‘What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men …… That is what love looks like.’ - St. Augustine

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

A Little Taste of Hell

 Ok, I may delete this when I am of sound mind later, but for now let me share  with all of you that Nastia and I stumbled upon a little corner of hell this week.  It goes by the name of "Russian Consulate" in NY. I want to erase the past few days from my memory FOREVER!! I could not possibly share everything that occurred, but  here's a little taste:

1. people camped out at 7am in a line that stretches to infinity just for the minute chance of getting to the front gate of the Consulate.

2. People pushing and shoving SO hard that a very old woman got trampled and broke her toe.

3. A group of wealthy men step out of their Mercedes  (with driver) and proceed to cut past me as if they owned the place. When I told them I had been waiting three hours they told me to shut up in Russian and laughed at me.

4. The consulate affords NO shelter outdoors from the heat and sun and yet expects even the elderly to stand out there for HOURS just to send then away at the end of the day.

5. Only by God's intervention did we get in, but once in you see a different kind of hell -- a roomful of people waiting for the ONE consulate person who is there to assist with passport issues. One man tried to sneak to the front and had a room of thirty people screaming and swearing at him.

6. No rhyme or reason to the order. We watched over 50 people  (obviously wealthy) get ushered past us to go to the head of the line.

So much more I could tell you, but I think I better shut up for now. I have a new appreciation for the stamina and patient of the average Russian. Yes, many lost their cool and screamed, etc, but most just sat there for 8 hours as if it was normal to be treated so abominably.

But the good news? We ended up with a VERY helpful Consulate agent. He offered us lots of advice on what could be done and, after I shared our long tale of woe  (with tears) he promised to find a way to get Nastia an emergency dispensation to travel on her expired passport. Its not ideal and comes with some tough decisions for both of us, but at least we get to GO.

more later...


  1. I noticed when I was in Russia how patient the people were simply waiting. And waiting. And waiting. (because personally, after the first hour waiting in the first out of three different lines we had to wait in, I was done waiting in line.) I was astounded at how accepting the Russians were of the necessity of waiting in line. Glad to hear you made it to the other side!

  2. Well that's something!! A lot!

    You brought back to me memories of our facilitator assisting us in cutting through a roomful of waiting people at the notary in Ivanovo. I felt SO terrible! Those people looked like they'd been waiting there for hours, and for us to just walk through. I tell you, I hung my head in shame!

  3. We take so much for granted in the U.S. That's the main thing I learned when I went to Russia to adopt my daughter. It does give you more of an appreciation of what the Russian people have to go through in dealing with what is often a corrupt, uncaring, unfeeling bureaucracy.

    I'm so glad that you were able to finally get in, and to finally find someone willing to help you.

    I cannot imagine how you will ever be able to tear yourself away again and leave Anya there at the end of your time there. She has so much growing up to do in such a short time, and your job as her parent to prepare her for her adult life has to be so compressed in time and under such limitations, when you cannot possibly know everything you will need to know about how to help her set up her grownup life there as a self-supporting person in Russia. My prayers are with you.

  4. Your number 3 really ticked me off. I hate people who feel entitled to special treatment. I would feel like slashing their tires...ugh.

  5. Ugh, that really is awful, I'm so very sorry you had to endure that! I would have lost it!


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