Lee and Olga Schaffer from Roseville,
(married February 14, 2000)
As the philosopher once said "The longest journey begins with a
single step". I believe that there can be no greater journey in this life
than finding your soul mate. And if your search is to include Russia and Ukraine
then the fist step you take should be to call Encounters International.
Unfortunately, I took several missteps before I found Encounters. Then I started
to learn and make progress. When you are dealing with a different culture you
need more than only a name and address. You need to know how to interpret words
that have been translated from Russian thoughts. And you need to know how to
convey the proper message to a lady from this quite different culture. To that
end, the Encounters staff was invaluable in expediting that learning process.
Soon I was corresponding with some very nice women and learning even
more about what motivates someone in their circumstances. Then I met Olga! From
our first conversation on October 15th I knew we were well suited for each
other. Things quickly progressed to where we were writing letters virtually
every day and talking on the phone several times each week. Sometimes for over
an hour. I should have had stock in MCI! By mid November Olga and I very much
wanted to meet in person, so I decided to spend Christmas in Kiev. We spent a
wonderful week together, talking, having dinner at "our" restaurant
and seeing a little of Kiev. I met her mother and sister and during our
Christmas celebration, I gave her a Christmas tree ornament that was inscribed
with the words "Our First Christmas". Words I now know were quite
I returned home with no specific plans to go back to Kiev, but knowing
it had to be soon. I started the fiance visa process with Valentine's day
approaching and could wait no longer. On February 9th I decided to surprise Olga
with a Valentine's day visit, a ring and a question - "Will you marry me?".
She said Yes! On my return to the United States I had to stay overnight in
Vienna. so I asked Olga to join me for dinner in Vienna. It was a bit of an
adventure getting a visa for Olga to visit Austria.
When I retuned home this time, the days seemed longer and the wait for
her was intolerable. So, I planned a return trip to Vienna for early April. By
this time any doubts that existed were completely erased. I spent a glorious
week with my bride to be in Vienna. From scrolling through the parks to riding
the giant Ferris Wheel at the "Prater" to having dinner in a rotating
restaurant 570 feet above the Danube River and overlooking the night lights of
As I write this, I am returning home from that wonderful week in Vienna
and reflecting on the journey so far and the future. When I first started the
quest for a Russian wife, I expected that with some diligence and effort I would
find a nice woman to share my life. What I found was my "sudba". A
Russian word for destiny or how we might say soul mate. And now I count the days
until Olga can finally join me in the United States and we can begin a new life
and a special adventure together.
So, miracles do happen! And to all the men who desire a wonderful life
companion, I want to say, the woman of your dreams just might have a Russian
accent and in order to find her, there could be no better helping hand than
Encounters International and Natasha Spivack. Remember, "you miss some of
what you reach for, but all of what you don't reach for".
Natasha, thank you for all your help and accurate advice and