Here is the story from my Russia Journals where I describe meeting Marina.
Part 4: A new interest blossoms in Marina
The next day on Saturday, I bought my train tickets at the station for Monday. Then I called Fedor, former manager of the established local Virginia agency (specializing in marriage and travel), whom I worked with when I was here on my last trip. We decided to meet in the evening for a few drinks. First, we went to a bar underground near Clark William's agency, but they wouldn't accept us unless we were going to order food, so we headed up to the popular cafe I always went to. Inside, I couldn't believe how crowded it was on a Saturday night. There were hardly any places to sit. I learned that this place is where so many always hang out, not cause of its good food or nice decor (which were both totally plain), but because it's one of the few places to eat on the main street which is big enough for many people.
Fedor went around looking for people he knew (and he knew practically the whole town) who would let us sit with them, as there were no free tables, and quickly found two girls who didn't mind our company. They were nice, easy-going and looked like young professionals, but didn't speak much English and seemed more interested in Fedor than me. I merely humored them, but while doing so, glanced around to see if there was anyone more interesting to meet. I saw lots of hot young girls, especially this mega blonde one in the center of the area, but they were usually surrounded groups of guys or friends, or too immersed with their girlfriends. The great thing about Russian social environments though, is that these hot young girls were still usually approachable, and I could easily get acquainted with some if I tried. I just wasn't sure if it was worth trying, as I was tired of flakes and BSers among Russian girls who were easy to meet.
Eventually, I saw this cute blonde sitting by herself by the bar. At first, I thought she might be the central hottie blonde I couldn't help checking out earlier, but when I realized it was another blonde who was also cute, I figured it might be worth trying to meet her, as she was alone. When Fedor suggested I buy the two girls at our table another round of drinks, I used that as the excuse to approach the blonde alone at the bar. As I waited in line at the bar, I checked her out and she was a cutie alright. When I got closer to her, we made eye contact and I could see a sweet pleasant tenderness in her eyes and gaze. That made it easy for me to say hello, to which she reciprocated with a sweet friendly voice. As I introduced myself in Russian, she seemed open and interested in getting acquainted. Her name was Marina and there was something about her voice that was sweet, smooth, friendly and relaxing. So I asked if she could join us at my table. But she said she couldn't for now because she was waiting for her friend to show up, and plus she was afraid that the two girls at our table might not want her there. After getting the drinks, I told her I'd come back to her later.
Back at the table, I told Fedor about the Marina that I just met and who might join us soon. He replied that it was a bad sign already that Marina wasn't willing to come sit with us, and her excuses were BS, for a Russian lady with honest intentions would have been glad to come and visit a man's friends, rather than hide from them like a "taker" would. I wasn't sure if I agreed with that assessment though.
For a while, I went back and forth between Marina and my table until finally Marina's friend showed up. Her name was Tanya, a brunette with sexy shoulders, and who spoke good English. We managed to find a separate table for us next to the one Fedor and the two girls were at. There, with Tanya translating, Marina and I got acquainted for a long time. Not only did I like her appearance, but I liked her personality a lot too. She asked me a lot of questions about myself (unlike Alina who never asked any), showed a lot of enthusiasm, and I could sense some energy or chemistry between us. I noticed that Marinaâ€™s face had a very fine innocent and sweet look, as if she was a strong potential â€œgemâ€. (Later below, Iâ€™ll post a link to her photos and you can see what I mean about her face.) When it got late, Marina and Tanya prepared to leave, but Marina promised to call me the next day so we could meet again.
Back at Fedor's table, I told him about what happened, and my good impression of Marina, but Fedor was still skeptical, hanging on that one fact that Marina wouldn't join our table, which to him and his vast experience with Russian women and international relationships, meant that her intentions were dishonest. (He still holds that position on Marinaâ€™s action even today.) Although he is one of the most experienced and credible people I know regarding Russian women behaviors, due to his years working at Virginia agency and his claim of creating over 200 international marriages through that agency, I still didn't follow his logic. Instead, I followed my impression that Marina seemed sincere.
The next morning, I contacted Alina and she said she would arrive soon. When she did, I was glad to see her again as I missed her, and all was ok for the moment.
Then Marina started calling me repeatedly, and although I was glad, I didn't dare answer it in front of Alina. So I muted my phone and told Alina that I was going to go out to do some shopping, errands, and use the internet cafe. She agreed that it was a good idea as she had some studying to do in private. We agreed that when I return, I'd take her to her favorite cafe again.
