332: Some Good Things During 2018

 ~Update~

2018 has started out reasonably well for me.  My German is coming on leaps and bounds from almost nothing to next to nothing.  For instance a sign in a local supermarket stated “Ihr Markt“.  Natascha put me straight when I said that one hour was a short time for shopping in the supermarket.  I now know two German words Your and Store. 🙂

 Paperwork was at the forefront of getting settled in Graz,  Austria.  I am now certified.  Yes,  certified as a permanent resident of Graz.  I also have a pretty e-card which gives me access to free medical treatment.

Amazingly, some more good things are about to happen during 2018.

 ~Western Union~

Many of you may remember my post about being scammed by the notorious Nigerian, Bongo Bongo Banana, out of Ottawa, Canada.  He pretended to be Tammy who loved me enough to try to empty my bank account.

The other day I was reading the Daily Mail online and I had a wow moment.  It seems that Western Union (WU)  had not been verifying the identity of many collectors of transferred money.  WU has been ordered to pay back money to victims of scams.  You can read about it here.

I had a big sort out of my old paperwork when leaving Spain.  For some unknown reason I kept all my WU receipts and, boy, was I glad I did.  I filled out the remission form with copies of all the receipts and sent them off, online.

It may take a few months and hopefully I will get back a few thousand euros.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

 ~Our Marriage Shenanigans~

All Natascha and I want to do is to get married in Graz !   Simple ?   Not here !   It seems that because I was divorced things become really complicated.  The Registrar here wants proof that I am free to marry and there is a complicated process to go through.   We went to see the Registrar clerk in this building ……..

……..  who sent us away on a quest.  Going through all the British government web pages about marrying in Austria after a divorce ………

…… off we went to the local British Consulate a few minutes away from our home to make an oath and sign an affidavit saying that I was free to get married.

We took all our paperwork.  Everything !   Natascha’s kitty shopping trolley was full and heavy !

We rang the doorbell.  No reply.  The door was open and we ventured into the darkness of the building.

We explored every floor and corridor.  No British Consulate !

The stairs were so dark and dingy.  Dragging the heavy kitty trolley, we expected to see Errol Flynn having a sword fight.

There were no signs pointing to the British Consulate or even warning signs about the stairs.

We gave up !   Natascha went into a store to ask where the British Consulate was located and was told it was a couple of doors up the street from where we originally looked for it.   We rang the doorbell.  No answer, but the door was open and in we went into the darkness.

The lift could only be worked by having a key.  The spiral stairs were even worse dragging the heavy kitty trolley.  Puffed out, we climbed round a corner and a couple of electricians blocked our way with all their tools and cables on the steps.  They told us that the Consul was away on vacation and would not be back for at least a week. Oh boy !   Disheartened, we returned home.

Many days later, after no reply on the British Consulate door bell, we climbed the stairs dragging the heavy kitty trolley.  There were no signs for the British Consulate or warnings about the stairs.

Puffed out climbing the spiral staircase, we stopped by an office where a very kind man unlocked the lift which took us directly into the British Consulate.  Beautiful carpet, polished brass work, a polished picture of the Queen, a smiling receptionist and a glowering Consul greeted us.  We explained why we were there.  The Consul looked at us as if she had trod in something nasty and all she said was, “Go to Vienna !”.   I asked her what she actually did there ?   She replied by telling us that all she did was British subjects in prison,  hospital or loss of passport.

I am sure that this is where she, the Consul, spent her vacation !  🙂

When the time was right, early December 2017, 6:30 AM, a cold morning, Natascha and I boarded the bus from Graz to Vienna.

We had already arranged a meeting in the British Embassy, Vienna and we were looking forward to getting the papers which the Austrian Registrar asked for. I wasn’t really terrified when the top deck of the double-decker bus passed under low bridges. Duh !

The meeting went well.  All my documents were genuine.  I made the oath that I was free to get married, signed the affidavit and a waiver that the British Embassy was not to blame if any of my paperwork was not up to scratch.  A notice of marriage was pinned to the notice board in the Embassy (which is totally useless as nobody can wander in there to read it as security was so tight).

