online SteveInBoston

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Re: Newly Joining the Married Club: Steve and T
« Reply #76 on: January 13, 2020, 06:28:35 PM »
Back home.

I was supposed to return on Jan 8, but stayed two more days and returned on Jan. 10.  The change fee for the airfare was about $330, but the ticketing agent threw me a bone and gave me a free upgrade to premium economy on the return leg from Frankfurt airport to Boston.

I spent a little over two weeks, but time flew by.

T wasn't at the airport when I landed.  Her train arrived a couple hours prior, and she only had time to check into our hotel and catch the airport express train.  I walked over to the train station and bought 2 tickets - T was in the 2nd train car when it arrived.

We spent a couple days in Kyiv before taking the overnight train to Zaphorizhzhia.  The first night we went to the Odessa restaurant and had a nice dinner (on Christmas day - Dec 25).  I had grilled seabass with asparagus and T had brick grilled chicken.  Both dishes were great.

There was a group of women at the next table - girls' night out or a bridal shower?  At one point a guy came over dressed as blue santa clause - Grandfather Frost.  He even had a bag of gifts to hand out.  A few of the ladies took turns sitting on his lap to take selfies.  Perhaps some told him whether they were naughty or nice.

The next day we went shopping for a gift for Dad - a thermopot.  I checked online and found a nice model at Rozetka.  We took an uber to the store to pick it up, and while there got a few more things - a hand blender and electric toothbrush for T, and a laptop cooling pad for Nephew M.

That evening we went to the Last Barricade restaurant to meet T's friend Yana for dinner.  The restaurant prided itselft for having Ukrainian dishes and only Ukrainian dishes, as well as only Ukrainian drinks.  We shared 3 bottles of sparking wine between us as we ate, chatted and listed to a two person band playing Ukrainian instruments.  The only thing that spoiled the theme was the music selection - they played instrumental versions of Adele.  lol.

Toward the end of our stay at the restaurant the girls went out to smoke - for Yana to smoke and T to keep her company.  They spoke to the waiter about it, and for him to bring the check.  As they walked out the waiter came to me to explain (in good english) that the girls were going out to smoke and that I was to pay the dinner bill - was that OK with me?  I said, yes, of course (Da, kanyeshna).  I found it highly amusing.  Perhaps the restaurant was weary of dating scams?  I did appreciate that they looked out for me.)))

After midnight we took the metro to Yana's apartment. We stopped at a small grocery store to get rum, tequila, orange juice and pepsi.  I think we got to her apartment at around 1 AM.  We met Yana's husband there - Mike. He was a spitting image of Tsar Nicholas II, including the right style of beard.  Well, a ripped Nicholas.  Mike is a personal fitnes trainer, and he was/is on a restrictive diet to lose the last few grams of body fat he had left for a body building competition in February. 

He didn't join us for dinner because he had to get up at 5 AM for an appointment with a client at the gym.  But he stayed up with us, and he and I chatted while polishing off the teguila and rum.  That part of the evening is fuzzy.  Mike spoke english pretty well, and we must have discussed some interesting things.  I remember Yana playing music from a tablet and more drinking.  And then an Uklon back to our hotel at around 4 AM.

I didn't get up until way past checkout time - the hotel was nice enough to let us stay in the room. They charged for the extra hours at a prorated rate.  T texted Yana, and found out Mike got about 30 minutes sleep before going to the gym.  He was toasted but soldiered on with the training that morning. 

This was Friday, Dec 27.  We checked out at 3PM and took the metro to a salon for a 4PM appointment.  T had her hair cut and treated while I got a pedicure.  This time the pedicure only took about an hour, so I waited while T was finishing up.  They offered tea, which I gladly accepted.  I watched the other stations - on one a lady was getting her hair dyed, and at another a lady was getting makeup put on.  The girl doing the makeup was very attractive and seemed familiar.   After we left I realized that I might have seen her on TV - one of the programs on channel 1+1 or 2+2, the 2 main channels T watches.

We went to a nearby restaurant for dinner - Kachapuri and Wine.  Worst restaurant I have experienced in Ukraine.  The food wasn't bad (except the lamb), but the service was slow and items overpriced for the portions.  I ordered the rack of lamb - 45 minutes later I got a plate of mostly empty space and 5 mini lamb chops that were fried or boiled beyond death.  The meat on the bones were about the size of my thumbnail.  We should have suspected something when the menu didn't list portion sizes like in all the other restaurants we visited.

We didn't have much time left, so we went back to the hotel to pick up our luggage and took an Uklon to the train station.  I had about 30 minutes to go to KFC to get some chicken for take out and stopped at a kiosk for some bottles of water.  A few minutes later we boarded our train to Zap.






Online BillyB

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Re: Newly Joining the Married Club: Steve and T
« Reply #77 on: January 13, 2020, 10:09:25 PM »
I had about 30 minutes to go to KFC to get some chicken


Did it taste like KFC back home? Did it even taste like chicken? I went to McDonalds in Kiev and the beef they used was different.
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Online SteveInBoston

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Re: Newly Joining the Married Club: Steve and T
« Reply #78 on: January 14, 2020, 04:34:50 AM »
KFC tasted fine, like here.  Same spices.  I got a bucket of chicken legs - drumsticks.  They were huge.  I think the chicken is sourced elsewhere.

