This Blog is meant to journal the combined experiences of the persons involved in the Sasha Project. Its objective is to strengthen the ties between families, students (several of us teach), friends, and the growing number of persons who want to be part of the JOY which this Sasha Journey is spreading.

In 2004, I (Tina) traveled to Russia to assist with the adoption of my two nephews. Alexander (Sasha) was our interpreter, driver, and so much more. I have kept in touch with him and it has been my dream to let him experience first-hand the typical U.S. life (versus merely his impressions from American TV, movies and music). My initially modest idea blossomed to include eleven other adoptive families who also want to host Sasha and thank him for helping to make their dreams come true.

It will be fun as well as educational for all of us to share Sasha's observations and impressions of his daily travels as this Journey unfolds. There is an intricately choreographed daily itinerary which will take us to visit the Space Shuttle, Golden Gate bridge, Route 66, a Home Depot and other American icons through Sasha's eyes. The flight to L.A. is scheduled to leave Moscow on Saturday, June 15th to begin his six week visit.
It seems incredible, but the interviewing U.S. Immigrations officer denied Sasha a Tourist visa. He did not see the value in Sasha's trip or understand the desire for the adopting families and children to reunite with Sasha. The officer decided that Sasha was too poor to be allowed even a brief visit to the U.S.


Monday, July 15, 2013

Birthday Joy

Birthday Ladder

Today was Sasha’s Birthday.  He was not in the San Francisco area as planned.  He had been scheduled for a day with Hosting Family #12  in Bonny Doon, Santa Cruz, California. 

After Sasha was denied a US Tourist Visa, there was great disappointment by all parties involved.  When Sasha was asked what he was going to do next, he wrote: 

I spent about two hours at the local church to lighten my heart and looks I have achieved my goal. It is easier now. .... Oh there is much to do. To change the water line which supplies my property with fresh water ....  maybe to buy (my long dream) - a long sliding ladder...

Some of the Hosting Families and other people picked up on that concept and each “gifted” Sasha one of the 9 rungs of his dream Sliding Ladder.  It was quite a surprise for him.  


Today Sasha also had a meeting with the Headmaster at the local school regarding a formal English teaching position in the coming year.  When pestered for a “debriefing” he wrote:

The Head of the school introduced me to (various people).  … it was explained my first procedures I have to do. I have to …. , prepare the working plan by the 20th of August, and come for the teacher's meeting on August 30. With my various experiences , I shall discuss not only theory of the subject with the students but shall talk about life as well...

So it sounds like Sasha will be teaching English in an official capacity with a regular paycheck!  That was a positive Birthday Morning.


When asked about his Birthday plans Sasha wrote:

My friend “L” will come to my place for a tea session.   I got to know “L”about two-three years ago when I visited her store. We became friends in last December.  Also a man from Switzerland, Peter, will probably come with his Russian wife, Olga, who was my neighbor.

Sasha once told me that books were the most valuable gift he could be given.  So one night  a few weeks ago I went on and ordered a dozen books for him.   The prices are great and there are no shipping fees - even for international deliveries.  Funds go to support literacy programs around the world.  Most of the ordered books were on the subject of Teaching English as a second language.  Some on Russian/English conversations. I figured if Sasha is planning on teaching this crazy English language, then he needs an adequate home library to support his efforts.

Here is Sasha’s response when the books arrived:

Wow!  You have made the Greatest Present to me for my birthday!!!
Thank you very, very much!!! I am among the books on the sofa, like a hungry dog snatching one, then another, then another like pieces of food.... I take one book, then another, and another not knowing what I shall start reading from...   :-)


It sounds as though Sasha’s Birthday was enjoyed on various levels.  

Saturday, June 22, 2013


Happy Doc
Today we had tickets to see the Space Shuttle Endeavor and the iMAX 3D Hubble Telescope movie with Sasha.  That would have been a memorable activity for him to write about to his students.  Then he was to move on and stay with Host Family #2

Since we already had the tickets, and neither Doc nor I had been to the exhibit, we decided to go anyhow.  As we drove down there, I asked the Angels for an appropriate person to use the extra ticket.  I couldn’t figure out how that would occur since most visitors attend along with several other persons. A single 10:15 a.m. shuttle tour with 12:30 iMAX show ticket was not likely to be easily matched up exactly with some other families’ plans.

