The Non Trip Report:
For the nine months or so that I have been posting on the forum I have always said that ‘I don’t do trip reports’. I’ve always thought them somewhat intrusive and, more importantly, less than real because one never knows how a relationship is really going to work out. So often times I read them with a chuckle and a somewhat cynical attitude. Given the history of online forum dialogue, I also am reserved when it comes to sharing any personal information as I have seen how it can be used against an individual in future discourse. But I have been inspired by some of the members here, particularly CC3 and his willingness to combat all detractors as we have seen on a thread not on this forum.
A Brief History:
For the record, I began my search a year and a half ago. I had, a while ago, come out of a marriage where my ex-wife’s family had controlled our social activities. It was not that I didn’t have friends, but these friends were integrated with her family and therefore not those that I could regularly interact with. Perhaps it was for this reason that I chose to look elsewhere when re-entering the dating scene. I have good ties to Eastern Europe, having done business there for years and also having various different family connections. I come from an affluent part of Southern California. I am of the younger set of men looking for an FSU woman. Because I have made multiple trips to Eastern Europe unrelated to my search, I know the culture and know the type of women one might find if one knew where to look. Hopefully my lifestyle, age and experience would allow me entry into the FSU dating arena.
The Eye Candy Factor:
Having no knowledge of the wealth of data to be found on fora associated with searches, I, like many others, had no guide in entering the arena of FSUW dating. No one told me what to do. So I went with what looked like the largest online dating site, ADate. I spent two months gearing up for dialogue with women. I had a nice informal portrait of me done. I bought new clothes. I evaluated what type of woman I would want. And I began to talk online. For those of you wondering whether it is a bad investment to use a PPL site, the answer is almost always, yes. The investment is not of money. The investment is of time. We have discussed, in other threads, the high probability that the person you are chatting with and writing letters to is probably not the woman in a profile. I didn’t know this. While I felt the women were somewhat elusive, I used what I hoped was my winning personality to draw them out and settled on my first trip, a WMVF.
A Neophyte in UA:
Looking back at that first trip, I now realize that I was probably played more than I thought. While the women whose profiles I was writing to did meet me, there were periods of wrong communication that most likely originated from my emails and chats missing their intended targets and the objects of my affection not knowing the shared history that we really had not shared. What I mean is that I was really not talking to a woman, or writing letters to a woman, instead, most likely, I was chatting and writing to an agency employee (either man or woman). Silly me! And damn you, ADate, for allowing such to happen. My first trip resulted in some fun adventures. One young woman was a teacher of Russian literature. We talked of Pushkin and Gogol (that’s Gogol, not Google) and enjoyed each other’s company. But there was no spark. Another woman I met was stunningly beautiful on the outside, but a pro-dater on the inside. She attempted to direct me to take her shopping on the second date and I politely declined. The third woman I met was quite unusual. She did not look the standard Ukrainian fare. Instead she was dark and sensual. She also was unimpressed with me and we were not encouraged by our initial meeting. In spite of myself, I scheduled a second date with her and slowly things warmed up. If one could give the antithesis of my personality, this woman would probably be it. Yet I fell for her. For the next six months we shared Skype calls and romance. I traveled to see her over the holidays. But, alas, things were not to be. On my last trip overseas she revealed a difference in religious belief that I felt uncomfortable with. I could not imagine bringing up a family in a mixed faith environment - especially when this woman was strident in her belief. I called it off.
A Family of Chatters:
Anyone who wonders whether a forum can be a saving grace in a search for an FSUW need only look to my story for the answer. For the past six months I have made many friends on these fora. As a pleasant diversion, we often times congregate in the RUA chat-room. I met friends that were warm and funny. There were FSUW who were kind enough to share their thoughts and advice. But, most importantly, there were people who had been where I was and had answers for me in resolving my search. In the end, you use what you know to try and find your mate. I knew ADate. But I didn’t know it well enough. I talked with Sashathecat and AJ and gained new insight into how the systems worked. I figured out how to circumvent the wall between the women and the men – intentionally put there by the website so it is unlikely that a direct connection will be made. We have discussed this on other threads.