Beef tends to be very lean over there.  That is, if it is actual beef.  Veal is more common.

Offline Lily

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Re: Newly Joining the Married Club: Steve and T
« Reply #79 on: January 14, 2020, 07:46:22 AM »
 :clapping: Congratulations T and Steve! More beautiful women for Boston!
Da, da, Canada; Nyet, nyet, Soviet!

Online SteveInBoston

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Re: Newly Joining the Married Club: Steve and T
« Reply #80 on: January 14, 2020, 05:26:07 PM »
Dec 28:

Our train arrived at Zap at 6 AM.  I didn't get much sleep - it was too warm for me.  T slept ok, which was more important.  I waited with the luggage as T took a taxi to get her car, which she parked a few blocks away.  When she arrived her Mitsubishi Lancer looked nicer than what I remembered - she had some body work done, had rust removed, got a protective undercoat applied and a new paintjob.

She drove the rest of the way to her city, which was a little over 3 hours away.  This time we took the new road that was finished in the summer - it was much better than the nightmare road between Zaphorizhzhia and Berdyans'k, which we took last winter.

We got to the city and stopped at Metro to get some groceries and some alcohol (Baileys, rum, beer, and sparkling wine).  Afterwards we got to her new apartment.  Last year T broke her lease on her old apartment when she moved to be with me here.  So when she moved back in May, she had to get a new apartment.  And go around to her friends and family to get her thing back (that she gave away).  The new place was a lot better - it was on the 1st floor instead of the 4th floor.  )))

It was still close to the city center, but on a different side from her old apartment.  We unpacked the car with the help of Dad and her Nephew M.  Her dad was there to watch over M while T went to Kyiv to meet me.  Communal parenting - T's mom or dad comes over to watch over nephew when T needs to travel to her business or elsewhere.  Normally it's not a bid deal, but Mom and Dad still live in the separatist area of Donetsk, and need to go through each side's checkpoints every trip.

Nephew seemed a lot better since I last saw him.  T has provide a stable home, enrolled him in university (he turned 17 in Nov), and signed him up for extra english lessons twice a week.  He seemed calmer and happier, and even has a steady girlfriend.

Dad was dad.  He drives T nuts.  He is living the fully retired life by spending his time in pajamas playing Call of Duty on the laptop I got for Nephew.  Nephew doesn't mind because he still prefers to game on his smartphone.  When T asked Dad to help out with something simple, like boiling potatoes (for 1 hour and not more), he forgot and let it overcook.  I think he messes up on purpose to not be asked to help out again.  lol.

He's great to me, though.  Very friendly and open to discussing whatever.

T got soup prepared, and let it simmer as we headed out by foot to the center.  I noticed a lot of improvements from last year.  They had a few streets closed off to traffic to set up a pedestrian friendly shopping zone, and had a christmas market set up.  There were more decorations and even a temporary outdoor skating rink at the park.  As we passed one building, T pointed to a sign on the balcony of the top floor corner apartment.

She said the sign was advertising that the apartment was for rent.  It was the same apartment T tried to rent back in June.  She said the owner was a little strange.  He renovated the place but had it sparsely furnished.   He wanted $400 per month.  In US dollars.  When T tried to negotiate, and offered him the equivalent in grivnas, the owner refused.  He countered by saying would accept UAH, but adjusted every month to equal exactly $400 on the day of the rent.  Then T offered more - 12,000 UAH - more than enough to cover for currency fluctuations.  He still refused.

The apartment T rents now is 11,000 UAH.  T pointed out the guy has lost out on 6 months rent so far - 72,000 UAH.  She browsed the local real estate listings, and noticed that the guy had lowered the rent to 7,000 UAH recently.  She thought about moving, but said the apartment, though larger, has an awkward layout.  And she really likes the one she's in now.

We walked back home, had the soup for dinner, and went to bed early.  It was a long day.  Dad was still playing COD.

Online SteveInBoston

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Re: Newly Joining the Married Club: Steve and T
« Reply #81 on: January 20, 2020, 11:49:50 AM »
Dec 29 to Dec 31

Nothing much interesting happened from Sunday to Tuesday.  We went around the city trying to find prime rib for me to make on New Year's eve.  A couple weeks ago I asked T to go to the supermarket and ask about ordering the prime rib for the holiday, but she was sure they could get it for us in a day or two.  No joy.  I noticed the stores don't carry beef, other than pre-packaged steaks or ground beef (rarely).  On Monday night we got a 6 bone piece of prime veal, instead.  Best we could do.

There was a surprise waiting for me on Sunday afternoon.  T set up several spa treatments for my NY's gift.  The first was the pedicure on Friday.  I needed it. The lady went to town with a grinding tool (like a dremel) to power sand down the cracked calluses on my heals.  On Sunday T took me to her cosmetologist.  I was in for a 90 minute face and neck treatment.  At the end, when they asked me what facial cream I use, I stared blankly at them.  Facial cream?  Isn't soap good enough?  I use dove - it has moisturizers in it.  It says so on the box, and in the commercials.

