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Steve S

July 2009 trip report

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Filed: K-1 Visa Country: Russia

A shout to friends I have met so far in this forum that I am back from Chelyabinsk/Moscow, and a few travellog tidbits:

This was my third visit to see Irina, and my first chance to see her since my divorce was final and we submitted the I-129F. So, one important purpose for the trip was for me to present her with a ring - which I did at a moment of complete surprise while we were with one of her girlfriends dining out (after the pelmeni and okroshka, and before the chocolate blini with chai). She was delighted, and cried a little (but in a good way). Next important business, to announce our intentions to her parents and babushka, which I did in halting Russian and it seemed to go over well - I think they are truly happy for us, as is her brother who I also met for the first time last week.

Phew. We then spent the second half as tourists in Moscow and to catch up with another of her friends who recently moved there. We did a little sightseeing -- the Kremlin, Gorky Park (now Park Cultura) -- but mostly we wanted nonpressured time together, at the flat -- to . . . relax.

To change subject from my own personal details, here were some other random observations:

- was short-sleeve weather, on the hot side but with nice breeze -- July is the perfect time to visit.

- food was excellent, we tried several places serving Russian and Uzbek cuisine. My first Sunday there, we were going to try a Mexican food place which I was quite skeptical about but also very curious -- however, they did not take Visa and I did not have a chance to exchange much currency beforehand.

- public drunkenness on display! At one of the restaurants, a woman stumbled to our table and tried to strike up a conversation. After we politely declined, she continued to stare at us, swaying back and forth, until eventually the manager shepherded her on her way.

- trip back and forth from Chelyabinsk to Yuzhnouralsk (100 km or so) was quite an adventure. We took the bus on the way there, and were subject to second episode of public drunkenness. Two loud guys with beer behind us, one of whom kicked the back of my seat hard. At first I thought he did it on purpose, but then we saw that he was thrashing about wildly because he had to pee urgently. Fortunately for all of us they soon got off at a reststop soon afterwards. On the way back, we decided a taxi might be more civilized way to travel, but we were in for a white-knuckle ride! This driver was tailgating a meter or two from the next car at 130 km/hour, passing trucks on the 2-lane highway with very little margin of error to avoid head-on collision, blaring his music which essentially precluded any conversation, and periodically slowing down and pulling his seatbelt over whenever we were approaching police -- rather than simply to keep it buckled. I was wondering to myself whether my life insurance policy covers accidents while abroad! Taxi fares are much cheaper in Russia, and because the price is generally negotiated ahead of time the driver has every incentive to complete the trip at breakneck speeds.

- I continue to be impressed with Aeroflot. They run on time (however, Irina just said her return flight was 3 hours later than what it said on the electronic ticket confirmation -- I haven't sorted out what happened yet). As another poster commented recently about this or another domestic airline, they still serve a good meal. I still haven't gotten my act together to enroll in their frequent flyer program, due to jetlag, fatigue and other distractions whenever I am at their airport.

- Of course, I wish I had more time with her but it is good to be home. One of my first orders of business -- to go out for a big ol' American style breakfast!

05/04/09 -- K1 visa, NOA-1

09/18/09 -- K1, NOA-2

01/26/09 -- Interview passed in Moscow

03/02/10 -- POE, JFK airport

05/23/10 -- Wedding!

11/16/10 -- 2-year green card approved

04/01/13 -- 10-year green card approved

11/23/13 -- N-400 mailed

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Filed: K-1 Visa Country: Philippines

Mr. and Mrs. Jaime Ferdinand Espiritu

request the honor of your presence

at the marriage of their daughter

Angelie Helena


Gregory William Preston

Thursday, the Fifth of November

Two Thousand and Nine

at Six O'clock in the Evening

Preston Estate

Wetherington Drive, Cincinnati

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Filed: Citizen (apr) Country: Russia
I still haven't gotten my act together to enroll in their frequent flyer program, due to jetlag, fatigue and other distractions whenever I am at their airport.

Glad to see you back and I'm glad that everything went so well! Lesya will be glad to hear it as well (she kept asking me every day this week whether I had heard anything from/about you and Irina).

I'm sure we'll talk in more detail about your trip in the coming days.

As for Aeroflot Bonus --- my advice would be -- don't bother. The Bonus program is pretty unstable-- they have very few partners and the ones they do have don't seem to stick around very long. I joined a long time ago before Aeroflot was a part of Skyteam. But since joining SkyTeam, earning and using your miles/points through Delta (or any other SkyTeam partner) is a much better option. It's to your advantage to try and concentrate miles in one program to allow you to earn free flights, upgrades, etc that much faster. The only thing is -- EVERY time you check-in for an Aeroflot flight, make sure to ask the person checking you in to verify that your Skymiles number is in the flight record-- they have a tendency to get "lost" in their system, and Aeroflot is one Delta partner that's a real PAIN to try and get miles credited for AFTER a flight.

Again, I'm really glad to hear that the trip went so well! You're making me even more anxious for MY visit next month.

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Welcome back glad everything went well. Just to catch you up while you were gone there was blatant stereotyping, pie and guns.

Also how much relaxing did you really do at the flat? My wife and I relaxed a lot and now our son is almost 2.

Thom n Elena

Arrived Grand Rapids 12/13/06

Finally Home

Married 12/28/06 Husband and Wife finally


Card Received 7/23/07

Aleksandr arrives 8/29/07 7 lbs 19in


Filed April 21, Received NOA May 5,2009

Biometrics 7/7/2009

Biometrics Cancelled 6/29/09

Reschedule 7/22/09

Biometrics complete only 2 people in office wifey done in 15 min

Letter received New LPR Card in 60 days WOOHOO!!!!

LPR Card Received

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Filed: AOS (apr) Country: Russia
Welcome back!

Ditto on the welcome back.

Also, while you were gone, we all have officially declared that we are now fond of......guns....pie.....and sour cream !!!

Phil (Lockport, near Chicago) and Alla (Lobnya, near Moscow)

As of Dec 7, 2009, now Zero miles apart (literally)!

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Filed: K-1 Visa Country: Russia

And leaving cat hair around your house! You'll find out. ;)

Glad you made it back safe and sound, Steve!

11/13/2009 -- Mailed I-129F

11/17/2009 -- Received NOA 1

02/10/2010 -- NOA 2 Mailed

02/16/2010 -- NOA 2 Received (via email)

02/19/2010 -- Petition forwarded to Moscow

04/23/2010 -- Scheduled Interview - SUCCESS

07/20/2010 -- Entrance to USA POE Anchorage

08/21/2010 -- Wedding

11/04/2010 -- Mailed AOS

01/25/2011 -- AOS Interview - SUCCESS

Member of the RUB group, where high horses meet low brows.

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Thanks for the update. Sounds like you guys had a good time. And some adventure!

Русский форум член.

Ensure your beneficiary makes and brings with them to the States a copy of the DS-3025 (vaccination form)

If the government is going to force me to exercise my "right" to health care, then they better start requiring people to exercise their Right to Bear Arms. - "Where's my public option rifle?"

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