Russian Brides Cyber Guide
I'm 37, English, a professional engineer, a couple of failed long-term relationships and a 6 year old daughter 300 miles away in Yorkshire. Not very happy, left the job, sold my house and started web design courses. While I was choosing useful links for my site I came across the dating agencies and started having a look through. I'd never seen them before and I was amazed at the number of east-west orientated agencies.
At first I was very casual about it all, and I blitzed off about fifty opening letters. All the girls I thought were pretty and I would seriously carry on talking to. I started getting quite a few replies and they continued when I sent my photograph. I thought "what's going on here?" and started to narrow it down to the girls (about 5) that had the most interesting letters and looked most attractive.
It seemed completely unreal and I would just write every few days, then a few seemed to drop out and a couple revealed further bits and pieces like kids etc, and I was just down to a couple. I got this digital camera and I was sending as many pics as I was receiving so I knew they liked me as well as I liked them. Eventually I was down to one, and it was funnily enough the one I liked most at the beginning. She's 25 from Moldova, but a Russian family, and her name's Galina. Her grandmother was in the 2nd world war at Kursk. It's a bit strange because it was action like that that was keeping the V2's off my grandparents in London.
I corresponded with her for about a month and it started getting a bit real. Off other sites I got a bit of a feel for the situation and it seemed reasonable to think about a visit. I don't go on many holidays and what else was I going to do with my new found freedom? I didn't see your site until today but I wish I had done, it would have been really useful.
Anyway, I said
that I might pop over for a visit, and she seemed really interested but
didn't believe it. That really got me going so I decided I was
definitely on my way! I joined Wexas International as I knew thy were
OK and looked through the travel sites on the web for fares and hotels
etc. I had heard of Moldova, but I didn't really know where it was so
there was a fair bit of learning to be done. All this time I'm
obviously still corresponding with her, and
Looking for info one day I saw a 'send flowers to Russia' site. I e-mailed them about Moldova and they said they covered the area, so I backward-engineered trying to find where she works. All I had was phone No.s and something about Institute of Medical Physics. In the end I had a bit more info so I sent it to them, and luckily the red roses on the menu were only in odd numbers, so I chose 11, nearest to the 12 you'd normally choose. It was $80 which took my breath away but by now I'm getting into this adventure and it's got to happen. Two days later all I'm getting are e-mails complaining she can't work, she keeps having to check the flowers in the bathroom. Her mother thinks it's all a joke until she gets home, (the flower people checked the address with her during the day).
By now I was having trouble with realistic flight times and connections without an overnight stay in Prague etc. I chose the most expensive hotel in Chisinau so that I would have at least one firm reference point during the stay. Remember I've never been further east than Germany and I wasn't too happy about all this, but I wasn't about to pay thousands of dollars to be stuck on a 'tour' with some fat old businessmen.
Finally after a couple of delays I managed to get a flight with good connections and there were vacancies at the hotel. All booked up. I went into town and bought some new clothes, got my travelers checks, insurance etc. I told my Mum and Dad so the they know where the will is for my daughter in case I don't come back. They were quite bemused and wondered what the idiot is up to this time.
I booked a taxi to the airport and left at 4.00 am to get my plane and then it really hit me, what the hell was I doing? I'd been so busy organizing things before I ignored any fear about going to the unknown etc. What if Galina didn't like me? Photos are one thing, but real life an be a bit more difficult. All the right signs were there, long genuine e-mails. I liked what she wrote and I liked her photos. I thought in the end that if the worse comes to the worse it's a good day out! Nobody else I know had done the same.
I rang through from Paris and booked up the hotel car from the airport, which at a further $50 seemed a bit much but again peace of mind. The Russian plane was better than I anticipated and it was weird looking down on Chisinau as we came into land, I'd seen the photos sent to me over the Internet. It was all suddenly very true and I couldn't really imagine that she was in the terminal waiting.
We got in the bus for the terminal but an army woman got on and asked for Mr Reeder, and told me to go with her. I said "I've only been here 5 minutes and I've already got arrested!" but nobody laughed. They took me to the VIP mini-bus and took me to the separate terminal where visiting heads of state arrive, and I went through fast-track, they were already doing my visa as I went in. The driver came in and put my bags in a big new BMW and suddenly the $50 started looking cheap.
We left and I had to tell him to go back up the road to the normal terminal where Galina was waiting. She couldn't believe it when I walked in the wrong way and had trouble believing it was me, she went very quiet. She looked smaller than her photo and she also looked pretty ill, but she looked absolutely beautiful, I couldn't believe it.
We went out to the car and straight off to the hotel. She started talking quite easily about subjects from our e-mails, but I was having problems as it was all a bit much and I was quite nervous. I showed her the presents I got her family, just some things like a clock from Marks and Spencer and a pen for her brother and she was pleased that I'd taken the trouble. We went for a walk and a meal that evening and then she had to go home to her parents.
After that it was like a different world. Chisinau was really nice, although a bit run-down. I had to get used to their attitudes, which rang so true when I read your myths section. It was all there you just had to tune in. She got a bit awkward if I tried to kiss her and after a couple of days I was really depressed. So I got absolutely wasted in the hotel bar one night. When she came round the next day she was a bit annoyed with me but I explained I didn't particularly care as thought I'd blown it anyway. Things suddenly took off after that, and I didn't drink too much either!
I went to dinner at her parents and I got on OK with them. We went on day trips etc, but it didn't really matter where we were it was just so different being with her. All the things I picked up from the e-mails came true and it confirmed what I thought I was going to feel like in advance. After about 4 days I really knew I was falling in love so I told her. She didn't want to say anything back and I told her not to, no pressure. We had a great time and even a couple of emergencies which were quite stressful but it all worked out OK in the end.
When I was going we were talking about her getting a visa for the UK but it was increasingly looking like a fiancee visa was the only possibility. I said I'd come back anyway so we'd sort everything out. At the airport they suddenly whisked me off into the VIP part again and I was on my way but she called me back and said that she loved me too. This was a bit too Casablanca for me so I said I'd ring when I got home and went through the terminal. My dreams had come true.
Now we're trying to sort out the visa, but I'm going back in about 4 weeks. I think we'll probably get married there and have a repeat ceremony in London. They can't argue with a marriage certificate. My Mum and Dad will be there and that's all I need. I feel sorry for them as they still can't get used to the idea that I went in the first place!
As I said before I liked your site, it's all so true in hindsight and luckily I managed to pick it up as I went along. But the culture and self-esteem bits were really all there, and the reluctance initially to get too intimate or involved. But they were the good bits.
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