Doc and I arrived early.  The ticket booth was not yet open. There was a nice looking guy standing around patiently waiting.  I asked him if he was needing a ticket?  He cautiously answered yes.  I asked him if he was alone and needing only one ticket?  He probably was a little unsure of my intentions at that point.  He confirmed he needed just one ticket.  I said, “Well if you are interested in a 10:15 tour with the 12:30 movie, this ticket is yours!”  He looked perplexed.  I told him we had a third person in our group who was unable to make it today.  He thanked me and offered to pay for the ticket.  I replied, “Pay It Forward. And when you do -- say it is for Sasha”.  Then I turned to walk away.

Since there were still 30 minutes until the museum opened, I turned back and introduced myself to Terry. Then I told him more about Sasha as well as the Project.  I asked Terry to enjoy his day on behalf of Sasha.  We saw Terry two other times throughout the day as we were touring. He said he was very much enjoying the shuttle exhibit.

Merging of Galaxies
The 3D iMAX Movie on the Hubble Telescope was breathtaking.  The numbers of galaxies and the distances (in light years) of the various new discoveries were mind boggling!  There were views of the Earth in the background as the astronauts were conducting Hubble repairs and upgrades.  At one point I almost laughed in thinking about our man-made “borders” and the way we think about other countries and cultures.  How very petty it all seems.  Sasha’s denied visa, our everyday activities (some which we consider crises), romantic affairs, financial affairs, and international affairs seem absolutely trivial when seen through the vastness of space.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Father's Day

Below is the flyer I FAXED to the US Moscow Embassy:

FATHER’s DAY -- the day Sasha was to have arrived at LAX. 
How appropriate that would have been since Sasha assisted so many American men fulfill their dreams of becoming fathers.

There were many adopted Russian children who were anxious to meet the man who helped them become American citizens.  But alas, the U.S. Consulate will not allow Sasha to visit the children. The children are heartbroken and wondering WHY has this been forbidden?

Sasha is not wealthy enough to meet the visitation criteria.  Sasha does not own sufficient property or have significant savings.  (Note:  All of his expenses while in this country were to be paid by the numerous hosting families).

Sasha’s “wealth” is in the unselfish assistance he provided to American families. His “riches” are the fulfillment of people’s dreams. His “treasures” are the dozens and dozens of Russian children he helped place into loving homes versus having them continue to live in orphanages and government facilities.  Those assets can not be shown on a bank statement.

Sasha has lived to create bridges between our two countries and has served as an ambassador of goodwill.  The U.S. Consulate should be honoring this man versus rejecting him!

There are readers in 8 countries who have been following Sasha's Journey to this point.  It is a shame that in just a few moments, one man had the power to shut down this worthwhile program.  He destroyed summer hosting and travel plans of the 12 adopting families, meetings scheduled with educators and researchers, visitation plans of dozens of other good citizens, interview plans of media persons, and the joy which was being shared by readers internationally. 

Where is the logic or value in such a decision?

Tina Shelton

Friday, June 7, 2013

Just One Person

Have you ever thought “I am JUST one person, I don’t matter”. “My one vote won’t make a difference”.  “My one comment to someone won’t matter”.         What if it did?

Think about the Visa Interviewing Officer at the Moscow Embassy.  One person had the ability to shut down an international goodwill effort affecting hundreds of people with his few words: “You are denied”.  Yes, EVERY Person sure can make a difference!

Now we just need to find that ONE person who will say, “There IS a way for Sasha’s Journey to continue and here it is….”

Faint Heart Beat

This project is too good to let it die.  There is yet a Faint Heart Beat.
We can not give up on it just yet!