I was mildly admonished and given two small samples for me to try - one based on aloe to be used after shaving, and one based on snails to be used on non-shaving days.  One was green and one was pink.

On Monday T took me to her spa, where she set up a 2 hour body rub and massage treatment for me.  The lady had the room romantically decorated with candles and rose petals.  I was a bit hesitant, especially when T stayed back in the lobby and it was just me and the massage therapist.  She told me to take off everything and gave me a disposable underwear to put on.  It was a paper g-string.  Man-string?  D-string?

I got on the table, and the first thing was a body scrub.  The lady was not shy - she scrubbed my legs and went really close to little Stevie.  Next was a body wrap - she applied special cream, wrapped me in plastic wrap, and covered me with a weighted and heated blanket.  After 10-15 minutes she returned, unwrapped me and told me to rinse off at the adjacent room with a tub.  It was a bit awkward because there was no shower curtain.  I just kneeled down in the tub and used the hand shower wand to get the soap/scrub/cream off the best I could.  She gave me a fresh paper D-string to change into.

The last bit was a 60 minute body massage.  At the end I was as relaxed as ever.  I could have slept on that table.  It was hard getting up and getting dressed to go out to the cold again.

Monday was also the day Mom arrived from Donetsk.  After looking at her car, I understood one of the reasons for the bad roads - studded snow tires, like on Mom's car.  It's fine if the country/state keeps up with road maintenance in the spring and summer, but not fine if the roads are neglected for a few years.

Mom's arrival marked the begging of a two day cooking marathon.  T has a small kitchen, and only 2 frying pans and 2 cooking pots.  After each dish was cooked, the pots and pans were washed, dried, and set to cooking the next dish.  T made hummus from scratch, as well as Olivia and Fur Coat salads (they replaced herring with smoked chicken, in order for me to enjoy as well).  Mom made a couple of pork dishes, including one with dried plums and cherries stuffed in pork cutlet rolls.  Also mushrooms, potatoes, and another salad.

T booked an apartment at a nearby building for her parents to stay the next few days.  On Monday night Mom and Dad went to the apartment.  Nephew M went out with his girlfriend, and then texted for permission to stay overnight at her place.  I told T it might not be a good idea, but she overruled me.  She pointed out that if Nephew stayed out, we would have the place to ourselves, and that she didn't have to worry about anyone coming into our bedroom (the door did not have a lock).  She made a very convincing argument.

On Tuesday the cooking resumed, with the dishes finalized.  I seasoned and roased the prime rib/veal. We had a great dinner, with one little controversy that I was not aware of until a couple days later. 

T's uncle called Dad, and we had a nice videochat with everyone.  The first thing I said to him was "Zdradvutsche, Z novim  rokim!"  T's uncle and his wife was very animated - I thought they were celebrating my brilliant russian.  It was a couple days later, when T was talking about it to her friend Julia, that she mentioned how she was amused by me speaking Ukrainina to her russian uncle (he lives in Kaliningrad).  Apparently they thought that T was corrupting me and making me speak Ukrainian.

In my defense, I realized then that the russian phrase is Z novim godim.  But for the last week, while the TV was on, I kept hearing "Z novim rokim", so that's what I said, not thinking about how the official language for TV is Ukrainian. 

There was no real trouble.  Everyone thought it more funny than controversial.

Anyway, after midnight Nephew went out again to be with his girlfriend and plans to stay the night over there, and Mom and Dad went to their place.  T had on a nice dress for NY, and she showed me she had nicer things on underneath...


One of the better New Year's Eve I've had...

EDIT:  Typos
« Last Edit: January 20, 2020, 09:41:25 PM by SteveInBoston »

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Re: Newly Joining the Married Club: Steve and T
« Reply #82 on: January 20, 2020, 03:16:21 PM »

I'm surprised the masseuse asked you to put on anything. Usually the birthday suit is all that's required. Next time refuse the paper G-string and tell her you're into saving trees.
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Online SteveInBoston

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Re: Newly Joining the Married Club: Steve and T
« Reply #83 on: January 20, 2020, 10:43:43 PM »
Jan 1 to Jan 4

New Years was great.  We had a fantastic time, eating, drinking, walking to the nearby christmas market to visit the stalls and the displays, and eating and drinking some more.

Mom and Dad went back to Donetsk on Jan 2.  Before she left, I heard from the next bedroom a heartfelt talk from Mom (to Nephew).  Apparently she was imparting wisdom and cautioning him to be a good boy, do well in school, try hard, and not bang his girlfriend without protection because she wasn't ready to be a great-grandmother.   That last part may or may not have occurred...

I met Nephew's girlfriend on Jan 2.  I teased him a bit, saying his girlfriend is imaginary because he promised to bring her by a couple of times before but didn't.  Nice girl, very quiet and somewhat shy.  We met, she said hello, and the two of them went to his bedroom to talk, browse the internet and watch videos on his smartphone.  He used his smartphone instead of his laptop, which I initially thought odd but realized that it made her get real close to him to see the small screen.  Brilliant, actually.

