In itself visa and registration business is the most routine of routines.This case however involved an extraordinary amount of explaining that “where are you staying” in the context of Russian bureaucratic convention means “where does your invitation says you are staying?”. Reality is what paper says it is. “True” and “official” and “on paper” are near-synonyms. An important thing to understand is that Russians are idealists. We are hardwired that way. Mind is primary. In the beginning was the Word, etc. When a Russian turns atheist he will not usually discard idealism. “The Word” remains the primary substance but lowered to the level of a piece of paper with watermarks and a seal.
Today’s job is to meet a teenager at the airport, to give him some Russian travel advice without scaring a sensitive soul, to inflict some essential Russian upon him, and to put him on another flight off the same airport. Essentially a babysitting assignment. My patine couldn not take the torture of all these “spasibo” and “pozhaluysta” and “gde tualet” and “mne plokho, bolit zhivot” delivered in my voice that I’m at a loss how to describe (Russian “zanuda” defies translation) and is now taking a nap in the car. Probably getting him a local card and/or phone. Went though the checklist. Essentially a babysitting assignment, est. 8 hours, $200.
Kind of sorry to get rid of the box and it contains a big chunk of my life. Here is another one. The job consisted of translating, assessing candidates, miscellaneous logistics, and even finding work for the client when he attempted to settle in Russia.
From the same old box:
Legal requirements to open a private school. A small project that consisted of talking to a school headmistress, a lawyer, and my own research. At the time (around 2005-2006) fulfilling formal requirements appeared realistic for a 2-3 person team but I would not be so sure now.
Sorting out an old box from the days when I still used American style files. Found the one left from a large job that consisted of assessing the cost of a construction project. The results of course were profoundly discouraging. Even back in 2006 or so nothing of substance could be put up for less than $350 per square meter. A similar estimate in India and Argentina turned out to cost under $100 so naturally the investor went there. As is obvious now it was a good decision for legal and political reasons too. Anyway I am here not to discourage you from attempting to do any business in Russia but to give an idea of what sort of things I can do. I did try my hand in estimating the cost of a large construction project by talking to practicing architects, by studying the market, and by direct calculation of the amount and cost of materials. The cost of my services was just over $1000, total time outlay around 25 hours spread over 10 days, and the client, whom I dragged around with me, not not only a figure but a sense of how things are done here, and ultimately avoided a decision that would have been a disaster had he gone ahead with his original Russian plans.
A carriage maker of my acquaintance just called expressing interest in an Australian client of mine who is considering a move to Russia. That reminds me to do a summary of job search projects and episodes, successful and otherwise.
I welcome www.littorina.info (former www.littorina.narod.ru) to the family of sites for which I do very light administration. Registration, hosting, making sure it is up, monitoring that loading time is reasonable, checking for obvious usability errors… Nothing fancy but spares the owner some – often considerable – headache. The last drop was a day she spent restoring the site after free host narod.ru changed something in the system. The cost of such basic upkeep is $50-100 per month, and that includes quality hosting (VPS), regular monitoring, transactions with the registrar and hosts, and other things I do for my sites anyway. One of truly valuable services to someone who one site and tends to forget to look at it once in a while.
Have been comparing W3 Total Cache, WP Super Cache, and no caching plugin at all. WP Super Cache wins by a small margin. Still, even with WP Super Cache installed, average page load time is 5-6 seconds, with spread between 2.5 and over 10. Not good although about average even for seemingly well made sites.
Russian bride seekers may want to try this travel companion resource: http://www.poputchik.ru/ It is in Russian but my help of course is available.
As I said before and will keep on repeating, excessively direct approach has its limitations. To put it mildly. Instead, create a situation that makes its easy for Fate to work. Socialize. Offering or asking for a ride is one of many things you can try.
“Poputchik“ translates as “travel companion”. It consists of prefix “po” that has “together” among its meanings, “put” (“way”), and suffix “chik”, equivalent to English “-er” (traveller, player). You already know “put” from “Sputnik” (that thing that went up in flame and smoke in 1957). It was called “Sputnin” because it shares way (“put”) with earth. You know “chik” from “apparatchik”. And “po” from “pogrom” except in this case “po” implies completion, not proximity. So it turns out “poputchik” is an almost familiar word to an English speaker.
In Russian it is “попутчик”. Let’s look at the letters. Letters too should not be total strangers. П is Greek Π (pi), У formed from OU (just imagine O and U fusing to make first U with an appendage like Ц, and then this appendage growing to make modern Russian У. Т is T. Ч comes form Hebrew צ (tsade), И is again Greek Ηη (related to Latin Hh, both of which come from Phoenician Het. K of course is same as in English.
Easy? That’s one of the approaches use in my teaching of language. Recognized what’s already familiar. Put an effort into leaning to access what you already know before forcing yourself to commit things to memory.