Here is my letter sent to the Director of Non-Immigrant Visas:


Dear Mr. Bistransky, Director of Non-Immigrant Visas -

For many months, twelve American families have been arranging for a 10-year Anniversary Celebration for children adopted through the Moscow Embassy.  These are each upstanding, professional families who have no intentions of harboring an "escapee".

Each American family was going to host, thank and honor the man (Alexander Romanov) who helped make their dream of having a family a reality.  The children were excited to meet this man. One family was even flying in from Ireland for this special tour.

We had plans each day for taking Alexander to an American baseball game, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Space Shuttle, Queen Mary, Home Depot, along Route 66, a library, horseback riding, a California mission and so many other places and then to document his travels so that many more people would be brought together in this network of Joy and Learning.

How could the Interviewing Officer not understand how much of a Goodwill Tour this was to be for the two countries?  We established the Sasha Journey Blogsite to track Alexander's daily activities and broadcast those to the current readers in Russia, the U.S., Germany, Australia, South Korea, and other countries.  I implore you to please look at it.

I posted a comment on one website and a Russian person responded with "Americans KILL the adopted Russian children!"  Sasha's Journey was going to prove to the world the opposite! To show everyone how wonderfully these adopted children are treated; how they have grown into fine young persons in their communities.

Alexander loves his country and the intention for doing this Goodwill Tour was to bring the two countries closer together!

How can we explain to a dozen Russian adopted children that the man who helped to make them American Citizens has been Forbidden to visit with them?  

I ask you Mr. Bistransky "Tear Down this American Wall!"

In this particular case: How can we create Unity versus creating more separation between the two countries?

Tina Shelton

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Interview Day - Visa Denied

I have been adding to this blog every few hours as the day progressed …

Sasha's interview at the Embassy is 9 a.m. Moscow time which meant it was actually 10 p.m. last night (Pacific Time).  I figured we would hear from him maybe after midnight?  I have been checking every 5 minutes as have some of you.  It is now 3:30 a.m. I have washed dishes, scrubbed floors, repaired things, sorted and paced around the house while waiting ....

It is now 7 a.m. L.A. time (6 p.m. Moscow time) and still we are waiting to hear from Sasha.  I do not know what time his return flight to Krasnodar is/was.

It is now 8:20 a.m. L.A. time.  Incoming email from Sasha: "Have just off the plane and am in the bus through Krasnodar. Was able to get your messages only here...Don't worry I am okay".


At 11:49 a.m. this email arrived:  “I have just come home. Yes, emotionally I have been drained off completely... You know, the interview was going so smoothly at first,  and in accordance with our scenario this time. I had the interview at the sixth window, in the corridor. The Officer, a man, listened to me carefully and was clicking on his keyboard reading something on his monitor, while I was talking. He looked through all the documents that I handed him, though, at first it was clear - he had no intention to... but, just as we rehearsed, I was calm and he looked at our notebook to the end (except for the fact that your cover letter he made me open for him - I think, being afraid that it can be poisoned). And in the end, when I was thinking - "Thank God! Looks like this is a good man and he will give me approvel...... He said, with a pleasant smile - I regret to inform you that....
And here my nerves broke and stopping him I said - ‘You know, I am not dreaming to stay for good in your America! With your - "NO", you did not ruin my plans for the future... I am quite comfortable here in Russia. You have just ruined the dreams of many fellow citizens of yours!’”

Of course I immediately SKYPE called Sasha.  He first apologized for the lack of communication through the night.  He tried five times to send out messages, but the roaming feature on his cell phone didn’t seem to work.  He was so tired after spending 48 hours without sleep on buses, planes, the subway, taxi, plus then the emotional turmoil of the interview process.

Sasha said he did as we rehearsed:  He politely greeted the Officer.  Then he asked the officer to look for any letters which might be in his file in addition to the electronic application.  We were expecting some letters of support.  Sasha said the man looked bewildered, but then spent quite a bit of time looking at his computer screen.

Sasha then presented Attorney Ken’s cover letter and the entire notebook.  The officer asked if Sasha had met these people in America?  Sasha explained that No, he met the families in Russia.  The officer then asked if the families were Russian?  Sasha explained that the children were Russian and being adopted by Americans.