I didn't see the two of them until the next morning (she spent the night).  I made breakfast, and we all got ready to go to a nearby seaside town that was 30 km away to visit T's best friend Katya (and her family). 

In the summer T spends a lot of time at that town, enjoying the beach there.  I wondered why she didn't go to the beach in her city, until she showed me the beach.  The huge industrial plant nearby, and the rail lines for trains bringing supplies and transporting products makes the beach very unappealing. 

Nephew's girlfriend came with us, not to visit Katya, but because her parents live there.  I found out girlfriend lives with her grandmother in the city while attending university.

We quickly passed the military checkpoint leaving the city, which the guard checking our passports (Nephew and girlfriend had national ID cards instead of full passports) and waving us on.  We arrived in the evening and I didn't get a good look of the resort town as we dropped off the girlfriend and went to Katya's house.

At Katya's we were welcomed by the boys - her two sons and her two cane corso dogs.  Very friendly, especially the dogs.  One was an 8 month puppy, almost full size and full of puppy exuberance.  I met Katya's oldest son (Peter) last year, but it was the first time meeting her and her youngest, Akim.  Akim was quiet but friendly and curious.  I found out he collected lego toys, and had several Star Wars kits on his display case.  When I gave him his present - a Levi's tshirt with a stormtrooper on it, he promptly went up to his room and returned with a lego stormtrooper figure to show me.  His way of showing he liked the tshirt.

Katya and her mom had prepared roasted goose and baked fish - a huge fish from either the river or the sea, I forgot which.  During dinner T told me something new.  When she first joined Royaldating (the website alias in Ukraine for dmnotify), Katya's mom advised her which of the men that contacted T seemed nice or not nice.  I think T was on the site for a couple of weeks before I joined and contacted her.  Katya's mom advised T that I was worth considering - she thought I had kind eyes and liked the photos of me with my dogs.

So, I have Katya's mom to thank for helping us to get together.

After dinner we chatted and drank, and we spent the night.  Not in Akim's little race car bed, which T uses when she visits.  But in Peter's much larger bed, thankfully.

The next morning we had leftovers for breakfast, with some sausages, which look and taste like hot dogs.  When we got ready  to leave and packed the car, Katya and her mom showed us her property.  The main building is a 3 bedroom house and she had a large tracked of land.  Part of it was a garden that T helped create - T bought and delivered several plants and bushes.   The other part was partly marshland next to a small river and uncultivated land that Katya was planning to build on in the future.  They already had a new 3 unit building they were finishing to rent out in the summer.  They were dacha style units - just studio style spaces with private bathrooms, but no kitchen.  It has a separate unit as a communal indoor and out door kitchen - summer kitchen.

The day was overcast and dreary, but T drove us a different way out of town, that took us next to the beach.  We passed the town's main street with small stores and bars, all closed for the season.  The beach was definitely nicer than in her home city, but the weather prevented us from going out and walking along it.

When we got back, the checkpoint guard made us get out an go to the small shack to be verified on the computer.  Last year the guard captain gave us a bit of a hard time, but this time it was just a formality while they checked that there was no warrants or other concerns in the system.

We went home just in time to get ready for T to go pick up her sister and Nephew T from the train station.  We had about an hour to say hello again and exchange presents before T and I had to leave. 

I loaded the car with all my things and one bag for T.  We drove off to Svyatohirs'k.  As we left the city, this time toward the NE on the road to Donetsk, the checkpoint guards made us get out and be verified at the guardhouse.  Again.  T mentioned that she thought it happened to us today, both times, because she didn't smile at the guard when showing him our passports.   She may be right - at the next two checkpoint the guards waved us on. T smiled both times.

We arrived well after nightfall.  T explained her family spent most summers in that town when she was growing up.  She loved the place, and rented 2 houses there to bring her friends and family on her 30th birthday.

T had some trouble finding the place we were staying.  She drove close to where she thought it was.  After calling the property, she found out we were off by one street. 

The place was a complex of vacation cabins.  T rented a three bedroom unit for 3 nights.  Our friends from Kharkiv arrived before us.  It was great to see Vova and Julia again.   Vova cooked up some wild venison sausages and we spent the evening eating and drinking.  Julia can drink - she can easily drink me under the table.  And she's smaller than all of us, even smaller than T (by a bit - a few kg).  We ended up going to bed at around 2 AM.


Online SteveInBoston

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Re: Newly Joining the Married Club: Steve and T
« Reply #84 on: January 21, 2020, 07:43:36 PM »
Jan 5 - Jan 6

My first impression of Svyatohirs'k was that it reminded me of Gatlinburg, Tennessee.  It didn't look anything like it, but there were a lot of small, independent hotels and rental cottages there, which I guess is why it felt like Gatlinburg to me.