The Ultimate Hook-up:
As was our custom, when there were no FSUW present, some of the guys would get together on chat and do what guys do: Talk food. Nah! Not quite true - unless your moniker is PBRStreetg. In reality we would throw ideas out about meeting women. We would share profiles online. I became fairly good at this. Everyone, by now, knows that Larry and Jay like tall women. And Slumba will not consider someone unless she has blue or green eyes. Usually I would pull up some gal that was outrageously a scammer. We’d give her the once over and all laugh. But once in a while, I’d find a true beauty that would leave us all wondering what it would be like to be her guy. I can remember the first time I pulled up my gal’s profile. She had such an outrageous figure and beautiful face that she almost seemed out of place even among the photoshopped beauties of ADate. We looked at the picture and Larry asked if I was going to pursue her. I thought to myself; “Nope. She lives in Nikolaev. That is scam central – and even if I could get through to her she’d probably be out of my league.”
The next day I happened to be online again with ADate. There was her profile – online as well! I introduced myself and asked if ‘she’ wanted to talk. Of course ‘she’ did. By now I knew, with ADate’s history of scamming people, that I most likely was talking to an agency employee. I couldn’t tell. But I played along. The most money ADate and the agency make is when you pay for a webcam interface. It is SIX TIMES the normal chat fee. So I asked if ‘she’ would like to see me on webcam (that would get their juices flowing). She said she didn’t want to be seen at that exact moment. If I would like to schedule a time, perhaps it might work out. We scheduled a time for the evening, her time. At the appointed hour, there she was, in all of her beauty. (I subsequently learned that the very conversation where I asked her to appear on webcam, it was actually her that I was speaking to. But I also point out that other times it was not.)
It is said that the most beautiful woman in the world would not think she is the most beautiful woman in the world. This woman exemplifies that theory. She does not think of herself as beautiful. She thinks she is her own self and if that is good enough for someone, she is happy. To this day, I do not remember what our dialogue was. But it must have impressed her because she took my email address and wrote me a note the next day. I, in turn, wrote her back and shared my history and my desire to determine if there is something to build a relationship on. We exchanged emails and then Skype addresses. Soon we were Skyping every day and planning a trip to meet. She shared with me that her best friend was also from California and that she would be visiting in a few weeks. Would I like to come during that time and we would have a natural buffer between us who spoke excellent English? I agreed and this, then, was the plan.
The days went by quickly leading up to the trip. I took care of business and arranged housing for my pets. I sent flowers and a stuffed animal to Nikolaev ahead of the visit. I was to take the early morning flight to Heathrow, connect through Moscow and fly directly to Nikolaev. At four AM, the morning of my trip, my phone rang. The flight to Heathrow had been cancelled. The earliest connection I could make was later that day through Chicago. Now, those of you who have read the thread, ‘Anxiety on an Airplane’ will know what happened next. I over heated and had a panic attack. I was able to get to Chicago. I flew business class, then, to London and was able to control myself. But getting on the plane the next morning was a real challenge. I walked up, turned around and walked right off the plane. Someone suggested to me that the stress of meeting someone can bring on such panic attacks. I tend to think it is more physiological than that. Whatever it was, I procured some Xanax through my doctor and was able to board a plane the next morning, slightly drugged. I should note that I briefly shared my panic situation with my chat friends and they were quite concerned for me.
Changing schedules had me arriving in Odessa at 8:40 at night. Naturally, as soon as I walked out of the gate area I was assaulted by taxi drivers. Forewarned is forearmed. With knowledge gained on this forum, I was successful in getting the fare down to 700 Grivna. I tend to think that is probably, almost the UA rate. We drove quickly to Nikolaev and I checked in at the Reikartz Hotel (formerly the River Hotel). I called my gal. She had basically given up on me. Here I was, two and a half days late. We had planned on almost five days together, we would really only get two. And on top of that, I was exhausted. I went right to sleep knowing that we would meet the next day at around 11:00.
Early the next morning, I woke up to a nice hotel breakfast. I ate well and went back to my room. The phone rang. I was thinking it was either the hotel staff or possibly even my gal changing our plans. Instead this Aussie voice comes over the phone telling me that all the guys in chat were worried about me and was I okay? It was Jay. Naturally, he wanted to know the 411 on the gal – which I did not have yet. Can you imagine the warmth of friendship that you would feel for a group of folks that are worried about you and checking up on you overseas after a heinous adventure?
Many of you reading this report will well know the feeling of walking through a hotel lobby to meet someone special for the first time. Here I was, two and a half days late. And I was able to be together for only a brief period of time. I was, of course, unsure of the outcome due to my tardiness.