The Officer read Attorney Ken’s letter, then my cover letter (explaining the 10 year Adoption Anniversary Celebrations, family hostings etc.)  Then he read his computer screen for a long time.

The Officer asked nothing about Sasha’s property, Sasha’s mother or sister in Germany.  He smiled and said the visa request was denied because there is nothing to connect Sasha to Russia.  “Possibly you would stay in America”.

Sasha said “It is not me you have affected so much as you spoiled the summer holidays and plans of many people”  “It is on your soul”.

It is so frustrating that a hasty decision by one person could shatter the hopes of so many good people around the world who have been following this Journey.  There was immense goodwill being exchanged between all the students, families and other persons who have been part of the Sasha Team.

How do you tell all the adopted children that the U.S. Officials will not allow Sasha to come visit them?

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

En Route

Sasha is en route to Moscow.  I received this message at 12:59 p.m. L.A. Time (making it 11:59 pm Moscow time).  "Hi Tina, I am at the airport Krasnodar. It is Midnight now."  Sasha will fly during the night to arrive at 6:20 a.m.  Then make his way to the U.S. Embassy for the 9 a.m. interview.

People around the world will be hanging on one person’s decision at the visa interview.  That U.S. Embassy interviewing officer has the sole power to approve or deny Sasha’s entry to the U.S.  Let’s hope he/she is having good morning.

Sasha is so passionate about learning the English language.  Yesterday he said, “I can’t imagine what it will be like to be 100% immersed in the language for a few weeks!”
en Route to Moscow

When Sasha arrives in California, there will be the celebrations with all the adoption families.  We will also blog his experiences and perspectives so that students, family, friends, and on-line travel companions can share the daily adventures during those weeks.

This photo arrived at 2:04 p.m.  Sasha at Krasnodar Airport
His comment: Hi everybody, I can feel your presence with me.

 At 5:05 p.m.    "I am on the plane.... The take off is in 8 minutes"  Sasha

Now is the time for everyone to focus positive energy on the situation.  Let’s visualize getting over this hurdle so we can get on with the exciting part of the Journey.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Final Preparations

This evening I spent nearly an hour on Skype with Sasha. Half of it was checking over his documentation and presentation. The other half hour was listening to his excitement.  I saw a glimmer of that passion nine years ago when I first met him.  I remember how at that time he was astonished at all the similarities between the American families he was meeting and the Russian families he knew.  That was much different thinking than the concepts of fear and mistrust he had been raised with.  He stated then that somehow he wanted to make a small difference in bringing the people of the two countries together.  Helping with adoptions was one way to do that. 

Tonight Sasha was still in awe that two weeks from now he should be actually standing on U.S. soil and seeing the families he helped to form.  He said it seems unreal.

This morning I awoke and tried first thing to check emails for crucial correspondences and to prepare for the morning Skype call with Sasha.  My internet service was not working!  It was not working on my husband's computer either!  I was immediately on the phone with the internet company to get the issue resolved.  Now, in hindsight I wish I would have thought to take a photo.  It became a 'family time' in the attic.  Doc was on his belly, I was kneeling next to him, and the three dogs were using their noses to try to help with the wiring.  I was not laughing at the time, but most of you certainly would have if you had seen the hilarious situation!

We established this Sasha Journey blog site one month ago.  For those of you who enjoy data (my husband and I are engineers), here are the latest Stats for the Blogsite page views:   Total of 890 Views.   Russia (265); U.S. (561); Germany (39); Australia, South Korea, Ireland, Netherland and Venezuela for the balance.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Pulling Together

The day after Sasha’s first rejection of his visa application, I went on line and discovered Attorney Kenneth White.  The next day Sasha and I had an hour Skype call with Ken.  He provided us with his professional opinions, his advice and our options.  He also offered to write an email on Sasha’s behalf to the Moscow Embassy.  This morning, Kenneth called to confirm some details for his letter.  Isn’t it wonderful how so many people are Pulling Together to make the Sasha Journey a reality?

