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 Post subject: The End In Sight - Life Together Just Beginning
Post Number:#1  PostPosted: 09 Sep 2011 11:57 
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The End In Sight - Life Together Just Beginning

I gave a very brief description of my relationship with a Russian woman, in a visa question i posted. Now though is the time to lay it out in all its glory.

I met Vera in Spain last September. I was on an "ageing lads weekend" and she was travelling along the Spanish coastline from the Costa Blanca to Barcelona. We met by chance in a Benidorm bar on a Saturday night had a brief chat - told her where we would be going and hoped that i might see her again. The Sunday morning hangover confirmed to me that Vera and her friend had not caught up with us and i consigned the thought that i would see her again to the bin.

In a bar on the Sunday afternoon, one of my friends said he had seen Vera walking past but by the time i had spotted where she was i thought it was probably a lost cause.

Sunday night was our last night and at around midnight we pitched up at particularly grotty Irish Bar to listen to the house band and hang out, we were leaving the next day.

We were talking to all sorts of people - mostly English, mostly completely tanked up, incoherent and just your typical Brits abroad mentality.

And then.... Out from the bar, bottle of beer in hand, walked Vera. WOW! Our eyes met and she bowled up to me and we were getting on like a house on fire. I could not believe the coincidence, although was hugely disappointed that it was my last nigh there. It later turned out that she had seen us walking a while before and had followed us, with her friend, to the bar.

We went to a couple more places - talked and walked - went swimming in the Med at 3 am and sat on the beach sun loungers talking some more. The time was moving on and i had an early flight, so i escorted her back to her hotel, we exchanged email addresses, facebook details etc in the hope we might stay in touch. I was doubtful though - i was 41, she 33 and i also mentioned that i had 4 kids from a previous marriage aged 11-18. That would surely be enough to put her off!

I returned home and could not stop thinking about her. She still had 8 days of holiday left but i thought i would email her for when she got home. I also added her to my Facebook friends.

Within the hour she had replied to my email and FB request and it was clear that we were both smitten with each other. We continued to exchange the odd message until she returned home, at which point she mailed me her phone number. I was driving home from work late and i thought that i just had to call her. She was nervous, i was too, but everything was so relaxed and comfortable and then began my Russian love affair.

From that moment on my mobile phone bills would never be the same again. We spoke every day – texted constantly it seemed, and despite only having a brief encounter we were both convinced that we wanted to take this further. We agreed that I would go to Moscow in November – some 5 or 6 weeks away and so the first Russian visa was applied for.
At this point I should point out that Vera speaks perfect English – if our language skills were to be relied upon we would never have got started. She has a Master’s Degree from Voronezh State University in English and linguistics, and to my mind is the most intelligent woman I have ever met – I would say that wouldn’t I. She also happens to be beautiful and very funny. So I hit the jackpot. The trifecta as far as I am concerned, looks and humour to go with a great mind. The first two only go so far for me. She works as an interpreter and Project Manager for a large US multinational in Moscow Business City.

So the 1st November 2010 came around and I was like an excited schoolboy, landing at Domodedevo, not as cold as I had expected!

Walking through the immigration hall I came face to face with an official scrutinising my passport, a man who seems to be at whichever desk I am at – coming or going – on most of my visits since. He holds me at the desk longer and longer each time – I am convinced he recognises me!

Through the baggage hall and there was a throng of people, I would never spot Vera. I hoped she would see me….

Before I knew it, the same beautiful woman bounded up in front of me and the happiness of that moment was just amazing. I knew she was the woman for me.

I had booked an apartment for the week just off Arbat Street and we went there by cab. Vera had planned a week of sight-seeing, and events. The next day was my birthday and she took me to Cirque de Soleil near to Luzhniki Stadium (the home of the Moscow 1980 Olympics). We had a great night there. Over the week we walked and walked – took in all the sights, we went to a friend’s parents’ country house and I felt immersed in “real Russia”. The food was different, but very tasty. The welcome by friends was always warm. Vera was translating everything, so I never felt “in the dark”. We went to Coyote Ugly on Tvereskaya one night and staggered back to my apartment at 5.30 am.