After breakfast we headed to the cave monastery - the centerpiece of the town.  We went on foot, passing the small town center along the way.  For a bit of the walk I chatted with Julia.  I found out she also spent a lot of time in the town, but only during summers.  That, and from other bits of conversation with T and others, I discovered that T and her friends were all from upper middle class families in Donetsk.  The conflict of 2014 caused most of them to leave, mostly to Kharkiv and Kyiv.  T is about the only one who stayed close by.   Their parents moved if they were still young and working, but mostly stayed if they were retired.

A couple of times something cause Julia to mention song phrases.  I had no what she was referring to, but T, who walked a little ahead with Vova, responded with the next verses.  Both times they were Queen songs, which T and Julia knew by heart.  They knew all Queen songs, or just about all.  I think T knows more - Julia doesn't know some of Freddy Mercury's solo songs.

We stopped at the tourist center just before the bridge to the monastery.  I noticed a familiar symbol - McDonalds!  But... the golden arches were upside down...  It was a MacBurger place, which was clearly a rip off of the McD logo and color scheme.  Inside, the place was more of a convenience store than a fast food joint.

T went inside to get a hot dog to feed a homeless kitten that was playing with a ball of lint.  When I started feeding it, another cat came over.  Both were well behaved for street cats - they didn't fight each other for food but instead patiently waited for me to give each a bit of the hot dog. 

T and Julia got some souvenirs and we headed back.  It was about an hour walk to get there, and with the hour walk back we had our exercise for the day.  We needed to get some groceries and water, so we stopped at the producty store in town.

That evening I helped Vova build the fire at the outdoor grill.  We didn't use charcoal - instead we used bundled firewood.  After the wood burned down to coals, we grilled veggies in a wire basket and kebabs of pork and vegetables on shashlik sticks.

The girls prepared the side dishes, and our evening of eating and drinking began.  Julia was able to get Youtube working on the TV (it had a smart cable box).  T put on traditional soviet christmas cartoons.  T said of all the TV and movies produced during soviet times, the cartoons were mostly free of propaganda and state censorship.  The cartoons we watched had minimal dialog. 

One was about a dog that gets kicked out by its cosssack owner, and an old wolf comes over and speaks with him.  Then the wolf sneaks into the village while the people prepare to celebrate christmas.  The wolf spots a baby next to a distracted woman and takes it.  The women cry and wail, and the men hunt for the wolf and the baby.  The dog jumps out at a planned moment, pretend to fight the wolf, chase it off, and bring the baby back to the men.  The dog is treated as a hero.  After the men and women go to a large home for dinner, the dog spots the old wolf at the edge of the woods, looking feeble and hungry.  He goes over to the wolf, tell him something, and they sneak into the house.  The wolf sits quietly under the dining table as the dog goes around snatching food for him.  Then, one of the women spots the wolf, everyone panicks, and the dog acts the "hero" again by barking and chasing the wolf out of town.  The wolf thanks the dog, the wolf goes away and the dog returns to the village.

After the few cartoons T wanted to show me, she then switched to episodes of Jeeves and Wooster.  An old british comedy show, with Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie.  It was in russian with no subtitles, but I got the gist of the stories.  But it was hard to appreciate the humor without the dialog and punchlines.

Vova and Julia showed us photos of their recent trip to Germany.  Vova has some distant relatives he reunited with.  At one point Julia turned to me and said "Germans know how to drink".  )))

Vova went to bed early - he was up since 5AM, when he went out to get the firewood.  I lasted a couple of hours more but was tired and had to go to bed.  The girls drank and chatted through the wee hours of the night.

Next morning we got up late and had some leftovers for breakfast.  T wanted us to tour the monastery and it's "caves", which were more tunnels dug into the small cliffside than actual caves.  This time I drove us, because the other three decided to drink early (bloody marys).  I had to be sober for the next couple of days. 

On the hilltop next to the monastery was a statue of a soldier - a soviet officer.  T told me he was the great oppressor - someone who enforced soviet "values" by burning down churches and monasteries.  I thought it was odd that there was a statue of him next to a historic monastery.  The statue was in a cubist style - a lot of angles, with trapezoidal shoulders and, oddly, hexagonal breastplates.  It actually looked like the character M. Bison for the streetfighter video games.  I told the guys about it, and showed them M.Bison photos.  They agreed - it did look like the video game character.

The monastery was nice - orthodox decorations and paintings.  T had to be "modest" by covering her head/hair and hips (with a wrap she brought for the occasion).  Julia just used the hood on her jacket, which was also long enough to cover her hips.  Vova and I had to "show respect" by uncovering our heads.  I can see how this causes the women to have an advantage in winter.

We went through the "caves" to the top of the monastery and enjoyed the great view of the river valley and town.  It was icy at the top of the hill, and the guide let us go off on our own to take the long way back instead of going back down through the caves/tunnels.

Nearby at the hilltop there was a large wooden church, which the Vova and Julia used as backdrops for selfies.  I was cold, and so was T (she only had on a sweater and a down vest).  We went ahead to head back down to get to the car.  At the bottom T and Julia went to another souvenir store to look for something to get for my friends, who were watching my dogs while I was away.

I got the car warmed up and drove it to the store as Vova and the girls came out.  They didn't see or get anything special.