At 11 a.m. the USC University Research Team arrived.  Their interview focus was on people who blog and aspects such as the bloggers’ objectives, the perceived risks, characteristics of their readers, etc.  There were 5 persons on the team with two of them as cameramen.  They came initially about the Penny Finders Blog, but I was able to also share about the Sasha Project.  

Who knows where that will lead?

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Notebook #2 in Hand

Notebook #2 arrived today - one day EARLIER than promised. Thank You Federal Express.  At noon last Thursday, the book was in my hands; at noon this Thursday, Sasha had it in his hands.  And it even went through Russian Customs in that time.  Yippee!

One week from today is Sasha’s Interview at the Moscow Embassy.

I was surprised to discover that the US Moscow Embassy has a Facebook page!
So, of course, I posted something on it.  There has been one response to it, but it is written in Russian, so I have no idea what it says.

Sasha is tending to Sereja (his son), the garden, and his students.
“I was out for a while together with Sereja. He collected his school books so tomorrow we will bring those books back to the school library. He is waiting for me to go to the garden now, prompting: “Dad, let's go! The weather is fine, shall us water the garden!"
“Today looks I shall be busy with lessons almost all the day, if nothing extraordinary takes place.”

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Notebook #1 Arrived

The first email I read this morning was only one sentence in length plus a picture worth a thousand words

“Dear Tina, here I am with the play book at last. ;-)”

In a second email Sasha wrote:

“Have just caught myself on the thought that I am having fun with all this, though sometimes it looks a bit frustrating, but sure Spirits help us.”

Yesterday a US International Postal service rep contacted me in response to the inquiry I had previously made.  She shared what we already knew - the Moscow Postal Sorting Station had experienced a fire recently and thus did not move any mail for a week.  Lanie said she would place a urgent request for a tracking investigation on our package.  She said sometimes a little prompting helps push things through.  I should call back in 4-5 days to find the results of the investigation.  I replied, “Forget the investigation, just have them deliver the package!”  Today it was delivered!  Yipee!

I was slightly disheartened that I spent so much time and money Thursday to get a second Playbook shipped.  My dear husband lovingly stated, “You could not afford NOT sending the second book.  The risk of Book #1 not arriving on time was too great.”  Gotta love that man!

Also, after 42 days, Sasha has finally received the postcards I sent him.


Sasha’s Mother is out of the hospital.

Tina, Thank you for the concern... Mother will never be good already. Almost every day she takes pain killers. She suffers joint pains and many other illnesses in addition to heart. … To say more, she tries even to help me; when Sereja is at my place, she prepares some food and "crawls out" to the kitchen garden to water the carrot, parsley and other agro-cultures and tries, successfully, to direct Sasha: what he should do and what he should not to....


Sereja (Sasha’s son) is now out of school for the summer and will be staying with Sasha for the next few weeks

“Sereja has a party at school today (Friday) on the occasion of the end of primary school.  Now, we are going out with Sereja to the town to have his hair cut.
I visited Sereja’s Advancement to Secondary School Celebration.  There was dinner, dancing and each of the children released a balloon with their secret wish attached to it. 
Ex wife Lena was there too.

Just 3 weeks until Sasha’s scheduled arrival …

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Playbook 2.0

Before you read today’s story, I ask each of you to take a moment and say a silent “Thank You” to all our U.S. Postal Workers.  Better yet, next time you see one - actually thank them for what they do.  Over the years I have sent numerous greeting cards and small tokens to Sasha; he did not receive many of them.  Very frustrating.  This latest notebook was sent with 8-10 day Express Delivery from LA to Dinskya where Sasha lives.  The Russian Post office is slow moving resulting in an estimated 34 day delivery time instead!  So why did I pay for that urgent delivery?


Now for Today’s story…
Today as with most days, the first thing I do (after brushing teeth) is to go to my office and check for emails from Sasha.  This morning’s caught me by surprise.  I was expecting a “Hello, the Notebook is here!”  (Since it is now 6 days overdue).  Instead Sasha wrote that the Russian postal service estimates they will deliver it on June 5th.   He leaves for the Moscow interview that evening.    We needed a few days to finalize the contents of the book.  That sure did not start my day well!

