I have been dealing with a few issues over the past few weeks (months?), which have now been settled.
1) Stolen identity. I didn't really think of it that way, but it sounds more dramatic. The money is back in my checking account, and I have a functioning debit card.
2) I received my Massachusetts ID in the mail quite promptly. Of course, now I have my passport back, but it's nice to have an alternative around just in case.
3) I received my Russian visa in the mail today, 3 weeks to the day from when I mailed out the application. I had ordered a processing time of 5 business days for the invitation and 7 business days for the visa. So if you add a few days for transit time, they did just what I asked.
FYI: I used Travel Document Systems (NYC branch) for my invitation and visa. I had to exchange a few phone calls with them before applying, for clarification purposes. As soon as they received my application, they called to get some missing information from me. They also were gracious when I had to switch credit cards over the phone. I still need to inspect my visa one more time, but it seems like they did a pretty good job.
Plans for 2009:
- Feb.27-Mar.1-Washington, DC
- Mar.3-Leave for Russia
- Mar.4-Jun.2-St. Petersburg, Russia
- June-Estonia? Don't know how I'll get my next visa...
- June-Dec.-Possibly stay in St. Petersburg with a student visa.
- July-Possibly travel to Massachusetts for Nastia's wedding.
- Dec.-Home for Christmas/Visa renewal?
Lots of questions, but also some answers. God is good.