We arrived home late in the evening, almost €200 out-of-pocket.  The British Embassy charged over €100 for their work and the rest was for meals and travelling expenses. All this seemed to me to be completely unnecessary as I have been single for 25 years and the British government knows that anyway as I am receiving a UK single person’s state pension. Anyway, we now had to wait for the certificate from the British Embassy which was coming by registered post.  It never came !   I emailed the British Embassy and was told that it was sent a few days before.  Natascha went to the local post office.  No registered letter !   I then emailed the British Embassy again asking for the registered letter number so that the Post Office here could trace it.  A few hours later I received an ooops email from the British Embassy.  It seemed that the clerk was on vacation and the document was never sent.  A day later the registered letter arrived.  Yay !

Oh yes, there is more ! The Graz Registrar wants all my marriage and divorce documents translated into German.  Natascha is in the process of translating them as her English is perfect.  Will we get married ?   Is there more to the quest ?    Will we come out of the wedding service gibbering idiots ?   Time will tell !

 ~Cats And Things~

The main reason why I moved from Spain to Austria was that Natascha has awful daily migraines and needs to go to the pharmacy twice a day on a bicycle to take a special concoction which blocks the migraines.  Since I have been here in Graz she has had very few migraine attacks.  Love seems to help her.

The cats and I watch her pedal off down the road from our window.  Murli must be thinking, “Why is mummy out in the street ?”.

Sonic and Samantha love it in the apartment.   Samantha never stops talking !

China Cat and Coo Coo are still wrapped up in bubble wrap in the cupboard.  They never stop complaining.

Oh, Natascha has not died climbing the ladder  🙂

 ~My Spanish Apartment~

I really must get on and advertise my now empty apartment in Spain.

Is your 2018 going to be a good one ?

I hope so !

Ralph xox ❤

135 Comments on “332: Some Good Things During 2018

  1. My goodness! What an adventure! Thankfully, this story has a happy ending. Princess Natascha and Prince Ralph get married. And they and the cats live happily ever after! 🙂

    Liked by 8 people

    • Definitely an adventure MM, but I am not too sure about the Princess and Prince 🙂 I don’t think that we could cope with a white horse, pumpkin and mice in the apartment as our cats would go ballistic ! Big hug. Ralph xox ❤

      Liked by 5 people

  2. Thank you for writing Ralph, I do worry about you drowning in paperwork.
    By now I think I would have shed a few tears in frustration. Instead you use humour as the weapon of choice and a good one it is.
    The Embassy story is very funny…..if you do not have to do all the traipsing around. And you will most certainly get those money back. 😊.

    You will get married and one day this will be just a funny tale instead of and exhausting period. Good how love is the best medicine for migraine. I do believe this though.
    Keep smiling and have an early spring wedding
    Hugs
    Miriam

    Liked by 10 people

    • Thank you so much for your very long comment dear Miriam. Natascha did get extremely worried, but was okay when I said that everything will be all right. And in the end it all seems to be working out. Just the translation to finish and another visit to the Austrian Registrar. Fingers crossed that there will be no more curve balls heading our way. I totally agree that all this will be a fun tale in the future. That’s why I am keeping a record of what has happened on these posts. Yes, love is the best medicine. Big hug. Ralph xox ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You have my greatest respect and admiration. Anybody who can traverse the gauntlet of bureaucracy and come out whole on the other end is a dedicated mate.. It’s no wonder that Natascha loves you if you are willing to go through all this to marry her!

    Liked by 6 people

    • What are you trying to do Al ? Make me blush ? *fanning myself* 😀 Thank you your great comment my friend. Ralph 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I am in your corner! It’s like watching a made for blogging movie, filled with my favorite “characters” and I can scarce await the next installment. Of course you will get married and the adventures will continue. God Bless you, Natasha and the felines! Love to you all.

