In my previous less-than-eloquent post I railed against the stupidity of ZAGS bureaucrats and demanded that I have a new stupid bureaucrat to deal with.
Well, today I took matters into my own hands and, as I declared last week, took the "fight" (so to speak) to Moscow Wedding Palace No. 1. Armed with a freshly translated and notarized copy of everything I ever owned, Katya and I stormed into the central ZAGS office, ready for a fight and found, instead of a steely and plump middle-aged woman with no soul, a nice, young, well-dressed man with a smile on his face, sitting behind the desk.
This came as a shock because this was the first time that I have ever seen a Russian employed in some sort of service capacity with a smile on their face. It was unsettling.
Nevertheless, with all the fight instantly deflated out of us, we sat down in the office and Katya pushed all our documents across the desk to the man. He flipped through each page and, as he also spoke English, was able to compare the translations to the originals of my documents and then, with a flourish, he stapled everything together, smacked a big blue stamp on the front and set a wedding date: August 17th!
Katya and I couldn't believe it. After 2 months and (including the newest translations and notarizations of all my ID) 10,000 roubles, we had finally succesfully applied to ZAGS for a civil marriage!
I was almost married once before in what became (in hindsight) a hellish and elaborate process of bookings and planning and priests and caterers and invitations and deposits and a never-ending list of stupid little details that needed to be solved. This time I'm getting married with the simplicity of standing in front of an official with my bride-to-be, signing a form and walking out a married man 10 minutes later. I don't know why but for some reason this method seems to fit the path my life has taken thus far, and I'm quite satisfied with it.
What continues to piss me off, however, are the nay-sayers and naggers from Dave's ESL Cafe. "Don't come to Russia! It's horrible here! We're dying!" they whine. "Only backpackers with no interest in anything in life teach for a year in Russia!" they proclaim, beating their cyber-chests with self-justifying satisfaction. "The McSchools are evil (Language Link, English First and BKC-IH) and people who work for them are naive idiots!" They accuse.
Okay, tough guy. Walk up to me on the streets of Moscow, preferrably after I've had a few drinks, and call me a naive idiot to my face.
A few of these ESL Cafe-types have wandered over to my blog in the past couple of months and decided to comment ESL Cafe-like things on my posts. At first I deleted a few but then I thought, nah, screw 'em, and left them there without any counter-comments (is that a word? If not, could it be?).
I'm getting married to a wonderful Russian woman and they're jerking off to porn at home, so I don't really care. So I stuck it to ZAGS today, and I want the miserable negative cynics who dominate Dave's ESL Cafe to know that I'm sticking it to them, too. If you're thinking of coming to Russia and working for a year at a McSchool for measly wages, then I highly suggest that you DO IT!