That evening I cooked - a boyscout meal I used to make when I was a kid.  A ground beef patty, with sliced potatoes and onions, seasoned and wrapped in aluminum foil and placed right in the wood fire coals.  Simple and tasty.  But...the ground beef I got was more like lean chopped beef.  It was dry and tough, but decent tasting.  With some sauce, it was edible.

We also had more veggies that we grilled, and more leftovers from the previous evening.  T put on Jeeves and Wooster again.  Another evening of eating and drinking, except I stuck with water and coke.

For some reason Julia and I started talking about online dating, specifically western men and FSU women.  I showed her some youtube videos about the romance tours, specifically the one with the guy from the DC area who spent around $10,000 chatting with a 25 year old who looked like young angelina jolie. 

In that video he got pissed when she didn't show up in the social, but AFA got her to come the next morning to meet him.  He stated he was suspicious when he showed him photos of his life and it seemed it was the first time she saw them.  He proposed to her at that meeting, and she accepted.  The video picks up weeks or months later, interviewing the guy in his home back in DC.  He said it didn't work out with the girl, but that's ok, because he's now chatting with a hot 22 year old.   The interviewer asks him if he is just communicating with a picture, which the guy then seems to agree.

Anyway, back to the trip - Julia told me something.  She is a manager at a hotel in Kharkiv, and she says sometimes she sees arranged meetings between western men and ukrainian women.  I think these are from local marriage agencies in Kharkiv.  She mentioned that the "matches" seemed ludicrous most times.  Old or overweight or old and overweight men meeting young and pretty girls.

She also said she has some single friends, mostly all single moms, that she would like to match up with good western men.  I didn't go much into it with her, because T and I both share the view that what we did are private decisions, and that it was up to us to meet and make things work.  We feel uncomfortable trying to act as matchmakers.  So I told Julia that she should tell her friends to sign up to the websites that seemed legitimate - dmnotify, fdating and Elena's models.

Anyway, we all went to bed early this time, because we had to check out and had long drives the next day.

Offline ML

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Re: Newly Joining the Married Club: Steve and T
« Reply #85 on: January 22, 2020, 08:47:26 AM »
  She mentioned that the "matches" seemed ludicrous most times.  Old or overweight or old and overweight men meeting young and pretty girls.

She also said she has some single friends, mostly all single moms, that she would like to match up with good western men.  I didn't go much into it with her, because T and I both share the view that what we did are private decisions, and that it was up to us to meet and make things work.  We feel uncomfortable trying to act as matchmakers.  So I told Julia that she should tell her friends to sign up to the websites that seemed legitimate - dmnotify, fdating and Elena's models.


You missed a chance to try to educate someone.

FSU women are foolish when they think that a good looking, successful man of 25 years of age is going to go to FSU to find a woman of age 21-25.
Such a man will find plenty of desirable women in his home country without the substantial cost and time expended going to economically challenged countries.

It is the older, unattractive, short, balding, overweight man from western countries who have the financial means that is going to go to FSU and elsewhere to find a younger (or some other criteria) woman that he cannot attract in his home country.

Yes, yes . . . I know there are exception (as with many 'most' of the men here) . . . but the above will encompass 90% of the situations.
Winston Churchill.  “The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.”

Online msmob

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Re: Newly Joining the Married Club: Steve and T
« Reply #86 on: January 29, 2020, 03:44:26 AM »
Your speak for yourself, ML..

I can think of MANY guys who do not fit even one of those criteria than met and married a FSU lass and cases where the age difference is minimal or the lady is older.

These examples are surely  not rare enough to be 'exceptions'...



We'll be back, EU ..and as a certain 'gentleman' couldn't accept my offer to 'bury the hatchet' .. Don't trust a clueless Californian 'business owner' who cannot even quote me, honestly ..

Online SteveInBoston

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Re: Newly Joining the Married Club: Steve and T
« Reply #87 on: March 22, 2020, 09:13:09 AM »
Just wanted to post an update.

I mentioned before that I got tickets for Elton John in New Zealand for Feb 20.  I bought one of the VIP packages and had seats in the 7th row.

On Feb 13 I flew to Frankfurt to meet T.  Our plan was to meet in Frankfurt and fly together to NZ.  I arrived early morning on Feb 14.  I thought about getting flowers, but it didn't make much sense because we would need to toss the flowers the next day.

T arrived about 3 hours later, at around noon.  I waited for her at the baggage claim area, which was just outside the border control zone.  I got her luggage and waited for about 20 minutes for her to clear passport control.   We took the train to Frankfurt city center, where we had a room booked at Motel One.  Nice hotel with a cool bar/lounge area and modern rooms, but the rooms were a bit small.

We spent the evening walking around the area and had a nice meal at a casual bar/restaurant.  The next day we went shopping - T wanted a pair of Air Jordans and a pair of trekking pants.  We got neither, but she did get a casio G-shock watch.  We both left our good watches at home - she got me a G shock from Kyiv and she needed one for herself.

Our flight to NZ was on Korean Air.  It left the evening on Feb 14 and had a 3 hour layover in Seoul.  We arrived in NZ the morning of Feb 17. 