    Liked by 4 people

    • What a sweet and lovely comment dear Annette. Oh, sweets are on sale in the Foyer during the movie intermission. lol. I really do hope that what you say about the continuation of our life really works out as you say my friend. Have a wonderful weekend. Hugs. Ralph xox ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Ah!!!! There is nothing like a great adventure, which both of you seem to be having!
    Admittedly, I am somewhat exhausted from climbing all those stairs with you, but I should be fine in about a week of loafing around. Please note, I don’t mean baking bread!
    Anyway, it sounds like soon to ring wedding bells, and I can hardly wait! Please hurry in case I go deaf in the meantime.
    Sending love to all!!! _Resa xoxoxo ❤

    Liked by 4 people

    • Definitely an adventure which we really could do without, but tally-ho, on we go ! I hope you didn’t “roll” down the stairs and “bap” your head due to our exhausting climb dear Resa ? That would be awful ! Oh please don’t go deaf as you won’t hear your cats calling. We are going to the Registrar tomorrow and hope we can set a date for the wedding.
      Lots of love from all of us here in Austria. Ralph xoxoxo ❤ 🔔🔔🔔🔔🔔🔔😎

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  6. Wishing you all the best in 2018, dear Ralph. As Miriam (above) noted, I would certainly have cried many times over all this. But your attitude–and Natascha’s–is so inspiring. XOXO

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much for your wonderful comment dear Mary. Natascha almost shed a tear or two, but hung on. She is a lot happier that we are getting really close to getting married. So am I. Pass the tissues ! 😥😪😭😢😰😱 lol. Big hug. Ralph xox ❤

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    • It really is an adventure Jan ! And I must agree that 2018 must be a a lot easier for Natascha, myself and the cats. Well, here is hoping anyway. Have a lovely Sunday. Ralph xox ❤

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  7. I think government bureaucrats are incapable of telling us more than one thing at a time. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to get all the information in one visit then go and collect all the data they need, have it all rubber stamped and everything is complete? … but no,they have to justify their existence, and salaries, by creating the most problems over the longest period of time with the most red tape.
    Keep on keeping on. You’ll get there eventually, and hopefully not as gibbering puddles of goo. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • I totally agree with you Widdershins. All of the paperwork which we have been through in this post seems to me be completely unnecessary, costly and time wasting. Still, we have to play their game as Natascha and I do want to get married as soon as possible. Take care from an almost gibbering puddle of goo. Ralph 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Wie gehts, Ralph and Natascha. Things will gradually come together and then there will be a lovely wedding. Thank you for sharing your adventures. It’s always frustrating dealing with the authorities.
    Leslie

    Liked by 3 people

    • Spot on Leslie ! As you say things are gradually coming together. Natascha wants a simple Registrar wedding, no frills, pay the bill, get the certificate and out of there. What she is really looking forward to is to wear the wedding ring which we bought a while ago. Then it is around the government’s circus again to change her name to mine on countless documents. Oh boy ! Still, it will be all worth it in the end. Big hug. Ralph xox ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Jeez, always the drama queen, Ralph-o. I think you just make up all this stuff, surely government bodies would NEVER be so bureaucratic and fond of red tape?

    Natascha has the most beautiful eyes, and she must have aheart of gold.

    You’d better have one heck of a wedding, after all of this kerfuffle.

    Hey, great news that you might get some money back from that scam. Hurray

    Love and hugs to the 5 of you from Minx and me. 😊😺👵💕

    Liked by 3 people

    • I really do wish that I could make this stuff up Yvonne. Still it makes for great blog fodder. I must do a post about me being a drama queen. Thanks for the idea 😉
      Well a chance of getting something back from Western Union is better than no chance at all. I had written the money off anyway. I am keeping my fingers crossed that I hear something from them.
      Love and hugs to you and Minx. Ralph xox ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Wow, that was a long process to get a divorce license. I am glad that you finally got it. Looking forward to hear your next step now 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Wow….what long way to get divorce papers to prove you are single 😱 but it will be worth it when you and her say your vows 😊. Can’t wait to hear the rest.

    Liked by 3 people

    • It all seems to me to be unnecessary, but government departments set up games for us to play and we just have to go along with them or we can’t get married. As you say Kat, it will be worth it when the big day comes. Hugs. Ralph xox ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    • How wonderful to read your lovely comment Gallivanta. We just cannot wait to get married. Look after yourself. Ralph xox ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Ralph – I wish 2018 will bring much more joy, new adventures, and health. wow – your story should be created for a movie!!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you so much for your great comment Mihran. Yes, it is a good idea for a movie. I wonder who would play me ? Arnold Schwarzenegger perhaps ? lol. Take care my friend. Ralph 🙂

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  13. i am so sorry you are having to go through all of this. it is as if the government wanted to give you a crazy and grueling scavenger hunt as a test to see if you should be married. if you both survive and are still in love, after all the craziness, they will agree to marry you. here’s to 2018 being a little less grueling/exciting.

