::: The Woman Of Your Dreams Just May have a Russian Accent :::

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Lee and Olga Schaffer from Roseville, California

(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 prophetic.

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 Vienna.

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 suggestions.


Lee Schaeffer

June, 2000

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