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Russia and America, the quiet detente Part four

There are two ways you can meet a Russian girl, the first method is subscription based services.
For a membership fee, you gain access to the database of available women, their biographic information, their picture(s), and contact information.  This is by far the most popular way of meeting a Russian woman. 

A little background, there have been women and whole agencies that are nothing but a front for scamming men out of money.  Elena at www.womenrussia.com and several of her competitors have suffered from the actions of the scammers. They have recently formed an alliance to indemnify themselves from the reputation that has built as a result of the crimers. 

The coop has set business standards that each of them adhere to – much like a smaller version of ISO 9000, they have written a joint protocol, and they also cross check each other for compliance. Imagine what would happen if GM and Ford did the same thing.  We’d have some very, very, solid and great cars coming out, iron clad warranties, and affordable prices. With the creation of the alliance, you are going to get the best service and the assurance that you are not dealing with scammers.  

You want to do business with those agencies who subscribe to the higher standards of conduct.  The list of reputable agencies can be found at http://www.womenrussia.com and http://www.russian-scam.org. A Pretty Woman (www.aprettywoman.com) is also one of the ‘good’guys” 

This is a good thing. 

When you begin your adventure, there is something you want to keep in the back of your mind – it is a numbers game.  The more girls you write too, the greater chance of success.  Keep the number reasonable though, otherwise it is going to get unmanageable. 

Russian women are direct to the point on what they are looking for.  If they are looking for someone who speaks English and lives in America that is what they mean. Period. 

When they say no-drinkers, smokers, etc.  That is what they mean. 

This is not to suggest there is no room for compromise, but stick close to their parameters.  This will help you in the long run. 

There is also some confusion about religion.  In Russia, just believing in something is usually identified as “Christian”.  Moslems will list Moslem.  Because of past problems, Jews will tend to avoid the question all together.   

Russian women use terms relative to their language and this can cause some confusion in communication.  Their phrases mean something different than the same expression does in America.  The biggest one is “financially secure”.  In American it means you’d better be rich.  In Russia, it means you need to have a job.  On www.womenrussia.com, there is a loose translation/equate of Russian terms and Russian meanings.  You will want to study this – trust me, I wish I had it when I was writing my soon to be wife.   

Another observation is the expression “age unimportant”.  In America it spells out looking for a rich old guy about ready to die – a gold digger. America is a material world.  In Russia it means they want to find a good person even if he is older/younger than she.   

You will also find the Russian woman is more interested in having a wonderful home and family life.  That is their cultural value.  A wonderful home can be a one bed-room apartment, a nice mobile home, etc.  You don’t have to have the best condo, townhouse, live in all the right high brow places – but to have something that can be called home. 

You also have to decide if you want to look at a girl who has children.  They come with the package and she will expect you to be a father to her children.  Are you up for the responsibility? 

Ok, you’ve selected a couple of girls you’d like to meet.  You sit down and start preparing your introduction letter and you freeze up.  What to say, what not to say.  Oh, my gosh……  What to do? 

My first letter to my wife was just a simple hello, “I am writing to introduce myself……”  But what I did before I wrote is I did my home work – I studied everything I could get my hands on about Moscow.  And, I asked questions in my first letter.  This does two things – 1.) Takes your mind off what you are going to say.  2.) You are showing the girl that you took the effort to find out about her world. A guy secret.. 

Things not to write about.  Your salary, your last bar tab, your “stuff”, your stock portfolio, your ex wife/girl friend, or anything that reeks of materialism.  Don’t criticize her country; don’t brag up your country.    

Do read her profile frequently and equate some of your activities with her interests.  Ask questions.  Keep away from personal stuff on your first letter like what does she look like in a bikini, etc. 

Stay away from ads that show too much flesh.  Russian women are modest and that is their cultural value – you find a girl showing too much flesh, you might be going down a wrong path.   

Russian women, the same as any other women, like to attract your attention though.  Cleavage showing is alright, but some girl in a very tight bikini, with girl parts falling out all over the place is probably not the right girl you’d want your mom to meet.    

When you are looking through ads, I recommend you look at professional women.  If this is the girl who is the one, it will be easier to get her a visa to the US.  The embassy looks at a number of factors, and one of top factors is what if the marriage does not work out – will this woman end up on welfare.  If she has transferable skills, the easier it will go for both of you. 

I do offer a fee based service that takes the girl’s occupation and find the necessary steps that must be taken to bring her Russian skills to American standards.  An example, a Russian doctor has to take all three of the USLME exams, plus the Clinical Skills exams and a 3 year residency course. I also rewrite a Russian CV to Americanize it.  All referrals have to come through Elena or through her web site.   

In your first letter, you also want to include a picture (singular) of yourself. The more pictures you include, the more on-line time the girl has to pay for.  Secondly, you want to look casual and normal in your own habitat. My first picture to my wife was me sitting in a chair, leaning back, in front of several computer monitors.  I had a sweat shirt and blue jeans on – I sent her a picture of me in my natural element and very relaxed.  Smile~!   