Outside our flat, I called Marina back. She was glad to hear from me, and eager to meet me again. So we arranged to meet at the tall monument at the entrance to the main park. I waited there for a long time before Marina finally showed up (once out of her home, I can't contact her cause she has no cell phone, as her last one was stolen). When she did, the sight of her sweet angel-like face and voice put all my nervous tension to a calm ease. We immediately had good rapport and chemistry again. I felt so comfortable around her too, and she acted very sweet and tender toward me as if she had known me for a long time. The good thing about it is that her behavior seemed simple and sincere, not pretentious at all.
While we walked around in the central park, Marina avoided the crowded road and even the little concert there where many were gathered too, and for a moment, I wondered if Fedor was right, perhaps she didn't want to be seen with me by people she knew. I wasn't sure.
After walking around in the park a bit and talking, with Marina taking my arm, we went to a cafe situated on the backside of Hotel Yoshkar-Ola, which she recommended. It turned out to be a fine choice too, as it was pretty, attractively-decorated, original, and cozy. I wish I had known about this place earlier, I thought. Alina would have liked it too. The food was also not bad and not too expensive. While we sat and talked, I could really tell that Marina liked me and was interested in me. Her gaze and vibe made that apparent. She asked plenty of questions in a sweet comforting voice that put me at ease.
(In fact, you can see what I mean about her sweet tender face and demeanor that I described earlier, in the link to our photos that I will provide later below.)
I felt very comfortable around her, and we got along well. There was enthusiasm between us. Although I didnâ€™t know her that well, I would say that we had more chemistry and energy than I had with Alina. She had a way of making me feel special, important, and that I was needed. I havenâ€™t felt that way in a long time, if ever. And best of all, it all seemed very sincere too. I would have a hard time believing that she was just acting to get something from me. (In fact, if you look at her photos at the link below, you will see that her face looks very innocent and sincere.) She seemed like a keeper alright, and a potential gem as well.
When we got up to go to the restroom, I asked if we could kiss, but she wasnâ€™t ready yet and only let me kiss her cheek a few times. After the cafe, Marina asked what my plans were, and seemed to want to hang out more. But unfortunately, it was approaching 6pm and I had told Alina Iâ€™d be back around 6 to take her to her favorite cafe, so I had to leave soon, as much as I wanted to continue spending time with Marina. It was hard to tell her that I was busy with other plans. As I sadly walked her to where we would split, I told her that we could meet tomorrow, but I wasnâ€™t sure when. In fact though, I had a train ticket to Moscow for tomorrow but I was thinking of changing the date one more day to spend more time with Marina.
(Jumping ahead to my next meeting with her)
Later, Marina met me at the entrance to the cafe we met at. The sight of her calmed down my rage, and allowed me to put it aside. After all, you canâ€™t be angry while youâ€™re trying to be sweet and lovey dovey. And I tried my best to forget my current emotional condition. In any case, I was happy to be with her, and for the moment, the situation with Alina was out of my mind.
First, Marina suggested that we go to the mall and get some professional photos taken together. I liked that idea and admired her taking the initiative like that, so I agreed. However, usually long-time established couples take professional photos together, and we had just met, so I felt this idea was somewhat strange. But oh well. The session took a long time and involved a long wait for the prints, but they turned out to be great shots of us and single photos of me. We picked out the best ones together to print. While looking at them, I noticed that we looked great together, as if we matched somehow. That was unusual though, because usually a blonde girl and Asian man look quite unnatural together in photos. But this was an exception. Iâ€™ll show you what I mean. Below are links to two of the professional studio photos we made together.
And you can see the single one of me on the main page of my website as well, which I liked so much that I used it as my main photo. www.happierabroad.com
Amazingly, if you look at me in the photos above, you wonâ€™t even notice the extreme rage that was in me at the time, as being with Marina squelched it really well. It was like almost erased from me during the photo session. Not bad for someone who was enraged to the point of crying, huh?
The photo sessions turned out to cost more than I expected, but that was ok because they were great photos; I looked much more photogenic in them than I ever did, and I even got one that I could use for my next actorâ€™s headshot, which would save me a lot of money.
Next, we took a long walk to find a cash exchange booth for me, and I didnâ€™t mind trudging through the ice and snow so much cause I really enjoyed the company I was with. Next, we waited for the bus to take us to Kino Russia, and while we did, Marina called Tanya to invite her to meet us there. While we were waiting, I checked my mobile for messages, and found some shocking smses from Alina.
