Monday, July 8, 2019

Bureaucracy update- Part 1


Currently compiling Russian visa applications for my kids. It feels way more relaxed than with a newborn (apparently I never told that story on here), but as always there are plenty of roadblocks.

I never posted about it, but in February we did a border run to Finland, and in the spring we also met with an immigration lawyer who said the kids could be added to my residency permit. So early one morning we dragged the kids out of bed, and set off for the Immigration Dept...Sophia threw up in the taxi...and it turned out the lawyer had been wrong. Technically, there is a by-law that lets you glue photos of your kids in your residency card (I have pages for it), but it's merely a formality to link you with them. The kids need separate residency permits.

So our options remained:

-keep doing visas every 3 years,
-get the kids their own residence permits, or
-apply for Russian citizenship

The visas are pricey and not the best long-term option, and we're not sure we want to get them citizenship. The main issue with residency (apart from the lengthy process) is that we'll have to declare income for everyone and make sure we have the minimum for each family member. I'm not working right now and my bank balance probably wouldn't cover all of us for the year, so we'll have to combine it with Andrei's income.

We'll have to do a round of medical tests for the kids and make sure we have copies and translations of everything. That would be true for citizenship, also. That's for temporary residency and then in a year or so you do it all over again to apply for permanent residency, which is valid for 5 years.

So anyway, I'm working on getting new visas so that we can enter Russia in the fall after summer travel, and hopefully that will get us through until we've gotten temporary residency for the kids. Kids' passports are valid for 5 years, which doesn't go well with a 3 year visa (the only other option is 90 days). Currently I'm having trouble filling out paperwork because the passport only has 2 years left on it and you're supposed to have 3 years + 6 months left.


I started thinking about what we'll have to get done over the next few years:

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Release


Long post alert! Read on for some personal thoughts about organizing and purging.

I'm on track to be done sorting papers by the time we leave for summer travel this month. It's taken me about 6 months, so I guess it should feel satisfying.

Surprisingly, though, it doesn't feel great. I feel relieved to have freed up a little space, and to not have so many unsorted papers in storage. However, in many cases I didn't enjoy tossing things out. Many of the documents represented things I had worked very hard on. And others represented special memories, though weren't as hard to let go of.

Trying to sort in a central location and watch the kids at the same time...

I tend to keep things with sentimental value, but also for archival reasons. I simply like to keep a record and I like to sort through and go down memory lane. It bugs me if there is a chronological gap, so that is part of why I keep certain things. But to get more specific....

Things I found "easy" to get rid of:

-Sunday school teaching materials: I can always get more.
-Random artwork: If I don't remember who made it and the occasion, it doesn't hold value, unless I could use it to decorate.
-Sermon notes: I did keep a few print-outs of Andrei's sermons, but I came to the realization that the notes served their purpose at the moment WHEN I WAS WRITING THEM DOWN. I can go through and sort of make sense of them, but I'm a different person now...my 2010 self needed them then.
-Financial statements: Most things have an electronic record now.
-Hand-outs: They weren't given to me personally; too generic.
-Notes from former friends: I don't want to intentionally wipe them from my memory, but I don't need correspondence from every single person either.
-Sentimental items not easily identified (see random artwork): If I remember that so-and-so brought it back from Greece, I might keep it. But as the years go by I tend to forget, and don't feel as tied to those items.