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An urge to visit after one and a half year of talking 

My name is Dimitri and I am 23years old. Before I went to Russia I met this girl on the internet. We have been talking for about 1,5 year. Then there was the urge to visit her. 

So last year in 2003, I took the plane from Brussels to Moscow. It was a small plane, and there were not too many people on it. Before I got on the plane there was a Russian woman with a baby, she ask me in every possible language if I could help her carrying her baby on board. I only understand Dutch, English, French and some German. But somehow I understood what she wanted because she knew a few English words. So I helped her carrying her baby on the plane. She was a very friendly woman. She was married with a guy from Brussels and they were meeting each other in Moscow. This woman was very surprised when I told her that I didn't know any Russian. She wrote some words down for me that could be useful, like do svidania, poka poka, do vstrechi and so on. But those were just simple and easy words that most people know. But anyway I was pleased that she wanted to help me. On the way to Moscow we talked about Russia, and about Russian people. It was a nice chat. 

Sheremetvo

After 3hours we arrived in Moscow at the airport Sheremetyvo 2. I was following the line of people for passport and visa check. It was actually a place of chaos. When it was my turn, the woman at the desk looked at my passport and she saw that I was not a Russian citizen. And if you are not a Russian citizen then you need to fill in a paper of migration. The woman saw that I did not had that paper and she sent me back. There was a table at the start of the queue where I had to fill in such a paper. And then I had to wait again. I also ask that woman in the plane to meet after passport check. But when I was waiting in line for the second time. I saw that her husband was also there and they both left, I haven't seen them again. The woman at the desk for passport check looked at all my papers and this time it was ok.

 Then I had to search my luggage and after luggage check we entered the hall of Sheremetyvo 2 airport. There were at least 50 people asking if I needed a taxi. I had to tell them 50 times no because I would have a next plane in 17hours. So there I was, alone in Sheremetyvo 2 waiting for my next plane. I had a walk around the airport, it looked very nice. Only it is not easy to ask information, because not everyone who works at the international airport can speak English or French. Finally I found an info desk where there was a woman that could speak English because I needed to get in Sheremetyvo 1. 

She told me that it would be a good idea to take the bus that drives between these 2 airports and it is free also. With the information she gave me I went outside to look for the bus. After 15min there was the bus, it was a bus that doesn't look new. I could notice that I was not in Belgium anymore. With my big luggage I got on the bus, wondering what to do next. So I went to the front of the bus and I asked the bus driver for Sheremetyevo odin. I noticed that he could understand me and it was ok. 

My first look into Moscow was great. For me it was nice to see Moscow, one of the greatest cities in the world. On the way to Sheremetyvo 1 there was another airport and I thought that that would be my airport. So I got out of the bus and I walked in the direction of that airport. The bus driver noticed me and he used his horn, he made it clear that it was not the airport that I needed. So I got back on the bus and few minutes later we arrived at airport Sheremetyvo 1. Many people told me, or made it clear that this was the right airport. I was surprised that these few people wanted to help me. It gave me a great impression about how the citizens of Russia deal with foreigners. This airport looked a lot different then the first one. It looks older and smaller inside. But outside the airport there were many new expensive cars actually, like BMW X5 etc. The first thing that I did was look for a place where I could leave my luggage. Because I still needed to wait for more then 10hours for the next plane. On the right side of the airport building there were stairs going down and there were 2 people who would take care of my luggage after I paid them. 

At this airport, a domestic airport, it is hard to find someone who can speak English. Those people who take care of luggages could not speak English. So we had to make each other understand. After this, it was time to investigate this airport. Inside on the right there was a bar looking very beautiful. When you order a coffee there, you will have to pay 150rubels. It's allot, but when you enter the airport and go to the left then there are shops and in one of those shops they also sell warm coffee and it costs (prosto) 30r. Maybe it was something different, but I think it was the same, black coffee. In this airport there are not as many shops as in the international airport Sheremetyvo 2. 

So after a few hours you have seen it all. You can find shops for mobile phones, shops with souvenirs; there is even a post office in this airport and not in Sheremetyvo 2. There was one thing that I found a little spectacular; all the people who smoke just throw their burning cigarettes in a bin. In the bin there can be paper, plastic...and other things that belong there. So every few hours you can see a fire outside in the bins if you are lucky. I so wanted to go into Moscow city because I still had more then 10hours before my plane would leave. But I didn't know anyone there, I hadnít planned to visit Moscow city and I was not sure that I could get back at airport on time, so I stayed waiting in airport. This way I could also catch up some sleep. 

Khabarovsk

Finally it was time for my plane to leave, in the evening the airport got crowded, but everything went well. After my plane from Moscow to Khabarovsk, 8 hours flying, I got almost where I wanted to be. In the plane the stewards could speak English and French. That was much easier for me to ask anything I wanted. In the plane I started talking with the guy who was sitting next to me, his name was Vladimir. He was a company director and he could speak some English, he explains to me why there was a blanket on each plane seat. It was because it really got pretty cold in the plane. And a few hours later I felt like it was freezing in the plane, I was sitting next to the window, but I did had a nice view. 

My great wife

Then finally there I was on the other side of the world, in Khabarovsk airport Novvy, the gateway of the Far East. The plane landed and there was a bus that drove us from the plane to the airport arrival hall. I got out of the bus walked into the hall and there I saw my great wife Natasha for the first time.