The next action was to post a blog and email the team.  Results happen when energy is focused on something.  I called out for earthly and heavenly assistance.

Playbook 2.0 Ready to Go
Next was a phone call to Federal Express.  Questions:  What shipping options are there for getting a package to rural Russia in the next week?  And more importantly: “Does Fed Ex handle the package until its delivery, or does the Russian postal service carry it?”

Answer:  “Fed Ex carries the package to its delivery point -- except for the time at Russian Customs. No guarantees there.   You have ONE option to get the parcel there by Friday, May 31st.  The cost is $$$.   You must get it to the Fed Ex airport office by this afternoon.  (Monday is also a US Holiday).”

So… as of 9 a.m. this morning, I began re-creating the Sasha notebook.  People have asked if I kept a scanned copy.  It’s not that simple.  Think “scrapbook” versus scanned letters. There’s more to it than simple pages.  There are inserts, sealed original letters, etc.  Out came the colored papers, cutters, plastic page protectors, dividers, label maker, post its, tape, new binder, etc.  Took a break at noon for some breakfast cereal.  By 2 p.m. the notebook was by my door ready to go. I changed out of pajamas and headed to the airport.
The lady at the Fed Ex office had me filling out all sorts of forms.  There was one rate for 2 lbs. or under and another rate over 2 lbs.  I had carefully tried to determine which pages and dividers were highest priority and how many blank sleeves to include, etc.  I held my breath as the book was weighed …  The scale read exactly 2.00 lbs!  Thank You Angels.  The new Playbook was sent out around 2:30 this afternoon with delivery expected on Friday, May 31st.


I did stop at the local Post Office where I had mailed the first notebook.  They said there was nothing they could do once the parcel was in the custody of the Russian postal service.


Leaving the airport today I had the thought, “Geez!  It might have been easier to fly this book to meet Sasha in Moscow and hand it to him directly!”  LOL  Trying to laugh a little, ‘cause I sure felt like crying earlier today.

Parcel Delayed

On 2 May 2013, I mailed the “Playbook” to Sasha with all our supporting documents, photos, and more.  It was sent from a US Post Office - International Express Mail with an 8-10 day delivery time (working days).  As of yesterday (May 22), Sasha had not yet received the package! 

Yesterday I tracked the parcel.  It was “Processed Through Sort Facility in LA” on May 5.
On May 17 it was “Processed Through Sort Facility, Russian Federation”. “Customs Clearance Complete, Russian Federation on May 20.

Today Sasha did some checking on his end. Here is what he wrote:

Yes, it is in the Russian Federation, but is still somewhere in Moscow. They say there was a fire at the mail sorting station about two weeks ago. We shall hope there was no your parcel there that time yet. The time estimated of its arrival in Dinskya is June 5, as I was told at the Post Office today...

Sasha’s Interview at the Embassy is June 6!  He was to have that notebook in hand by May 17 so that we could finalize the pages and rehearse his presentation.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

One Month Away

At 12:03 a.m. this morning I sent Sasha an email: “It is now May 16th.  Just one month from today you are scheduled to arrive in CA.  Counting down the days...”

His reply:   J  Again, I cannot even imagine - what is real America? I think everything will be taking place with someone else, but not with me... Too far and away country.... Too distant dreams... But, we shall live and see. Everything is possible with the help of Angels and Heavens... “

Monday, May 13, 2013

Thanks Lou?

A few weeks ago when Sasha was given the date of June 6, for his next interview, that date sounded familiar to me.  Took me a while to realize that was the date 5 years ago when my friend Lou passed away.  He and I had been friends since high school.  For the final month of his life, I was at his hospital bedside nearly every night after work.  I would then go home and email his family and friends (many of whom were out of state) about the occurrences of his day.  He was no longer able to speak which was agony for him since his PASSION was communication and film.

