It’s been a while since I’ve had consecutive “Kiev Trip Days” and guess what, they wear you out!
We took baby Abbey into the US Embassy to complete the “Report of Birth Abroad” application, as well as apply for her US Passport which should be here next week.
Then this morning at 6:30am we were off to Kiev again to sign several documents and register before our 90 days are up. Some of the documents I had to sign included:
– I agree that I own my house.
– I agree that I want to live in my house.
– I agree that I want my wife to live in my house.
We got there 1 full hr before it opened, and were #2 in line. One of the cool things in Ukraine is the ability to hold your place in line. You simply tell the person in front of you, “I am after you” and everything is cool. You can leave, go home, take a nap, come back and if the person ahead of you is still waiting, you can resume your spot. We had to go to the bank and spend an hour paying for a 17hrv fee as part of the registration process ($2.20), and upon returning there were 25 people standing around waiting for the doors to open. Thankfully, we were still #2:)
People can spend an entire day at OVIR, foreigners, Ukrainians, it’s an experience everyone will face eventually if you live in the former Soviet Union. It’s the most bizarre experience. Everyone is reduced to a number, treated as incompetent for not knowing a zillion laws (some of which they make up on the spot I’m convinced), and many sent home with a laundry list of documents and stamps to attain. No matter how prepared you think you are, the complete randomness of process, subjectivity of both the law and mood of the person wielding power is a thing to behold.
I’ve come to grips with these visits I think, I set extremely low expectations. I tell myself, “Today, my goal is to smile when they tell me I’m missing something and have to come back again tomorrow.” However, today, it was a miracle day, we even had additional passport photos by chance in my back-pack when they unsuspectingly asked for 3 extra.. I smiled and pulled out a huge stack of them, ‘How many extra do you want, you want one for your desk?” I whispered under my breath. Today we won, we penetrated and defeated the bureaucracy… or did we.. they still have my passports.
We now have until May 21 to exit Ukraine, get new Visas in our Passports, and return to Re-Register (same process above, more photos, same documents, same fees, same expectations!).
Today I found out we could be waiting until August for the property documents required to operate the Cafe. This is a bummer, but in all reality we still have much to do, and are currently of funds to finish buying tables/chairs and kitchen dishes/utensils etc.. I’m thinking we will use this summer to get everything ready, and host some events (not charge anyone) which will allow us to test things out, and prepare for fall opening when students come back. That’s the hope anyway. I’d also like to organize a July/Aug group of construction guys who are good with wood/landscaping.. we’d love to beautify the property and build a deck out front.
Enough for now- thanks for checking in –
Bruce & Deb