The trip turned ominous when the passport control lady said, after we explained we were in NZ for the EJ concert, "Ooo, so you didn't hear the news.  The concert might be cancelled or delayed.  He has pneumonia".   She was one of those gossipy neighbor type of person, very keen on speculating on bad news. 

Long story short, a couple days later new got the news that our concert was postponed.  To Jan 16, 2021.  I requested a refund and got it a week later from Ticketmaster.   Lost about $40 overall because of the difference in the exchange rate for NZD from June 2019 to Feb 2020.

We had  a great time in NZ.  I may post more details later if anyone is interested. 

In summary:

We first spent 5 days in Auckland area, driving up north and a bit south.   Karekare Beach was our favorite.   We then flew to Christchurch, where we picked up our Jucy campervan.  We spent an extra day in Christchurch to go to an Alice Cooper concert - we noticed he was playing there on Feb 22 and there were some tickets available.  Ok concert - the music was good but he didn't have great backup vocals, which made a lot of his songs a bit off.

We drove around south island from Feb 23 to March 1 in our campervan, going north and then driving down the west coast.  We spent our last night on south island at Queenstown and then flew back to Auckland on Mar 2.  We got a rental car and drove to Rotorua area, spending the next 3 days at the hot springs, Maori villages, Waitomo glow worm caves, and Hobbiton movie set.


Covid-19 and Hilton:

While we were in NZ we kept hearing about the coronavirus.  What worried us was the outbreak in Korea.  We were wondering if our return flight will be impacted, and if Frankfurt would let us in if we flew in from Seoul.  Our return flight had a 19 hour layover there, and we had complimentary hotel at the airport Hyatt courtesy of the airline.  We planned to visit the city and do some shopping and dining, but considered skipping and just staying at the hotel.  T was getting disappointed because she wanted to get some cosmetics there.

On Mar 3 I got an email from Korean Airlines.  They rescheduled my flight, flying from Sidney to Seoul to Frankfurt on Mar 6.  Sidney.  The new flight had no segment from Auckland to Sidney - just from Sidney to Frankfurt.   

New Zealand announced on March 3 that all flights to/from Korea will not be allowed beginning Mar 4.  So Korean Air's automated system booked the next available destination as close to NZ as possible, as a placeholder until final arrangements are made.   I spent 2 hours on the phone, on hold, until I was able to reach an agent.  Then I spent the next hour with her as she tried to book any flights on their partner airlines that got us from Auckland to Frankfurt.  She finally found one on Air France, but it left 1 day later - March 7.  That was no go because we already had our return flights from Frankfurt to home on Mar 8.  Eventually she got us a refund, for $100 less than 1/2 our airfare.

I was able to book a Qatar Airlines flight from Auckland to Frankfurt on Mar 6.  It was about $630 each, one way.  It connected through Doha, with currently the longest flight segment of 17 hours 30 minutes.  There were other airline/connection options available for around the same price, but T specifically wanted that one to experience the long flight.

We arrived tired the morning of Mar 7 in Frankfurt.  There were no issues getting past border control, and we arrived at the Frankfurt Airport Hilton at around 8 AM.  I found out, then, that I had 2 reservations at the hotel.  I booked on via Booking.com and one via Hilton Honors.  I forgot that I had 2 - I initially booked via HH, but then found a rate that included breakfast on Booking.  I thought I cancelled the HH reservation, but apparently I didn't.  The front desk said I could call central reservation on Monday, Mar 9, to possibly get a refund on the Booking reservation.  They booked me on the Hilton Honors reservation by default. 

I accepted the 39 euro early check-in fee because I needed to get some rest.  It was worth it - we got to our room and I got some sleep.  T woke me at 1 PM, wanted to get some food and go to the city center to get something for her nephew - a jacket she saw on our first visit.  We took the train from the airport and got the jacket, and a couple of sweaters.  We returned to the hotel at around 6 PM.  I went back to sleep and got up at 9, when T came back with dinner from the hotel restaurant.  We ate, arranged our luggage, and went to bed again.

The next morning I got another surprise - because the hotel checked me in under the Hilton Honors reservation and not the Booking reservation, breakfast was an additional 25 euros each.  We were hungry so I payed it.  After breakfast I went to the front desk to ask about the double booking and why I couldn't use the booking reservation.  They said they couldn't straighten it out on their end but that central reservation would accommodate me on Monday.  Without going into too much detail, central reservation basically gave me the middle finger and charged me for both reservations.  If we ever stay in Frankfurt Airport again....Sheraton or Marriott.

I got back home on the evening on Mar 8, without any hassels from border control.  T got home uneventfully as well (she had a direct flight via Lufthansa) 


By the way, I was able to get T some flowers in the end.  Because it was Mar 8, some airport ppl were going around with some small flowers.  I got T one of the smallest roses I ever saw.


After arriving home, I went to work for 1/2 day on Mar 10, but after reading more about Covid-19, I went home at noon and self quarantined.  On Mar 13 I developed a sore throat.  A few days later I also got a runny nose.  I never developed a fever or any of the other symptoms of Covid-19.  When I called by doctor's office, they said it sounded like a generic cold and to come in for testing and treatment if it get worse. 