I walked in the lobby. She stood up. I smiled at her, not because of her beauty, which was apparent, but because I saw a friend. She was, first and foremost, the woman that I had been Skyping with for the past weeks. Knowing that FSUW are shy upon first meets, I did not hug her or kiss her. Instead, I escorted her outside and we began to walk. I apologized for my late appearance. She explained that she did not need her friend with her because she already trusted me. Then she asked me to tell my story so she could hear the truth in it. After telling it to her, and her asking questions, we began to walk and to talk. It was the beginning of a bridge that starts with friendship. Within an hour she let me know that she felt that bond between us. We began holding hands. Throughout that day and the next we never let go.
Because of my strange arrival schedule, we had no plans. We walked for over five hours. We stopped for coffee near Admiral’s Park and had lunch at a place called Sotka. I know now, that it is one of the touristy spots in Nikolaev. I have oft stated online that a woman that I would be attracted to would be a woman who demonstrates kindness and wisdom. This woman demonstrates these qualities with elegance. She has a warm heart and is an excellent listener. My Russian is 'ne xorosho', but her English is more than passable so we communicate without the need of TERPS or translation software.
At the end of our walk, that first day, I was back in the hotel at around 4:30. She said she would come find me at 8:00. There she was with a taxi and her best friend from California. How strange it was to be talking about life near Hollywood eating sushi with my new girlfriend in Nikolaev. I must have done something right, because at the end of the night I was told that I received the thumbs up from BFF and we were now talking about our future. That night I kissed her for the first time. At first she seemed hesitant. But I think she realized, as did I, that there had been something building there that was bigger than friendship and a kiss simply was an acknowledgement of what we already knew to be present.
The Second Day:
By shortening up the trip, there was confusion about how to proceed. The second day is the most important. Even though you feel familiarity, in retrospect, do you see this person as someone who could be your future spouse? The second day is an indicator of success or failure in almost every overseas romance.
Once again, the day started at 11:00. She was downstairs in a killer, fox pelt, jacket. One look and I already knew what the answer was. She had a big smile. She asked why she had yet to receive her first kiss. There is one thing I have heard over and over again and it is true. If an FSUW is in to you, YOU WILL KNOW IT! The second day was a breeze. We had no plans but to be together. We went out for pizza and then later on to a coffee shop at the corner of Prospect Lenin and Ulitsya Moskovskaya. Otherwise we just meandered, holding hands, getting to know each other.
I probably need to say something here. I did not buy her extravagant gifts. I wore broken in shoes that did not have a great shine. My attire, while appropriate, was not store bought new. Instead, I was just myself. The gifts I gave her were appropriate and showed insight. For instance, I brought her a Laker shirt that fit her perfectly. (She looks really good in it.) I brought candy for her mom. I brought Starbucks coffee.
She was more interested in that I was a stable man without bad habits and that I could make her happy than any other thing about me. We laughed, constantly. We still do. I always get a smile from her when I see her on Skype. We are counting the days until we can be together again.
To finish up this non-trip report, we have made the decision to take our relationship to the next level. Because of our comfort in each other, I will spend at least two months in her hometown getting to know her and her family. My trip home was tedious but uneventful and I have now recovered from jet lag and time differentials.
This is a unique trip report because of the brevity of the stay. For those of you wondering, it was also VERY inexpensive. My hotel bill for three nights was $180.00 for a suite and included a buffet style breakfast. Transportation back and forth to Odessa was $180.00 also. I spent around $250.00 on meals while we were there – even though I treated for everything. My airfare for round trip was around $1300.00. The cost of the entire trip was just over two thousand dollars.
I did not intend for the trip to be so inexpensive. I would have happily paid more to achieve the same result. But it is noteworthy to readers that a trip can be made without breaking the bank. If you can’t afford two grand, you probably shouldn’t make the effort at having an FSUW as a wife anyway.
I consider myself to be a very lucky man. She thinks she is a lucky woman. So I guess, in reality, I didn’t trip over myself after all, making this a true non-trip report.
Post script: We have now spent the past month planning our summer together. We have an apartment that we will share and she is taking a hiatus from work. I have made plans that include the intent to spend the full 90 days out of 180 available for in-country visitors.
And, yes, I thought you might like some pictures: I’m sorry that the ones of us together did not turn out well, they were taken with a cell phone. I have purchased a nice camera for the summer’s trip. Hopefully I can share some more that show the two of us together.