One of her friends has a daughter in a youth cadet group and was marching on Red Square in the Unity Day parade on 4th November. She had one ticket – her friend that is – she had won it in a ballot, and she gave it to me, insisting that I went to experience the parade. There was me stood in front of Lenin’s Tomb on Red Square as Russian Tanks came thundering along towards St Basil’s, followed by soldiers on horseback and others on foot re-enacting the expulsion of the German’s in WWII from Russia. JUST AMAZING!

I reckon I was the only non-Russian on the square that day – I will never forget it.
Soon enough the time to return to the UK came and that parting was just so grim. Neither of us knew when we would see each other again. Back in the UK I planned to go back for a weekend in December and we also planned for Vera to come to the UK in January 2011 over the Russian Christmas and New Year Holiday. All of which went brilliantly. She came back to the UK for two weeks in February and we went to a number of place, she accompanied me on a business trip up north, we went sight-seeing in London and for a woman who had never wanted to visit the UK having studied it so much at University, Vera thoroughly enjoyed herself, the food, the pubs, the people, the countryside. We drove to Paris for 5 days and I proposed to her under the Eiffel Tower on 14th February 2011, as the light show started to sparkle. We had a great few days there, the Louvre, Champs Elysees, Versailles, Sacre Coeur, Mont Martre and loads more, soured only by the local gendarmerie pulling me for excessive speed on the way back to Calais! I had no cash, they would not take a card and Vera bailed me out with just enough money to pay the fine.

I went back to Moscow, mid-March for a weekend and Vera returned to the UK on April 30th for 10 days. The weather was great and we had a wonderful time in the Thames Valley area where I live.

We had decided to get married and I set about getting the documents prepared from my end. The CNI, the apostilles and translations of the Decree Absolute etc. and I went back to Moscow in mid-June and we submitted the documents at ZAGS No. 4. There are plenty of submissions on this site telling you all you need to know about how to do it so I won’t bore you further with more. Suffice it to say that the lady in ZAGS was definitely a daughter of the Soviet Union.

The day was set 27th July and we planned a small celebration, Vera’s mum, sister, brother-in-law and niece came. My mum came to Moscow. My wife looked as beautiful as ever at the Palace of Marriages and the whole ceremony was perfect. I was very pleasantly surprised at the atmosphere and the general romance of the situation.

We had a reception at a small hotel in Peredelkino where many Russian poets went to live and write and the whole occasion was fabulous. The two families interacted well and got on like a house on fire. They all want to come to the UK to visit.

The week came to an end all too soon and, in hindsight, Vera’s decision to take my surname and was the wrong one. The change of the two passports (internal and external) has been tortuous. Vera has had to make four trips to Voronezh (500km from Moscow) to deal with the applications and collection of the passports – she has also had to change property ownership and bank account details and any number of other things. Word of advice – if you want your wife with you quickly – don’t change the surname – in the UK she can use your surname anyway and be known as whatever she likes.

Two weeks after getting married we rendezvoused in St Petersburg, and had a great four days there – the Winter Palace, Peterhof, the Saviour on The Blood all great to see – just never enough time. Further word of advice – found an “English pub” called Tramp in St Petersburg – absolute dive! Expensive, small food portions, food undercooked, zero customer service, rotten beer. Avoid like the plague, in fact, the plague is preferable.
However, there is an Uzbek restaurant off Nevsky Prospekt, that is absolutely great – although the name escapes me at the moment. I will add it later.

So where are we now? Vera is off to the US tomorrow on business for a 6 days and I fly to meet her again in Moscow in a week’s time. She will be collecting her international passport from Voronezh on 25th September and then will be finally able to apply for her settlement visa in the UK. She has been to the UK three times and this will be my 7th trip to Russia, all in 10 months. Next weekend is the anniversary of our first meeting and we will be together. Woohoo!!

On each trip I have taken to Russia recently I have been bringing back Vera’s belongings so that she does not have too much to bring eventually.

It has been a great year together – and apart, we are nearing the end but also the beginning and I just hope now that the good ol’ British authorities (UKBA) are convinced that this is more than a sham marriage (what do you mean 7 trips there and her three here are not enough!!), that we are solvent enough to meet their rules and that they pull their respective thumbs out of their behinds to grant Vera her visa quickly.