    Liked by 3 people

    • What was your comment doing lurking in my dashboard spam, Beth ? Too much New Year’s cheer I suppose ! You are spot on with the scavenger hunt analogy. It seems to us to be like that. Love your comment. Big hug Ralph xox ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    • Whoa ! Here comes the seventh cavalry ! Have you got a post about conquering government bureaucracy ……. European theatre, GP ? lol. Take care my friend. Ralph 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Paperwork is all there is for everything all the time. Never a dull moment. As it seems you are getting sorted though it is just so difficult to get there!. Just imagine once you are married no more problems, just bliss. And then you can really learn German and call Natascha” mein Schatz”. It will all work out and as the British do. have patience and drink tea! 2018 will be the best!

    Liked by 2 people

    • What we have been through must seem like peanuts to you dear Ute as you must go through piles of government bureaucracy on a daily basis. Poor you ! There should be no more problems once we are married except for Natascha changing her surname and me changing my pension from single to married. Then around and around we go again ! lol. Big hug. Ralph xox ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • One step at a time! Yes it took me a year, headaches and massive paperwork to become British and only now I am applying for my British passport. Then my journey is complete. So will yours be eventually, it will all work out in the end, it just takes time.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I knew it was difficult for you Ute, but I did not realise that it was that bad. Hope you get your passport soon ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  15. Gosh what a lot off hard work involved and going here and there. Hopefully you will both be able too put it all behind you and soon relax altogether as a loving family you all are. I was wondering what happened to China cat and coo coo we miss them don’t think they will be pleased being left out off things.😸 Where oh where did Natascha get her cat trolley? I could do with one and just love Nataschas one. x😻💞🐾🐾🐾🐾🐾🐾

    Liked by 4 people

    • Yes Christine, it was a lot to do. Natascha is still translating my papers into German for the Registrar.
      Natascha bought the cat shopping trolley in a local store and has told me that she is not seen that style since. I expect Amazon would have something similar.
      Have a lovely Sunday. Ralph xox ❤

      Liked by 2 people

  16. You are having an amazing, challenging journey. I can sympathize with the language issues as sometimes I think I have deduced the meaning of a word in Spanish only to discover that I was impossibly, laughably wrong. And Spanish is so much closer to English than German. You are certainly getting a bureaucratic immersion. My best understanding of systems on both sides of the Mexico/U.S. border is “do NOT expect it to make sense or be quick or painless.” The surprising part of your story is that the British consulate actually admitted they made a mistake! Blessings on you and Natascha as you head into 2018 climbing the spiral staircases with the banner “Love Conquers All.” Natascha, I’m so happy that your migraines have decreased. Ralph is good medicine!
    Your wifi,
    Linda

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hello Linda. I am sorry that it has taken me so long to reply. Just can’t get my head around working on my laptop recently.
      I am sure that the Mexican bureaucracy is impossible having been through the Spanish system and now the Austrian.
      I was also amazed that the British Embassy admitted they had made a mistake, but it is good to know that there is sometimes humanity in the system.
      I hope your Sunday will be a good one my friend. Ralph xox ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    • I must agree with you Lou Fox. It never stops ! Mind you, it all makes great blog fodder. lol.
      Take care. Ralph xox ❤

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  17. I think, that you have had good practice in patience in Spain, Ralph 😀
    Paperwork here is not easy either, no matter what we wish to do.
    About marriage in another country, it is my experience from others, that this demand papers to approve, that you are not married at all, no matter if you have been married once. They wish to be sure, that you don’t have any obligations in another country, before they will allow you to marry.