You will be sending this picture in JPG format.  I seriously recommend you go find a freeware JPG cruncher.  JPG’s have more information in them than is needed, and the more you can condense it the faster it will down load.  

Write your letter in small sentences, with Reader Digest type words.  Most Russian girls still use a dictionary and if you use slang terms, or sentences that are too complex, you are going to make reading your letter a task.  Keep it simply. 

ISPs in Europe operate differently than they do in the United States.  Internet time is by the hour and the cost during waking hours is back breaking.  After waking hours, the cost is still by the hour, but only half back breaking.  A JPG condensed by even 50% is better than nothing.   

Now, you sit back and wait.   

Don’t rush things, if the girl is going to respond, it will happen within a week or so.  Not all Russians have computers and ISP connections in their home. She might be using an internet service that she has to go to and get her e-mail.  She takes your letter home, reads it, and has to make time to go back to the internet service to send her reply.   

If two weeks goes by, don’t give up all hope, but think about starting moving on. 

When you get your reply, don’t expect a long letter, she is as nervous as you are – maybe more so.   

As you continue to write, start including little tidbits about yourself.  Your goals, your dreams, your favorite pastimes.  The music you like – and try to equate it to her interests.  Whatever you’d like to tell you.  Level 2 type conversation, with a tad of level 3 conversation.  

When you get a letter from her that starts off with My Lovely Man, time to open up to her.  Take her into your confidence, take risks and expose your throat.   

You did get cheap long distance rates didn’t you?  Now, you make your first telephone call.  But not too long – 5 minutes at the most.  Also take into consideration what time it is in her world – getting a telephone call at 2:00 a.m., her time, is not going to go over too well.   

Your telephone call should be short sentences with easy to understand words.  Do not speak too fast.   

Communicate for a couple of months before you two decide to meet face to face.  Two, three months is not bad.  Waiting too long is going to work against you also – I would not go over 4 months. 

Don’t just drop everything and show up unexpectedly – a big NO NO.  You and the girl have to plan this out in advance, and most of the homework is on your shoulders. 

Only certain hotels in Russia are authorized to take in foreign travelers. You have to have an entrance and exit visa issued by the Russian embassy and you have to have an invitation issued by the hotel you are going to. 

You have to make sure you have a valid passport, and all your shots are up to date.

You will have to find an international health insurance policy. 

Russians do not have paid vacation time.  If the girl takes off work, she will not get paid – you will suggest to her you will leave her with money to offset her loss. Typical Russian salary is about $25.00 (American) per month.  Be a gentleman and leave more than that - $50.00 (American) is just about right, and you are quietly telling her that she is important to you and you want to take care of her. A Guy secret. 

Next is the airline ticket – if you shop around and have enough lead time, you will get a great rate.  I got a round trip ticket for $790.00.  Normally, a ticket is $1200.00.   

You have to decide what city to meet in.  And, you will pick up the tab for her airfare to that city.  Moscow is not a bad place to meet, and it is easy to get to. Aeroflot is the main airline in Russia, you can make arrangements for the girl’s flight simply by calling their New York office and you can pay for that flight with your visa card. But do keep following up with Aeroflot to make sure everything is in place - sometimes the branch offices don't communicate well with the central office. 

By Russian law, unmarried people cannot sleep in the same room.  But, if you two agree to use one room to save money, there are ways around this.  I notified the hotel that the girl who was meeting me was my personal physician – worked wonderfully and we saved several hundred dollars. 

Ok, you’ve worked everything out, you did what you had to do, and you are on your way.  You will need either Imodium AD or Lamotel – water in Europe will raise hell with your digestive system. The challenges will absolutely give you no warning.   

Have all your medications in bottles with your name on them. 

You are allowed 40 pounds of stuff – period.  And, no more than $600.00 in cash with you – this is the rule.  Make sure your VISA card credit limit is high. 

When the girl meets you at Moscow international, make your greetings verbally, and extend your arm.  If she wants, she will slip her arm in yours.  If she doesn’t, do not be offended.  She’s in shock as much as you are. 

There are two prices in Moscow – one price for Russians and one for everyone else.  Let the girl do the talking with the cab driver, and keep your mouth closed for the entire ride.  If that cabbie suspects you are an American, that cab ride is going to set you back $70.00.  If the girl does the talking, it is 10 Roubles.   

When you get to your hotel, let the girl do the talking.  She will explain she is your personal what ever you told the hotel she is going to be.  

Be a hero – let the girl do the planning for your stay.  Give her a chance to ‘show off’ her country.  And take many, many, pictures of the two of you together. 

Your trip will go quickly and soon you have to return.  Leaving will be hard, but if she is the one then leave with confidence.  You will be with her again.  And, there is more you have to do.   

Save everything, receipts, plane tickets, etc., get the film developed as soon as you get home. 

Elena offers additional services which can help you with the girl’s visa to America.  Her rates are very reasonable and far cheaper than an attorney.  An attorney will charge you for discovery, how to fill out the forms, etc.  Elena knows the routine like the back of her hand, and she knows how to complete the forms correctly so they won’t bounce back for more information. 

Your adventure is really just starting.