Thursday, July 26, 2012

One chapter ends, Let the new chapter begin.

After a long battle, my divorce is final! I cannot say that it has been easy but I managed to get primary custody of my son and I was able to keep the house also. I am one of the fortunate few that benefited from the "Making Home Affordable" program. My loan was modified significantly. In fact the payment was lowered almost $600.00 and the interest rate lowered from over 6% to 2% fixed interest rate so I can continue to afford the payments now.
I did however have to take on all the acquired bills and lost a significant portion of my retirement but in all honesty that is of little importance to me. The important thing is the future.It has been a long time coming but now I can begin to plan a future with Anna!
As many of you are already aware I am flying to Russia next month to visit her for the first time. I have purchased the passport and my visa has been approved. Thanks for the help from a good friend, I was even able to purchase the tickets to visit Anna in Russia.
Now as one chapter of my life has ended, a new chapter begins. In fact it is not a chapter, it is a whole new story.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

It is finally here!

After over 1650 pages of written correspondence between Anna and I, my passport was returned with an approved Visa to Russia! Finally I can go visit Anna!
Thanks to the generosity of a good friend of mine, my plane tickets have already been purchased so now it is time for us to wait.
I will finally be able to see Anna in person for the very first time. As I prepare for my trip she is working out the details regarding the sights we will visit and where we will stay. To be honest I don't care what we see or where we stay. The only important thing to me is that I will be with her.
It will be a very long flight there with a 10 hour layover at JFK Airport in New York, but it is well worth it to me. If I spent 1 week in the air to spend an hour with her it will be worth it. Fortunately I will be there just over a week. So we will be able to spend many hours together.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Babies and Zombies on the highway

Today Anna informed me that one of her best friends that lives in Miami, Florida was on the news because she gave birth to her a baby girl on the highway I-95. Her husband tried to rush her to the hospital but the baby would not wait. So her husband had to pull over to the side of the road and deliver the baby himself.
They called emergency services but the paramedics arrived shortly after the baby arrived.
It was very funny when Anna tried to share this story with me because she tried to send me a link to the story but the link she sent was of a completely different story.
Here is the link she sent me
This was a link to a story of a man that was arrested for eating a man's face off on the side of the road. Anna tried multiple times to send me the story of her friend but for some reason it was always the same link to the story of the "Highway Zombie".
Finally I was able to look up the story of her friend on Google and found the story she intended for me to read. I thought it was funny and told Anna I felt sorry for her friend because she gave birth to a zombie on the side of the road. Anna, however did not find it too funny.
Here is a link to the story she wanted me to read.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Process-The Beaurocratic Nightmare

Anna and I are currently researching the process to obtain the K-1 visa for her and the K-2 visas for her children when the time comes.
It is not as easy as 1-2-3 by any means.
I thought is was a difficult process to apply for my visa to Russia. This iss nothing compared to the process Anna and I must go through to bring her and her children here from Russia.
The first thing we must do is prove that we have been together within the last 2 years. This is my main reason for going to Russia so that we can get some photos of us taken together in front of recognizable national attractions such as Red Square and other popular tourist sites.
Next we need to provide proof of our correspondence. This should be the easy part. We now have 1600 pages of written correspondence between us and I think we will have no difficulty proving this.
Then we must provide various documents that may be difficult to obtain. For instance, Anna's first husband has dissappeared and no one has seen him in a number of years. In fact it is not known if he is dead or alive. He must sign papers to allow Anna to take her daughter out of the country. Finding him will be virtually impossible.
Because of this complication, Anna will probably need to retain an attorney to present her case before the court in Russia. This is probably the biggest obstacle that we must cross in order for us to obtain the K-2 visa for her older daughter.
In addition to all of this many documents must be submitted along with the application including birth certificates, school records, employment history, etc...
Hopefully we can obtain all the necessary documents and get the application processed in a timely manner which is considered to be 8 months.
So if anyone ever considers attempting to follow in our footsteps, I hope you are well prepared. In the words of Anna's grandmother "It is best if you find love down the street."

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Russias Got Talent!

Believe it or not Anna's 7 year old son is quite the singer and he performs during various concerts in Russia. Anna sent me this photo of him taken during one of his performances.
He will be singing in another concert very soon. We hope to get a video of his performance to share on the blog soon.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Flash Flooding in Russia.

My desire is not to bring politics onto this blog but today Anna and I discussed a topic that has been published about the floods that occurred in Krymsk, Russia.
This was a region in Russia that Anna is quite familiar with. Her late grandmother lived there and Anna used to visit there quite frequently. This has been a sad day in Russia. With over 170 people lost to the flood and many still missing, I can only compare this to the tragedy that occurred not too long ago here in America. This tragedy followed hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.
 There is much controversy regarding the lack of comment from the Russian Government on this incident and it is similar to the controversy that surrounded the U.S. Government's response to Hurricane Katrina. Many people believe this flood could have been prevented by the Russian government but the threat was ignored to protect another region in Russia that is located in Novorossiysk.
This region is a major Black Sea port and it is essential for exporting Russian oil and grain. It is thought that the government released water from a reservoir allowing the water to flood the region of Krymsk in order to prevent a dam from breaching thus protecting the region of Novorossiysk which is of significant economic importance to Russia.
In summary all I can say is that Governments seem to operate in similar fashion regardless of what country you live in. It is sad that a government that is supposed to protect its citizens focuses on other agendas.
I think this is true both in Russia and in America. Hurricane Katrina, meet Flash Flooding in Krymsk!
Fox news says "Early in his presidency, Putin learned the hard way about the need to take charge quickly when disaster strikes.". Doesn't this remind you of the statements made by the press during the story of Katrina? It does me.
We are really not that much different. I think we see the same thing in America during these types of situations.
We are not as different as we think we are. Just because we don't speak the same language does not mean we are not similar.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Let the waiting game begin!

Two months after Anna applied for the letter of invitation, yesterday I was able to send the package away to CIBT to submit the application to the consular for approval. I first had to fill out an application for the Visa at the Consulate General of the Russian Federation in Seattle.
The application was for a private homestay visa that will be valid for 90 days minus the time that is required for the processing which is a 15 business day processing time.
I had to send the Visa application, The CIBT applicaion, my passport with copies of the vital pages, passport photos and the official letter of invitation from Anna. Then of course there was a price tag of over $300.00.
Now it is just a matter of time before I get my passport with the required visa to enter Russia. The waiting game has begun. All I can do now is wait with my fingers crossed.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

It's Finally Here!

After about 2 months after Anna applied for an official letter of invitation to me, I received it in the mail just yesterday! I actually was disappointed when I arrived to the Postal Annex a 2:30 and it had not come yet.
 I was on my way back home when they called and informed me that the letter I had been waiting for had just been delivered. Literally I had to turn the car around and return to the Postal Annex to retrieve the Letter. The first Letter addressed from Anna to me!
Now, I can complete the application for a homestay visa to Russia. Both Anna and I are excited. I now have 90 days to go to Russia to visit with her and the 2 children. We hope this visit will occur during a week in Late August.