Sunday, July 31, 2011

How legal does it need to be?

This weekend I stumbled into some kind of spacial distortion centered around my computer monitor....even though only 48 hours have passed by Earth standards, I have spent approximately 9.5 billion hours doing "research" online.

What is this "research", you may ask? Well, it's mainly me scrambling madly about trying to find ways to make our life in Ukraine slightly more legal.
*Sigh* It would be nice if everything were all sorted and and on the up-and-up (word from the parents: correction, it would be nice if they were buying a new car and having grandkids and living in America!)...and it mostly is on the up-and-up, as far as things in Ukraine can be, but then again, it's Ukraine. You have to take it with a grain of salt and a healthy dose of unwarranted hope. Or skepticism. Or shot of горилка. Actually, Ukraine is super-awesome for visiting Americans, as long as you're not trying to stay over 90 days. That's when the fun begins.

When I went to Siberia, I didn't do ANY research. The International Office kept asking "are you sure about this?" At one point I did a Google search but I swear, at that point there was nothing online about that city. I found a picture of some mud and a horse, had a momentary nagging worry, and then shrugged it off. (Now, of course, they seem to have a lot of decently-organized tourist websites.) I think I also tried to find information about it in the library. Nada. Who knows, maybe I was spelling things wrong, I don't know. There was a guy at the university who had studied there about 5 years ago and I sat him down in the student pub and asked some pointed questions, but the answers were mainly "diamond mines" and a long story about a girl...hmm, why does everyone seem to get out of that city with a long story about someone?

I'd like to think I'm approaching this differently (ie, doing research) this time around so I can do a scientific experiment: is it better to plan ahead or is it better to just show up? But maybe, maybe I'm actually doing it differently because I'm old now (well, not really, but older than I was then). Anyways, the 'why' of it aside, I'm planning and I'm researching like crazy.

I've used some of my penpal sites to write locals, gone through expat forums for "what's your opinion?" questions, and- don't laugh- one of the best places for our legal questions has been the marriage websites. As in "mail-order bride" kind of stuff. But I can't fault them for desiring Russian women because I'd be faulting myself. Am I not settled down with a Russian man? Who says their interest in the culture is any less genuine than that of moi? Back to the point, the only people in the world who have the exact same questions that we have are the people on that site! I hope they can suggest some answers.

Days until departure: 29

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