It was a quite a while ago, but I still remember the first time I ever met my wife. It brings back memories of my own Marriage Visa experience. It was summer time and I was looking for somewhere to spend my last few weeks of vacation. I wanted to go somewhere I have never been before. A friend of mine was also thinking of doing the same thing. So together we picked an exotic country. We had worked with a lot of Ukrainian and Russian girls, so we figured it would be a good place to experience century old history and meet some nice women.
The video below is Lugansk, Ukraine. This is where my wife lived in the Ukraine.
One thing that we knew we needed was a guide that spoke English. We did not speak Russian or Ukrainian. It would have been impossible for us to communicate with anyone but ourselves. I heard that it was easy to find a guide through the Internet. I did a search and found many Ukrainian guides, both men and women, eager to show us around the country. I contacted a few of these guides and was either not impressed with their understanding of English or not comfortable with how they wanted to show us around the country. After visiting a few websites, I came across a profile of a guide that was flexible and understood what we wanted to do in Kiev. She was more than happy to take us around.
She was more of what I was looking for in a guide and was very flexible with dates and agenda. We sent emails back n forth a number of times to get more information from each other. As we conversed through email and phone calls I started to realize that she was more than just a guide. I was starting to find that I had a lot in common with her. Our conversations would often times turn to family, love and life in general. She had a unique view of life and family that I found intriguing.
As the trip drew closer, my friend decided he did not want to go. It made me a little nervous to be traveling to a former soviet republic alone, but I had already made the commitment to experience something new and exciting that year. There was no turning back for me. I was also very interested in meeting my guide who started to become more of a friend and possibly more.
Finally the day came where I needed to make my final arrangements. I left on the very early 6 am morning flight from San Diego to Atlanta. From Atlanta I was going to take an Air France plane to France and then finally a Ukrainian Airlines plane to Kiev, Ukraine. I chose the less expensive way to fly which turned out to be the longest route to take. Even though the route was the longest it seemed much shorter than I expected. It must have been the excitement of it all that made it seem so short. I had a very short layover in Atlanta.
The Air France flight was very nice. I flew economy and it was equivalent to flying first class in the USA. So I did have a nice time on that flight. The food was great and the service outstanding. Once again I think it was the excitement of flying to somewhere that I have never been because the flight did not feel as long as I thought. Before I knew it I was in Paris, France. The airport in France was very confusing. There was major construction going on to accommodate more planes. Signs were not where they were supposed to be and in the end I needed to ask for assistance to find my way to my next flight. In France I had a three hour layover. And to make things worse, there was nowhere to sit down. I had to stand up or sit on the ground. All the seats were in the boarding area and you were only allowed in this area if your flight was ready to pre-board. So it was not a comfortable experience for me.
For some reason it was also difficult to find out where and when your flight was going to board. The display boards were only showing flights for the particular terminal you were in and not for all flights. It was impossible to understand their logic. I had to continue to ask about the status of my flight over and over again to ensure I was not missing it. Finally about 20 minutes to the time that my plane was going to leave, I was told that I was in the wrong terminal. There are terminal buses that run from one terminal to the other. So I had to rush and hope that I would not miss the flight. I arrived at my boarding gate and was one of the last ones to board.
The Ukrainian Airline flight from Paris to Kiev was comfortable, yet service was none existent. By the time I had gotten onto this plane I was very tired and fell asleep. As a rule, never fall asleep on a Ukrainian Airline. If you miss something, like food, drink or immigration documents, you will never have a chance to get them again. Try to ask and you get a rude remark or ignored; stay awake.
It was a quick 2 hour flight to Kiev. Surprisingly the flight was smooth and the landing was just as good. Since only the larger airline companies are allowed to pull up to the tarmac, our plane parked away from the terminals. A nice, large bus came up and picked up all the passengers. It was a very short ride to the Boryspil International Terminal B. There you are immediately greeted by passport control. Now if you arrive at peak time, then prepare for a two to three hour wait before you reach any passport control desk. I was lucky and flew in late. I missed the peak time. No one was standing in line but me. My wait time was minimal.
As soon as I passed through passport control, I was easily able to find my luggage. There is a little small area to collect your luggage and it is impossible to miss. Now with my bag in hand, I made it up and out into the main heart of the airport. I exited the double doors and I immediately saw her. She was even more beautiful in person than her pictures. We gave each other a very light hug.
I found a currency booth and exchanged some money. We quickly found a taxi and were off to the hotel. I was staying at the Hotel Ukraine, which I do not recommend. Terrible hotel to stay at and rooms are very old soviet style. Save yourself the headache and rent an apartment.
I had a room for myself and a room for my guide/friend. After getting settled, we walked around town and then it was time to retire for the night. I tried to give her a hug good night, but she was not comfortable with hug, She even backed away not allowing me to get too close to her.
The next day she was at my hotel room door at 9 am to accompany me to breakfast. The morning meal still had that old soviet era feel. Everyone sits around one large table. There are no private tables like in the USA. Everyone was silent at the table and I felt strange talking. I did not want to disturb anyone, so I remained silent.
From there we started our tour of Kiev. The tour lasted many days. There was so much interesting history to see. Each day I would try to hold her hand or get closer to her and she would refuse me. I continued to learn more about her and her culture. After a week in Kiev, she returned to her home city and I followed. I spent another week there with her and then prepared to return to the USA.
We parted with a hug. I left Ukraine with a better understanding of the people and culture, yet a romantic connection I did not make. From my point of view, it was clear to me that she was not interested in a relationship. I thought she may have only wanted a friendship and nothing more. But as time went on our friendship turned into something more.
It was not until the second meeting where we became closer and ventured into serious talk of relationships, marriage, a life together and starting the K1 Visa Process.
In The End…
It took three more years before we were finally together. Now for those that only want to meet a Russian or Ukrainian girl and then get married, three years might sound like a long time. For us three years was just enough time to really get to know each other. I am glad I took the time, because I do not believe our marriage would have been as strong without this detailed understanding of each other. I think it really helped develop a strong bond and helped us in the long run. The K1 Visa process can be trying on a relationship. It does not lend itself to romance. Having a strong bond will get you through this together.