    Wish all of you a new and wonderful year, Ralph.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I am still having to be patient Irene as Natascha is still translating my documents into German. Two papers to go. Yay !
      The oath that I made at the British Embassy is really the only proof that I am not married. As the Consul said, I could be married to a Mongolian horse trader. lol. I know I have been single for 25 years, so what I said is true.
      Have a lovely year yourself my friend. Ralph xox ❤

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      • Thank you, Ralph 🙂
        I think, you might be happy, that Natascha is allowed to translate your papers. In Germany my daughter needed to get this done professional.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I have already drafted a letter to the Registrar in case Natascha’s translation is not accepted. Anyone who understands German and English would see the similarity in the translation. Anyway the official language of the EU is English ! All my documents in English have been accepted by REAL Austrian government departments. The Consul told me that Registrars throughout Austria make up their own rules as they go along. Some just accept the British Embassy certificate and others go into realms of paperwork craziness. If the local registrar wants a professional translation (not mentioned on their website) then they can pay for it or I will write with all the details to the local MEP and probably a newspaper. Anyway, we are keeping our fingers crossed that Natascha’s translation is accepted. What she has done so far looks really professional ! 🙂

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  18. Ralph, I admire everything you went through to be with Natacha . You’ve made a life changing move that would be difficult for a much younger person, let alone someone older. I’m sorry you have to go through so much redtape just to marry. And I’m exceptionally happy that you will be reimbursed for the scam you got sucked into. Here’s to a better year! Happy 2018! ❤ xxx

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thank you so much again Debby for another wonderful comment. You mentioning red tape reminds me of the joke about the new bridge being held up by red tape. Duh !
      OMG I have just read your new post. I am going to comment now.
      Lots of love. Ralph xox ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Dealing with that paperwork is such a pain! I admire your patience and Natascha’s. At least you are moving closer and closer toward your goal of getting married. I think 2018 will be a good year for both of you. Good luck! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • It really is a pain, paperwork and government messing around with our lives, isn’t it Arlene ? Thank you so much for your lovely comment my friend and I hope 2018 will be a much better year for you. Hugs Ralph xox ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, it seems like they want more and more control over people. Here in California the state government is trying to figure out a way to tax people based on how many miles they drive. 😦

        You are welcome, Ralph. I hope so too. Take care. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much LB ! We are still wading through the paperwork, but will get there shortly we hope. Ralph xox ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  20. That sounds about right. In Germany it’s quite a Jazzkeller as well. Thinking how easily one can get married here in America was mind blowing!!! I hope now things will work out fast, for I can’t wait to see some wedding photos!!! 😊😊❤️

    Liked by 3 people

    • I really didn’t realise how stupid the EU lawmakers have become Simone until we started out on the process of getting married here in Austria. Logic and common sense seem to have gone out of the window. I know the US is much easier on getting married; go to Vegas, get drunk and wake up in the morning with a new wife. LOL.
      Take care and have a lovely week my friend. Ralph xox ❤

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  21. Stoopid Papurrs, Ralph, but you have come so far, that there must be an happy end 🙂 Glad to hear that all’s well with you, your bride and the kitties ❤ Pawkisses for a Happy and Healthy New Year to all of you 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 3 people

    • I agree with you Binky ! It’s stoopid ! Samantha pats Sonic on the head when cleaning him and pats me for more strokes if I stop. We will take her to the Registrar clerk to pat him on the head if he messes us about any more. lol.
      We hope that you and Granny are having a wonderful 2018.
      Lots of love. Ralph xox ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Wie geht es dir? (autocorrect hated that 🙂 ) I used to live in Germany and understand the terrors of learning another language as an adult but your immersion will do it! Watch lots of tv and try to speak as much as possible, even if you make tons of mistakes. (But then again you’ve been through this before in Spain, yes? You’re all experienced!)

    Where would we be without bureaucracy? Good luck with all that paperwork (my M and I went through that as well but not with language translations and a foreign government to deal with ). It will get done! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • lol. AutoCorrect can be fun Lynette ! I am using a voice/typing app here and I wonder what it produces when I read your German phrase. “By get S the ?”. Yep, thought so ! I am trying to learn German, but I have not yet reached the advanced level of my voice/typing app. lol.
      Thank you so much for your wonderful comment my friend. Ralph xox ❤

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    • lol. At least there are no zombies, destroyed factory locations and a brain dead storyline. Your comment is fun Lara. Big hug. Ralph xox ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Margit 🙂
      Thank you so much for visiting my blog and commenting on this post. Wonderful ! I really do not wish what we have been through on anyone and I do hope that if you do return to Germany things will be a lot easier. Ute, also German, (who commented above) has been through hell with the British system as she wishes to stay permanently in the UK.
      Take care. Hugs. Ralph xox ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you very much Ralph, time will tell what lies ahead and the consulates are never fun. Best wishes to you and smooth sailing.