When I realized the COINcidence of the June 6 date, I “talked” to Lou.  He was a good persuader when he was on Earth, so I asked him if maybe he would assist on The Sasha Project from the Other side?  Maybe “speak” persuasively to the Embassy interviewing agent or something?

Last week I received an email from a Ph.D. Student at USC.  He and his professor are conducting research on “bloggers who update their blogs frequently and write about the occurrences of their everyday lives”.  They plan to work with 15-20 persons and had searched many blogsites, before coming across mine.  Also as part of this study, they are filming a documentary “to bring attention to the human, and relatable, side of our research…”  I emailed them asking for more details as well as sharing a few of my objectives for the two blogs.

Today Sonia called and said that the Human Interest part of the blog was just what she was seeking!  The next step was to schedule the film crew to come out to the Penny Palace.  After talking to her I wondered, “How/Why would a research team from USC be ‘lead’ to our blogsite out of the thousands of potential options?”  Then I remembered -- I had asked for Lou’s assistance from the other side!  He was extremely proud of earning his B.S. degree in the Film School at USC!  COINcidence?  Thanks Lou?!

Saturday, May 11, 2013


Where there are big goals, there are big hurdles.  First the U.S. Visa Refusal, then Sasha’s back injury, now his mother.  OK.  Things usually come in threes, so maybe that takes care of that and we will have clear sailing from now on…

Email Update from Sasha
Yesterday I was working in the vegetable garden at 5 p.m. Though not for long. Mother, though very weak because of her illness, tried helping me. At night she felt herself very bad, and I had to call the Ambulance. Something wrong with her heart.... So - mother is hospitalized,

We have been realizing that perhaps The Sasha Project is meant to touch a greater audience in some way.  Today I was contacted by a researcher at USC.  His team has begun a Documentary film on frequent bloggers.  Perhaps this is a way The Sasha Journey and its message of international goodwill can be shared with even more people!  Who knows where this will lead…
More happy ripples on the pond.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Self Taught

Two weeks have passed since Sasha’s first interview in Moscow and the refusal of his U.S. Visa.  That morning sure changed our plans and our lives!  We have now been connected with dozens of wonderful people we would not have met if not for this “hiccup”.

That first week was a whirlwind of urgent actions.  This week is a little quieter.

Monday (when his back was so painful) Sasha wrote:
Hello Tina!  I just have one plan and that is: to be able to have six lessons (from 12 till 7 p.m.) that's all for today. There will be four more Holiday days off ahead and looks like no lessons ... so I have to do it today regardless my back...

Tuesday Sasha wrote:
I feel better and was able to have lessons.
Today Ahad came for the lesson. We discussed with him the book - "The Headless Horseman”, which he is reading.

….I really have a kind of phobia. The reason I didn't do it (comment on the Blog)...I am just ashamed to expose my English all over the world. ... I have a strong feeling that my English is imperfect....That was always the reason I wanted to visit the US. Not to stay there for good, searching easier life or something in this way... I just wanted to be immersed into the language and to see its beauties in its real environment...

I told Sasha that he speaks and writes English much better than any of us can speak or write Russian.  I, for one, am truly impressed with how much he has taught himself!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Owl Drive

Flash Drive for Sasha Project
Last week’s lesson was: Keep asking “What more can go Right?”  That question is good enough to keep using it THIS week as well!  It’s fun when it works even for little things.  For instance:  This evening I decided it was time to get a flash drive dedicated to the Sasha project and get the electronic files in order.  I did not want a boring, average flash drive.  This one needed to be unique.  I planned to look for one tomorrow at the store.  A few minutes ago I found an owl-shaped flash drive buried in my office. Owl = wisdom. That works.  Also, when I was in Russia for adoption of my two nephews, there was one night in particular which was uhhh…challenging. I was in the lobby of the hotel asking Spirit for wisdom and help.  There was a little owl lapel pin with an amber stone for sale.  I bought it as a reminder to ask for wisdom.  That owl now lives next to my kitchen sink where I see it every day.  So storage of the Sasha Files is the Perfect Use for this Owl Flash Drive.  COINcidence?