 There was so many people waiting to see the passengers of this plane, it was very easy to find my great girl because she was in the front of everyone. After 1.5year we finally could hug for the first time. mmmm they were wonderful hugs and kisses, we had been hugging and kissing for about 10min, then she said, where is your luggage. I almost forgot that I still needed to pick up my luggage. This placed looked a lot different then the place in Moscow airport where I needed to get my luggage before. This place in Khabarovsk looked rather old; I believe it is an old airport. After I got my luggage we had been talking and hugging and kissing again. It was so great!!! Unforgettable moments!! Then we had to go to her place. 

Blagoveschensk

First we took the bus from the airport in Khabarovsk to the train station. The train station was a crowded place. First we searched for a place where we could eat. It was the first time that I eat Russian food and it was actually different then the food from Belgium. But for sure it was not bad because in those 3 weeks that I was in Russia I gained more then 5 kilos. After the nice Russian soup we went to the train station to get our train because we needed to get from Khabarovsk to Blagoveschensk to her place. It was my first time that I was in a Russian train. Our coupe had a small table and 4 beds. It was a comfortable place to stay in for 14hours. There was a lady walking in the train to sell drinks and food, but we had our own drinks and food with us. Actually Natasha took care of this. The train ride was rather long for me, because in Belgium it isn't possible to ride a train for 14hours. But it was a very nice experience, especially with my great wife!!

The train left in the evening, so we arrived early in the morning in a town called Belogorsk. Her father and her brother were waiting there to pick us and to drive us 1.5hour to Blagoveschensk. It was the first time that I was on Russian roads. It was great too see Russia out of a car. In a train you don't look outside all the time.

Chinese border 

After the nice ride through the city we arrived at her flat. She lives 800 meters from the Chinese border, so we had a nice look into China whenever we wanted. First thing that I noticed when I arrived at her flat was that there were no elevators. Not that I cant climb stairs, but it was just strange for me to see because in Belgium all flats do have elevators. Her flat was a very cozy place to live in. There was a kind of an elevator but it was only for the garbage. 

It was great to be together with this wonderful girl, it was really like a dream, her and I together, finally!! At her place we first took care to arrange all the things about marriage. There were many things that we had to do because we were not prepared for a wedding in 3weeks. But after all it all went well. Her family was also great they were very friendly and kind. Different from Belgium. 

The city Blagoveschensk is a great city to walk in together with my precious girl. There was one thing that caught my eye; everywhere were you look you saw someone with a big can of beer in his hand. Even in some shops you see people who are drinking alcohol. This is really surprising to see everyone drinking in the streets and in the shops. But in a few days it is a normal view. There are a lot of things that you can do together in this great city!! There are many markets in this great town and there is even a Chinese market. The great thing about these markets is that they stay there everyday. So you can go everyday to the market. The city has many statues of different things. When you walk next to the river you can eat a hotdog every 100m for 10r and they are actually tasty. On the other side of the river you can see China. On the river there you see customs with their great boat. They are having an eye on the border Russia - China. My great wife told me that in winter the river is frozen and the people walk or drive over the river to China or to Russia. Fascinating. We also took a boat trip, it was a short trip, and maybe it took 1hour. The boat went to the west and we had an even nicer look at the Chinese border. After 30min, the boat turned around and we arrived back at the place where we started. Another funny thing that I saw in Russia Far East is the following. Russians drive on the right side of the road. So they should have steering wheel on the left side of the car. But in Russia Far East, there are a lot of cars that have a steering wheel on the right side. Because these cars are cheaper and they come from countries like Japan. It's actually dangerous when you need to pass a car on the left side; it is hard to see the traffic coming from the other side. I also drove the car of my wife's brother, it was a big Nissan with a steering wheel on the right side and it was an automatic. It was great to drive there but I never drove a car with automatic or with a steering wheel on the right side, so it was really a great experience.

My wife, her family and I also went into the country for BBQ; it was a great day to have a Russian pick nick, next to the big river with a big bridge. The country looks very grand, the nature is so beautiful, there are mountains and again a great deal of nature. 

Marriage 

The marriage was on the 3rd of October 2003 it was one of the greatest days in my live. It made me cry many times, because it was such a great day! But after that day we only could be together for 3 days. Then we had to go back to Khabarovsk because I needed to get back to Belgium. This was one of the saddest days of our lives, it was time already to say goodbye to her family.

Our last time together, my wife, and I had been in the train to Khabarovsk and in the city Khabarovsk. We enjoyed ourselves for the last time being together in the train, we talked, we had food and we slept. Next day we arrived in Khabarovsk. And a few hours later I had to take my plane to Moscow. Brrrr the craziest day in my life, I had to leave my wife for an unknown time. It was so hard to say goodbye for now, there were many tears cried at the airport. It was really sad. She asked me to run away with her. It would have been a great idea, but only for a few moments because we need to think of our future.

After my 8hours flight I finally arrived in Moscow city again, in Sheremetyvo 1. After 20hours I would have my next plane again from Sheremetyvo 2 to Brussels. Meanwhile I was staying at the airport, dreaming of my girl......

Traveling to Russia was a life experience.

Kind regards 
Dimitri


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Dimitri and Natasha


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