The sore throat lasted about a week.  The runny nose got more runny and I went through 2 large boxes of tissues.  Today I am mostly over it, with one of my nostrils itchy and causing me to sneeze once in a while.

Our office is closed now, with someone else having come down with a cold a day before I did.  I think I caught my cold there, ironically. 


I hope everyone else here is doing well and staying healthy.

Offline ML

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Re: Newly Joining the Married Club: Steve and T
« Reply #88 on: March 22, 2020, 09:51:54 AM »
Very nice write-up Steve.  Thanks for sharing.
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Online BillyB

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Re: Newly Joining the Married Club: Steve and T
« Reply #89 on: March 22, 2020, 10:16:58 AM »

The trip turned ominous when the passport control lady said, after we explained we were in NZ for the EJ concert, "Ooo, so you didn't hear the news.  The concert might be cancelled or delayed.  He has pneumonia".   She was one of those gossipy neighbor type of person, very keen on speculating on bad news. 


I remember reading about that. When you arrived to NZ on Feb 17, EJ went on with the concert warning fans he pneumonia but wanted to perform for them. His voice didn't hold up and he ended up crying. He's a true performer trying to give the fans a show even while sick. Some music artists cancel concerts over the stupidest things.

http://www.cheatsheet.com/entertainment/elton-john-was-escorted-offstage-while-crying.html/

I seen Alice Cooper a few years ago. He's older than dirt too but still performing.

Steve, with the current events, how is it affecting you and your wife's plans to be together? Is your paperwork still getting processed?
There are people that will pass info about you and your family. Do not share info about yourself or share photos as they can search for you on the internet and distribute what they found since they are allowed to participate here.

Online SteveInBoston

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Re: Newly Joining the Married Club: Steve and T
« Reply #90 on: March 22, 2020, 11:14:05 AM »
I was a blockhead about the spouse visa.

At first I tried to find a way to bypass the 18+ month processing time by doing a direct consular filing.  But that requires me to be living abroad.  So I went to Ukraine consulate in NY and got a residency visa (as a spouse to a Ukrainian citizen).   But I didn't read the information of that visa properly - specifically of it being valid for only 3 months.  You have to travel to Ukraine within 3 months, then use that visa to apply for temporary residence. 

I couldn't do the last bit, so that visa was wasted.

Anyway, I didn't submit the I-130 paperwork until the end of Jan of this year.   My case was received Feb 6 and is in the queue to be processed.

According to the timeline and estimates at Visa Journey, it won't be approved until Aug/Sep of this year from USCIS.  Then there is a 3-6 month processing time at NVC, and then 1-2 months at the US embassy in Ukraine.   So, it will be about 1 year from now before T gets her spouse visa.

We planned to apply for a tourist visa to the US after our NZ trip.  But the embassy is not accepting any applications due to Covid-19.

Hopefully in a month they will start processing again and T can come visit me here this summer.


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Re: Newly Joining the Married Club: Steve and T
« Reply #91 on: March 22, 2020, 12:24:20 PM »

I don't see this virus thing ending in a few months. We are just in the first battle of the war. I doubt tourist visas will be issued for awhile. Also, a lot of people who work in immigration may be sent home or work from home. The good news for you is that if Immigration employees aren't going to process tourist visas and other unnecessary visas, they may focus on your and your wife's paperwork and get it done faster. Hard to predict the future but keep us updated when you get notices of your paperwork moving through the system. It'll give others waiting to be with their loved ones that immigration is still working for American citizens and their wives and fiancées.
There are people that will pass info about you and your family. Do not share info about yourself or share photos as they can search for you on the internet and distribute what they found since they are allowed to participate here.

Offline GQBlues

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Re: Newly Joining the Married Club: Steve and T
« Reply #92 on: March 22, 2020, 08:14:59 PM »
Nice report, Steve.

Sorry about the EJ show. I haven't heard anything new about his condition either. I wonder if this is related to COVID. I hope not as EJ is already 'HIV' compromised.

Man, you two have been flying everywhere in such a short time span. Are all these 'planned'? I'm wondering why not just settle in the US for a while and take trips here and there once you're both settled?

No need to answer, I just wondered.
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Online SteveInBoston

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Re: Newly Joining the Married Club: Steve and T
« Reply #93 on: March 23, 2020, 09:58:38 AM »
Hi GQ,

Yes, these trips are planned, but they are Plan B.  Our original plan was to get T a green card by adjusting status after our marriage.  But family issues caused T to head back to Ukraine, and we need to do the spouse visa before she can return.

So our trips are planned for us to be together as much as we can.  I could keep visiting her in Ukraine, but we both like to travel and use this opportunity to see other parts of the world.


Oh, and those family issues are being resolved, finally.  T's sister moved in with her last week, after a turbulent relationship with her boyfriend and other issues.  T's nephews finally have a stable home now (her older nephew has been living with her since she returned last year).  T is getting a larger apartment for them all to live in, one which her sister can afford once T gets her visa and comes here permanently.


 

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