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16. Elena... The moment of truth had arrived after a year

Eventually the great moment of truth had arrived after a year. A quarter of an hour before one o'clock I was in front of the hotel. I would lie if I say that I was not a bit nervous. It was a great moment for me and I hoped that it would be a memorable one as well. The streets were an ant's nest of cars and buses, a total contrast from the time when I arrived that morning. The sidewalks were jam packed with people. The people on the street were very nicely dressed. I cannot recall that I had seen someone in blue jeans. Next to the main entrance of the hotel two ladies were plastering the outside walls of the hotel. I was waiting patiently close to where the women were doing the renovation work. I was looking around and the next moment I saw Elena. At exactly 13h00 I saw Elena for the first time alive about twenty meters from where I was standing. I did not know how she arrived. I knew that she had a car, but never saw her stepping out of a car. She had a pair of blue jeans and a white t-shirt on. Her long blond hair was in a ponytail. She was looking in my direction. We walked closer to each other. She was as beautiful as she was on the photos that I had received from her. We greeted each other and started talking a little bit. Elena asked me what I wanted to do. I think she did not complete the sentence before I answered that I would like to eat. I was as hungry as a lion.

In the same building complex as the hotel was a restaurant that Elena suggested for lunch. Elena picked our spot to sit and explained the menu to me before we ordered the food. The romantic atmospheres of the restaurant have contributed to ensure that our relationship started in a relaxing way. It broke the tension because our focus moved from trying to understand each other to ordering food. Thereafter everything was natural between us. Understandable moments were an enjoyment, something common that we had shared and not an embarrassment. I was speaking slower and used basic words to help Elena to understand me. It did not take us long before we felt like we knew each other for a long time - actually, we did know each other for a long time, because of our long correspondence and discussions. It was wonderful to experience the feeling that you are a unit, that you belong together. From the beginning I have enjoyed it with Elena and was feeling comfortable with her. I had no doubt that she was the woman with whom I wanted to spend the rest of my life.

Elena could not stay too long because of deadlines that she had to meet. She promised to pick me up later that afternoon. She had told me that this would be a very busy time for her before I came to visit her. Later that afternoon she came to fetch me in her car. It was a small Russian, now Ukraine manufactured car. I am a tall guy, and as I usually do, I move the seat back if there is nobody behind me. I also did it in Elena's car. As she accelerated, the chair felt backwards with me. There I was lying next to her with my feet in the air. It was an embarrassing moment for both of us, but probably more for Elena than for me. Afterwards we had a good laugh about it and still today she is telling people how I broke her car shortly after we have met for the first time.


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The Palace of Merchant Sevast'yanov, Ekaterinburg, Russia
The Palace of Merchant Sevast'yanov, Ekaterinburg, Russia (architect Paduchev, 1860-1863). This eclectic 3-storey building is situated in the historical center of Ekaterinburg, right of the dam. Sevast'yanov wanted to plate the roof with gold but the city mayor prohibited it. Sevast'yanov then applied to the Tsar but was told that only church roofs were plated with gold, "So the Lord could notice them more often". For his arrogance Sevast'yanov had to go to church every day in iron shoes and ask forgiveness. Luckily the church - the Temple of Martyr Ekaterina, destroyed in 1930's - was across the road.

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