First, she had sent me many smses and was upset that I didnâ€™t reply yet (I turned off my mobile during our long photo session, as I wanted to forget about her). Again, she didnâ€™t address my ultimatum demands, but instead focused on getting our flat key back, which she claimed had to be turned in today. Then she said that we had to meet tonight to settle everything. Then in a later message, she wrote a seemingly threatening message that if I didnâ€™t meet her and settle this, that she and Alesya would have to â€œdecide this in a bad wayâ€. What did she mean by that, I wondered. How would she decide this in a bad way? Was she going to call the police on me? I chuckled as I never dreamed it would come to this point. Not with such a sweet innocent angel gem like her. Lol But whatever. I was busy now with much better company, and was happy, so I wanted to forget the issues with Alina and erase them, at least for today. So I merely wrote Alina that I was busy and far away from home now, but that I promised to give her the key later when I had time. Thatâ€™s all I would say.
At Kino Russia, Marina, Tanya and I played pool upstairs. We showed Tanya the studio photos we made, and she liked them too. Next, they wanted to see a movie, but I didnâ€™t like that idea cause 1) I hated watching dubbed American movies in Russian, 2) we couldnâ€™t interact during a movie, and 3) they would probably expect me to pay for both of them, and I only wanted to pay for Marina. Besides, I enjoyed sitting and talking to them while waiting for the disco to start here. But they were strangely persistent about it. So I smses Clark Williams to see if he wanted to join us. He agreed to come so they could meet someone new who ran a marriage agency, and so I could get Clarkâ€™s feedback about Marina.
While we waited, Tanya told me to take it slow with Marina and not rush to try to kiss her, because she had just come off of a broken relationship and was still deeply hurt. Tanya then told me that Marina wanted me to meet her mom tomorrow. Wow. I was shocked. I always heard that if a Russian girl introduces you to her parents, then itâ€™s a good sign that sheâ€™s serious about you. I was glad and flattered. I wanted to meet her mom, but the thing is, Iâ€™m supposed to leave tomorrow for Moscow at 6pm, and her mom would only be available in the evening. And if I extended my ticket again, it would be another 400 roubles fee. I just wasnâ€™t sure if it was worth it or if itâ€™d make any difference in our relations. Probably not, but itâ€™d still be nice to meet her mom and get her approval of me.
When Clark arrived, they still insisted on seeing the movie. But Clark and I were not interested in that, and preferred pool or sitting and waiting for the disco instead. I updated Clark on the situation with Alina, and that I wasnâ€™t sure if I had a place to stay tonight; asking if I could stay at his place tonight. He agreed and said no problem.
Then Tanya suggested that we go to the disco club at Pharaon instead. So we took a taxi there, but inside, when I learned that the entrance fee was 250 roubles per person, I exclaimed, â€œNO WAY!â€ I wasnâ€™t going to pay that just to try out a nightclub, and certainly not pay that extreme price for the girls either. But Clark already paid his way in, and they wouldnâ€™t refund his money when we told them we changed our minds. When the girls saw my reaction to the entrance fee, Tanya took cash out as if to pay her own way in, and then changed her mind after talking to the cashier. Then suddenly she told us that she and Marina had to leave cause their parents wanted them home soon. What the heck?! That made no sense. If they had to leave cause of their parents, then why did they want to see a two hour movie earlier? That was a contradiction. There was something fishy about that. I apologized and suggested we go back to Kino Russia, but they insisted on going home, and somehow Tanya persuaded Marina to agree. Before they left, they said that Marina would call me tomorrow and we could arrange to meet her mom.
After they left, Clark said that they pulled a classic hustle. He observed that they tried to bum a free movie off us, but when they couldnâ€™t, they decided to pretend to come here to Pharaon and ditch us, waiting until after Clark paid his entrance fee, knowing that he couldnâ€™t get a refund so weâ€™d be obligated to stay while they left.
Furthermore, he told me that Tanya was a bad influence on Marina, for she appeared to be teaching her how to hustle, and suggested that I try to see Marina without Tanya. To make things even more odd, the cashiers there let me go in without paying, as if Clarkâ€™s fee paid for both of us. Huh? That made no sense. But oh well. We ended up just playing a few rounds of pool, as the music at the club was horrible.
