Greetings from Latvia! Although we have been reassigned to the Bulgaria-Sofia Mission we are still in Latvia due to the paperwork required to obtain a Bulgarian long-term visa. We could leave tomorrow and enter on a tourist visa. But after 90 days we would have to leave and if our long-term visa was not processed by then we would not be able to return to Bulgaria for three months. Since there is little hope of completing the visa process in less than 90 days, it has been decided that is it more prudent to wait until all of the necessary documents have been obtained before going.
The most time consuming part is a background check to insure the Bulgarians that we are not criminals. They don’t just let anybody into Bulgaria apparently. On Monday, after spending a few hours at the office to complete weekly reports, we set out in pursuit of our background check. The application was completed and what we needed was a finger print card to send with it to the FBI. Off we headed. After a bus ride we had to hike about six blocks in temperatures around -13ᵒC as we headed for the Latvian Police Forensic Department which was open until noon then closed for an hour lunch before reopening for the remainder of the day. When we found the building the policeman (who was deeply involved in his book) told us we needed to go to the second door about 50 meters up the street. When we got there that nice policeman told us that no one was there and we would need to come back at 1:00. It was 11:30, so dismayed but not dissuaded we decided to get lunch while we waited.
On our way we had passed a little Italian restaurant that we had been interested in trying. The reviews said that they had good food and reasonable prices. It also looked as though it might be warm in there as well. It was not the fanciest place but we decided to take a chance. The reviews were correct – the prices were reasonable and the food was good.
After lunch we headed back and when we arrived the room was full of people. We were surprised that so many people could need to be finger printed. The lady was moving everyone through quite quickly after taking their documents and giving them a piece of paper. That is until she got to us. It seems this was not the correct place and we needed to go back to the first door – the one with the fellow trying desperately to read his book. We are not sure what the others were doing there, maybe marriage licenses since there were mostly couples. Any way we returned to the place we had gone originally.
As well as the fellow still attempting to read his book, there was a nice lady who spoke English and escorted us to a small office where our finger prints were taken. The two ladies there were a bit annoyed that we spoke only English. It seems in the MTC they did not have a language task for Police department, not to mention forensic unit. Since the word for fingers and toes is the same in Russian I was hesitant to try my limited language skills on them for fear they would want us to remove our shoes!
Our request is now on the way to the FBI and it is a matter of waiting for it to be processed and returned to us. By then we will have the other documents we need and can finally set out for Bulgaria by way of Warsaw – where the closest Bulgarian Embassy is located. When we married, Elder Segeberg said he would show me the world. I just didn’t realize which part of the world that would be. What is wrong with Tahiti? Rome maybe or Paris? Guess not! But how many people can say they have spent a romantic evening in Warsaw? Or any evening at all, for that matter?
It has been a busy week in the office due to the Millets returning to the US for a funeral. We are both finding out what we do not know since the Millets handle part of the office procedure. It will be good training for us so that when we get to Bulgaria we will be better trained. Our thoughts and prayers are with them as they mourn the loss of a loved one.
Hopefully we will have pictures next week again.