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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

The Russian Embassy: The Final Frontier

190px-Russian_ePassportWe may be nearing the end of the line. With 10-year Russian Passports in our reach, it could be that we will no longer be “living” at the Russian Embassy for our four adopted kids. Back at the end of summer, we had completed the complex paperwork to update our daughters’ passports. Now it was time to pick them up.

Benedetto, the lady had said that he needed to come and get them. By himself. Maybe she wanted to see him again, lol? Closer to the point, I believe he was the one who had signed-off on the paperwork and therefore, was considered the responsible party.

Obviously, she didn’t know our family dynamics.

“Benedetto, can you check online to see if the girls’ passports are ready? It’s been like… I don’t know… four new moons and at least five Siberian blizzards since we dropped them off…”

I talked him through the process and considering that he’s more internet savvy than I, he basically ignored everything I said, went online, typed in the number of their application and saw a green light.

“They’re ready,” he announced.sample_russia_visa

“How do you know?” I wondered.

“A green light lit up—must mean go!”

“Uh-huh…. When are they open?”

“Nine to twelve in the morning.”

It was after eleven when he headed out, cutting it too close, in my opinion. My husband was unclear on what he was supposed to do, realizing like the rest of us that a visit to the Russkiy Embassy was not always a walk in the park.

“Show them the application receipt. Period. You’re there to pick up the passports. Point to the names in Russian,” I showed him, knowing he could handle hello, goodbye, please and thank you well enough in Russian.

Embassy_of_the_Russian_Federation_in_Washington,_D.CAnd off he went. About 30 minutes later, I received an irate phone call from him.

“They don’t speak any English there-!!!”

“We know that,” I reminded him.

“Right, but everything has changed in there—no more wooden tables where you meet with reps—all glass walls and different lines, as though you’re in bank. I didn’t know what window I should be heading to or anything…. I’ll go back on a day when Petya’s not working and take him with me.”

“Good idea.”

He knew I didn’t have time to deal with this. Now, the more I thought about it, who was going to proofread the passports—you 18140_137_zknow, check for the spelling of their names in Russian, birthdates, etc.?

“I’m going, too,” I announced the next day, so off the three of us set.

Naturally, once at the Embassy, Benedetto dropped us off in the pouring rain, while he went to find parking.

“Good morning, we’re picking up passports,” I informed the security guard in Russian.

“They’re ready?” he inquired.

russian-passportObviously, he had been listening in on our conversations….

“Don’t use an i-Phone inside,” he warned us. This guy was good. “And go to the first window.”

At the receptionist’s window, she asked us a question. Not if we had an appointment, nor if the passports were ready, nor our names. Five year or ten year? Petya and I looked at each other.

“Ten year,” I nodded.

“Then go to Window #3,” she instructed through the glass.

Sure enough everything in the Embassy was switched around. No cell phones allowed., no workers entering and leaving the russian-passportroom. Everyone hid behind their plate-glass windows, similar to a bank and this was on the Russian side of the Embassy, since foreigners picked up visas elsewhere.

Apparently, Putin’s paranoia was growing to now have everyone on lockdown.

Back and forth with much Russian interaction and we were done. Done! Passports in hand when we had forgotten other vital necessities, they still forked them over. Amazing. Sweet people locked behind their plate glass. They broke into almost-smiles (almost) and handed them my way, instructing me to proofread them. Which I did.

And we were off! The passports were good for ten years. Our teens would be adults then and I wondered if we may ever return….


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