In many ways I can’t quite believe that this has happened as it has and in some ways as quickly as it has (although for a number of people on this site a year seems a long time – maybe I am just slow!). A year ago in Spain I was convinced I was going to have a few years of “singledom” before ever getting hitched again. There was no way I was looking for any sort of relationship, but despite all this the relationship, and Vera, found me.

Yes, we have had a few “cultural differences”. We have had the odd moment. But in the end none of this matters, English or Russian, we don’t really notice on the whole, we like the same things, I teach Vera about things, she teaches me about different things, we are living (or we will be) and learning together. We love each other, and that surpasses everything.

I read a lot about how to treat your Russian woman and in many ways I shake my head a little in dismay. To be honest, wherever you or your woman is from you should treat them the same, with love, honesty, understanding and respect. If you manage all that you won’t go far wrong.

I could not be happier!

P.S.
I will post more details of my trips to Russia and various places visited and things done in due course – just too much to cover in this submission. There are so many things on this forum to comment on that I need to prioritise. Vera and I have looked at some things here together and you may be interested to hear or read her views in due course!


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 Post subject: Re: The End In Sight - Life Together Just Beginning
Post Number:#2  PostPosted: 09 Sep 2011 18:13 
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Hello again James [hi.gif]

Firstly let me wish you and your wife Vera all the best for your wedding and welcome to the club!

Image


I must congratulate you for the excellent travel report and your story. To be honest it is one of the best I have read over the years on these boards and I have been around for quite a few! [clap.gif]

I can't wait to read all your other travel reports and I noticed that you give plenty of details and as you must have plenty of photos it would be nice if you could drop them in to make the posts more lively. Any technical problem, one of the mods can sorted out, mostly myself as I happen to spent more time reading and posting here.

Many times, I had noticed you were reading the board and I was wondering about you. I also hope the information we have posted here has helped you. Well now we know why you have been quite for sometime and that is very [good_news.gif]

I hope soon your wife Vera gets her Settlement Visa and comes over to join you.

If you read my own story then I am sure you realised that I am of the same view and before you take the big step you should make sure you know each other well and a year flies very quickly!

On the other hand it will be great to have another Russian woman posting on the board and giving us her inside views and opinions from Rodina.

One more time .... Image

All the best for the future

Wiz


PS: When you make a post, use the Preview button to see how your post will look and then, please click submit only ones otherwise you make many copies of the same post, be patience...... sometimes the system is slow. [wink.gif]

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 Post subject: Re: The End In Sight - Life Together Just Beginning
Post Number:#3  PostPosted: 09 Sep 2011 19:23 
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James .... Excellent story and ...

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For your wedding ... to you and your wife!

I hope you and Vera are Happy for ever.

Waiting for the next instalment! [read1.gif]

[bravo.gif]


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 Post subject: Re: The End In Sight - Life Together Just Beginning
Post Number:#4  PostPosted: 09 Sep 2011 20:03 
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Hello James and welcome to the board!!! [hi.gif]

Great story with happy end, easy to read and I enjoyed very much! [drink-coffee.gif] [thumbs.gif]

Your story reminds me the movie “THE RUSSIAN HOUSE” with Sean Connery and Michelle Pfeiffer. He also fell in love with Russian lady without thinking to find somebody from Russia.

Even it is late, Congratulation with your wedding day!

I wish both of you many, many great days together!

Thank you to sharing your story of love. [drinks.gif]

Hanna


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 Post subject: Re: The End In Sight - Life Together Just Beginning
Post Number:#5  PostPosted: 09 Sep 2011 20:48 
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James,

WOW some story, a very good, entertaining and interesting read.

I will have to agree with wiz that you have gone about things the right way and by that I mean that you have gotten to know your lady well before you made the "big" step.

I will add my belated Wedding congratulations to you and Vera and like the others I will also say that I hope that it works out for the two of you.

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 Post subject: Re: The End In Sight - Life Together Just Beginning
Post Number:#6  PostPosted: 11 Sep 2011 09:18 
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James

Excellent story and very nice reading. Glad to hear another happy ending and like wiz said, welcome to the club! [clap.gif]

I wish you all the best and hope your wife will with you very soon.

Keith


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