A few hours ago David (Host Family #12) wrote:   The Universe has spoken!
Good Morning,
My name is Kristen and I am an aide for Congressman Sam Farr. I am writing to let you know that I have received your inquiry regarding a visa for Mr. Sasha Romanov. I have opened a case on your behalf and will be sending a letter in support of Mr. Romanov’s visa to the Embassy in Moscow… 

Report on Sasha:
A few days ago he really hurt his back.  Spent the weekend mostly in bed and in a great deal of pain.  Has had an injection for the pain.  His email earlier today:
Today I had three lessons (one of them I did in my bed teaching from there).
I shared more information with my students about the blog.  Some of them showed their interest to visit Sasha's site....  ;-)

Blog Site:
Sasha’s Journey Blogsite has now been operational for 5 days.  In that time there have been 169 unique visitors to the site: U.S. (115), Russia (41), Germany (5), S. Korea (4), Australia (3) and Ireland (1).

The Ripples of Goodwill are Spreading out further and further …

Saturday, May 4, 2013

The Sasha Files

Today Sasha provided me with additional data. One more page completed for our Interview “playbook”.

Last November when I began action on bringing Sasha to the U.S., I used one manila file folder to keep my notes.  Then in January I started making calls to other families and the pile of notes began to grow.  Now there are two 3-ring binders, 8 hanging files, and numerous sub folders, plus more emails than I can keep sorted.  LOL

Tina Organizing The Sasha Files
Last year Doc (husband) and I completed the construction phase of our new home (the Penny Palace).  The dining room is still buried under files and piles and rolls of plans and sample products and …  Today I was converting the Construction File folders (framing, concrete, electrical, septic, etc.) to The Sasha Files.  It was good to corral some of the papers which were starting to spread all over the house.  Now there are files on the visa application and interview, political assistance, legal counsel, insurance, blog development, tickets and travel, contacts with the hosting families, media interface, itinerary and daily activities, etc.

Nothing Magnificent is Easy!

Penny Finders:
As I walked into the grocery store tonight there was a bright shiny penny just inside the door.  As I reached past a child to retrieve the coin, I spotted a larger coin on the floor of check out lane #2.  Too many people there to bulldoze down.  Of course after getting all our groceries, Doc and returned to lane #2 to check out.  You would think one out of the 20-30 persons who walked through that line, would have retrieved the quarter.  Guess it was meant for me!  There were two additional pennies before leaving the store.

Coins Found:   (3) P, (0) N, (0) D, (1) Q = 4 coins     Value:  $0.28

Friday, May 3, 2013

Going Right

Yesterday I sent an email question to my Penny Tale Readers:  Who wants to jump on board for this new Sasha Journey?  The responses were hilarious, touching and surprising.  A few people forwarded the invitation, and now additional passengers are jumping on ‘the Happy Train”!

What happened today?
1:43 a.m.            Purchased Sasha’s ticket to visit the Space Shuttle
11:10 a.m.            Shared the latest updates with everyone in my yoga class
                        Smiles and joy shared.  Promises of prayers.
12:31 p.m.            Incoming Email from Congressman Miller’s Office: 
Attached is the letter that was emailed to the Moscow Consulate today. Please let us know the outcome of Alexander’s interview.”
                  (Recall that I submitted a request for assistance just yesterday!)  A 22-hour response time!

3:30 p.m.            Text from friend Mandy.  “Could I drop by your house after work today and hang out there for a little?”  In the 20 years I have known Mandy, she has never just dropped by after work!  Could it be because …..  last night I was working on design of this blogsite and so frustrated.  This afternoon I was going to make another attempt at the template edits and just dreading the thought of it. 

Angel Mandy working on Blogsite Edits
5:30 p.m.            “Angel” Mandy came over and within 5 minutes had taught me how to do the blogsite edits!  COINcidence?

Keep asking, “What More can go Right?”

… and for you Penny Finders:  3 pennies and 1 quarter at WalMart today.