The Continuing Document Chase

Today was a document chase day, and I learned a bit about what you have to do as a citizen of Ukraine. Apparently, Ukrainians have to register with the government in the district in which they live. If you leave the district, you have to unregister and register in the district you move to. Our facilitator said this step used to be done automatically once you applied for the new emigration passport, but the laws have changed and now it has to be done in person. That’s not the whole story, but it is a simplification to avoid a Ukrainian law primer. So, Nathan and I climb in the facilitator’s car along with the Ritzman’s at 10:30 this morning. Nathan is first up since they have different districts. We go to the immigration office in his district in the north of Kyiv and wander into yet another government building. A very nice lady explained to the facilitator in the hallway (after he encountered two not-very-nice ladies in the office) that he needed to first go to yet another district passport office for some other document. We get to the second district office and there they asked for Nathan’s original certified birth certificate. I happened to have a copy, but that wasn’t good enough. We met our attorney somewhere along the way, and we traveled back together to the first office to try there again. By this time, it’s 12:50pm, which is 10 minutes before lunch and nothing will happen that quickly. After lunch, I received the explanation (again, highly simplified to avoid another Ukrainian law primer) that the underlying problem was that the person we were trying to unregister “no longer existed.” Through the adoption, the name changed, and the bureaucrats weren’t sure how to handle it. 

Did I mention that most of this time (hours) Ritzman’s waited in the car? Yikes.

Our facilitator made arrangements after that to get the document and Nathan and I no longer needed to be present. At that point, Ritzman’s went with the attorney to Jason’s district. It should have been simpler, but it was not – click here for that play-by-play!

Nathan and I rode back with the facilitator somewhat in the general direction of our apartment. Traffic was terrible because it was Friday and people were leaving town for the weekend. The facilitator asked me if would be OK if we rode a bus back to our apartment so that he can make up some time. At this point I possess enough wherewithal to navigate the bus system with some coaching, so I agree. He gave me instructions to ride the 16 or 18 bus back to Independence Square and pointed me in the direction of the bus stop. He dropped us off on a street corner and pointed the way. The knowledge he has for his city is amazing. We walked in the right  direction of the bus stop and waited when we found it. Two minutes into our wait, number 16 rolls up to the curb. Twenty minutes later, we hopped off the bus at Independence Square a block from the apartment.

Nathan and I decided immediately we needed ice cream after the day we had. We walked down a bit to a kiosk with a freezer next to it. I pointed, but Nathan wouldn’t have it; he had a better plan. He kept walking and I realized he wanted to go to the kiosk on Khreschatik where we got ice cream with Ritzman’s so long ago. On the way there, I saw they had the walk way blocked off. The workers have been leveling stones the last several days, so this wasn’t unexpected. We take a quick turn to the right and jump up on this little wall that looks like a border. Nathan makes the leap, but I don’t. My right foot catches the edge, and I trip and fall with both hands on the cobblestones. My backpack hits the ground as do my glasses, and I didn’t realize it at the time, but I can tell that my shin also hit the edge. It was entirely embarrassing and physically painful. My hands slapped the cobblestones and my wrists ached for a few hours after. While what felt like a crowd looked on, he helped me pick myself up, we got ice cream, and headed back to the apartment.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. motorcyclemama5
    May 15, 2011 @ 15:55:51

    Thanks for posting this, “Bruce in Ukraine!” It is just too hard for me to process and then paraphrase what is going on with you guys. This is much more accurate! Love you, Jill


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