Afterward, we took a taxi over to Clarkâ€™s place, getting some snacks along the way. His place was pretty spacious and I would sleep on the couch. While there, I received an sms from Alesya in Russian. I could make out most of it, which basically said that she heard about my trouble with Alina but didnâ€™t understand what was going on, and asked me to call her. I used Clarkâ€™s phone to call her at home, expecting a possible conflict. Over the phone, I tried my best to explain in Russian what was happening and why I was enraged. Surprisingly, Alesya didnâ€™t rise up and defend her sister or condemn me, as I expected. Instead, she was supportive, understanding, calm, and simply told me not to be so angry because â€œSheâ€™s just a young child, and doesnâ€™t understand what she did wrong.â€ Nevertheless, she told me that all was ok and not to worry about it all. While I admired her assurance and objectivity, I still knew that in all likelihood, it was over with Alina.
Part 7: The amicable parting
The next morning, after I left Clarkâ€™s home, I smsed Alina saying that we could meet now to settle everything. I felt better and more in control. She told me to meet her back at the flat at 11am. When she wrote to come alone, I admit that I was a bit worried that she said that cause she might be planning to ambush me with attackers or something. Lol Just to make sure, I waited outside on the street next to the entrance instead of inside, so I would know whether she was coming alone or not. She came alone, and with a dejected look on her face. We walked up to the flat quietly.
Inside, we didnâ€™t know how to begin. We both told stated our position in our native language, but I wasnâ€™t sure if she understood me or if I understood her. But one thing I did understand though. And that was that she said we ought to just be friends, because we just didnâ€™t understand each other. And she realized that I was right about what I said earlier that she didnâ€™t understand herself and didnâ€™t know what she wanted in life. That much she agreed with at least. It seemed as though we would have an amicable parting after all.
I thought about what to do about the rent, and then decided to just give her most of it, minus the 400 roubles I wanted as compensation for the insult on my birthday where I had to pay for things I shouldnâ€™t have. Then I asked if she could see me off at the train station today, and she agreed. I had decided earlier, that it was not worth it to extend my stay here one more day to see Marinaâ€™s mom, cause it would be a lot of trouble, and I surmised that it would not really make much difference in my relations with Marina. Plus, I wasnâ€™t able to arrange renting another flat for tonight cause the caretaker had no time to meet me today, only in the morning. And I also felt that my time here was over, and I was eager to leave and head to Europe, like I should have long ago.
Then, while Alina left for a short while to get some things from her hostel, I went to Clarkâ€™s office nearby and brought my luggage back. When Alina returned, she presented me with a small gift of an address book, and birthday card wishing me all the best. I guess she finally decided to give me a small token of something at least, which was an improvement on her part, but which came kind of late.
Then she cooked up the rest of our food in the kitchen for me, as if to make up for not cooking me anything on my birthday, per my suggestion. While she did so, I wondered what to do about Marina. If I told her that I was leaving today, she would want to come to the train station to see me off too. While I didnâ€™t want Alina and Marina to see each other or know about each other, which would be awkward, I also didnâ€™t want to just leave Marina like that so abruptly, especially since she was so special to me and I liked her a lot. So while I didnâ€™t want to bring them together, I wanted both to see me off as well, hence the dilemma.
Fussing it over a while, I decided to call her and invite her to see me off. She was sad that I was leaving so soon, and kept asking â€œWhy do you have to leave?â€ I didnâ€™t know how to explain it, other than that I just had to for now.
Finale: Square-off between two gems, poetic justice at the train station
Alina escorted me to the station in silence. Before we left, we kissed one last time and had a long hug. I could tell she still had some feelings for me and would miss me. Who knows, perhaps we could be together again someday, but now wasnâ€™t the right time. And since she was so undeveloped and changeable, there was no telling what she would become in the future. But I felt that if I really wanted, we could have a second chance. At the station, we met her friend Olga, and while we waited for the train, I kept scanning around for Marina. I regretted telling her to come at 5:45pm, as we were hear early and I should have told her to arrive sooner.
After loading my luggage onto my train compartment, we stepped off to hang out at the platform more. I told Alina that I was also waiting for one more person who was seeing me off. Checking around anxiously, I prayed that sheâ€™d show up soon. Finally, I saw her! But she was far off in the distance, unwilling to approach for she was cautious about the two girls I was with. So I quickly walked up to her, hugged her and caressed her hand. She was so sad that I was leaving, and we began our long heartfelt goodbye, with Alina and Olga watching in the distance near my wagon, but I didnâ€™t care about that at this point.
Then, as time was drawing short, I asked Marina if I could kiss her finally. She agreed, but was hesitant about it and needed time to prepare. When I moved in for the kiss, she looked like she was trying to reciprocate, but was shy about it too. She edged slowly toward me like a cat about to try something new for the first time. Finally, we kissed on the lips. Soon after, my phone was ringing. Wondering who it could be, I looked at the screen and saw that it was Alina. When I answered, Alina told me that they were leaving. I said, â€œBut waitâ€¦..â€ but she had already hung up, and when I turned around, Alina and Olga were walking away, leaving me and Marina alone. What happened was obvious. She saw me kiss Marina and couldnâ€™t deal with it, or felt uncomfortable about it, so she left, either cause she couldnâ€™t bare to watch, or to give Marina and I some private time together, or both. Either way, I was sad that Alina wasnâ€™t seeing me off all the way as she usually did. I didnâ€™t want us to part like that, but oh well.
After they left, I told Marina that my female friends had just gone, so we could approach my wagon and say our final goodbye there. Near the entrance, we had another tender heartfelt goodbye, and she promised never to forget me and to keep writing me, and wished that I would return here to see her again soon, even suggesting that I come back after Europe (which I knew I wouldnâ€™t do, but I wanted to nevertheless, for her).
After one more kiss and hug, I boarded the train and watched her through the window. She gazed at me tenderly for a long time and blew me kisses back. For a moment, it seemed as though time stood still. She gazed at me with longing in her eyes for almost 10 minutes straight. Iâ€™d never seen someone do that before. (The last time I had a tearful parting at the train was with Natasha E on my first trip to Russia long ago, but even she merely walked away after dropping me off at the train, not wishing to deal with a prolonged goodbye.) This was the most picture perfect fairy tale goodbye that I ever had at the train, the kind that I dreamed of. And the best thing was that Marina was doing her part to make it as romantic and sentimental as possible. I stared back at her for 10 minutes too, blowing kisses and promising to write and not forget her.
When the trainâ€™s engines started with the usual jolt, I gazed at Marina one last time as she grew more and more distant. I held her in my gaze, savoring it up to the last second, until she was completely out of view. Wow, I thought. That was the most romantic parting at the train station Iâ€™ve ever had, and Iâ€™d never forget it.
Note: You can see some regular photos that I made with Marina at the link below. In the bottom right photo of the pile, you can see us together at the train station where the romantic parting I described above took place, right after Alina left us. I think that in them, you can see the sweet tender expression and vibe on Marinaâ€™s face that Iâ€™ve been describing too, as those who have seen them say they saw those qualities too.
During the ride, I chuckled at how Alina left abruptly after seeing me kiss Marina in the distance. I figured that it could be considered to be a form of â€œpoetic justiceâ€ for how badly she hurt me this week. It seemed a fitting end, somewhat. However, I still cared for her so I wrote an sms to Alina with an apology and asked why she left like that. She didnâ€™t answer other than to ask me if Marina was my new girlfriend, cause it seemed like it to her. I replied that I wasnâ€™t sure as I only knew her for a short time, but that she was special to me. I also smsed Clark and Fedor to tell them what just happened. They wished me all the best.
Back in Moscow, I called Marina a few more times before I left for Lithuania. Our conversations were always tender and romantic, as if we had feelings for each other.
During my stay in Moscow, the update about the two professional robberies I experienced happened, which I wrote about earlier to you all while I was in Lithuania. And I picked up most of the rest of my salary at the English school too, but they jipped me on the last 50 dollars and kept it. Also, when I met up with Janna, as I mentioned in that update, I told her about what happened with Alina, and even she agreed that what Alina did was rude.
However, I also remembered that relationship experts in the US have said before that there is a tendency that when relationships are in trouble, the stress of a birthday coming up usually kills it off for good. And it seems that thatâ€™s what happened here, so it was probably all for the best and I ought to have no regrets.
From there on, I went to Lithuania and the rest from there has already been updated to you all.
And that folks, is the story of what happened with my Alina, despite such a promising beginning last January. I hope you all will be understanding about it. Although my critics and enemies no doubt will use whatever they can from it against me, condemning me with all sorts of things no doubt, I'm sure that my friends and supporters on the list will find my feelings and emotions understandable, viewing them more objectively.