        Liked by 2 people

  23. Hi Ralph, wow! Such a lot of commotion, the best things come to those who wait and everything happens for a reason springs to mind. You have got lots of years ahead of you yet, so there is plenty of time to get married, you will get there. You are both very brave to get married so quickly – I would take at least a couple of years to decided that, even if I was madly in love and may feel like it in a romantic sense, I don’t rush stuff like that!! You have the right to stay there anyway and you live together and that is a huge commitment in and of itself so just think how wonderful that is and how much you have already accomplished! xx

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yes Sandra, it was quite a commotion over quite a few days, but we are getting married no matter what the Registrar throws at us. I was thinking about what you said. Natascha and I have known each other for 10 months now, so our decision to get married was not that quick. Anyway, at my age one has to be quick ! lol. You never know, it may happen to you one day. One never knows what will come at you out of the blue. Actually, we are on the clock to get married as the certificate from the British Embassy lasts only a few months and if it runs out we will have to go through all this again. No way !
      I do hope that things are working out for you my friend. Hugs Ralph xox ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • 10 months, ahh, I did not know that – so over the 3 month honeymoon period as they say! Although I think when in love that feeling does not go away.

        I can see why you would be up against the clock in that case!

        I do love your determination and I love the fact you know what you want and go for it, whereas some guys never appreciate what they have and never take any action to get what they truly want – or they don’t know what it is that they really want! And I admire you for that! There was a guy I like, an asexual foreign guy, but he has no plans to come over here and does not know what he wants and I will not get married – I get a lot of foreign guys wanting marriage with me for a visa! My cousin has run a hotel for years (just left to finally got to pastures new), and a lot of the foreign guys who work there are married to women for a visa and 5 years later they will divorce their wife to stay in the UK! (Their wives don’t know this – oblivious, but I am smart and suss this out with guys interested in me, and she told this because she cares about me. She has a younger foreign boyfriend who lives with her in the UK for years and works at the hotel where she worked – she is about 11 years older but does not look it – but she will not marry him and does not need to have kids and she says if he wants the he is free to leave to be with another! Smart girl!

        Have you thought about renting your apartment out through an agent – so you can get a regular income each month?

        I personally don’t agree with marriage for me – I have been engaged in the past and in the past I was that type of person, but it’s not for me now! I like the romance and fairytale idea of it – but not the reality at all! My parents have been married 49 years this May.

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      • I am so sorry that it has taken me 11 days to reply to your very long and interesting comment Sandra. It is really nice to read about your experiences with foreign men and what they want from British women. Natascha and I want to get married for a variety of reasons, all positive and neither of us is looking for anything other than cementing our relationship. I do hope that things work out for you so that at the end of the day you will be happy. Ralph ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Ralph, I know you are a busy guy nowadays especially, I am really glad to hear that! I know you only have good intentions and I care about you my friend and your long-term welfare, and I really want you to both be super happy together forever. I have a foreign friend who has moved back to his country and he video chatted with my last night for the first time in months and even he was saying about the foreign guys who do this to get into the UK and USA, even though he is foreign. He was even proposed to by women in the past but as he did not love them and he is a respectful guy, he declined, even though his country is under threat – even more so nowadays! And there are not many guys who would do that.

        Liked by 1 person

  24. Dear friend Ralph,

    Wow – you are having quite the adventure. I just love your positive attitude – it is easier to laugh than to cry right?

    Sending lots of positive thoughts your way. Say hi to Natascha for me!

    Your pal across the pond,

    Nancy

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yes, quite an adventure ! A lot of the government things that we have to do are completely and totally unnecessary. I am sure that all these things to mess us about are to keep the civil servants in work and make their boring days seem important to them. I must take them a box of donuts to bribe them. lol.
      Thank you for your positive thoughts dear friend Nancy. Ralph xox ❤

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  25. So many updates and great news for the new year, Ralph. What a fiasco getting your marriage paperwork in order. I would have run out of patience. But you two did it and you’re on your way… soon, let’s keep out fingers crossed. Happy 2018. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you so much for your wonderful comment Diana. I really do wish that the paperwork was finished. Natascha is still translating my documents. We are going through all her work today to check for any mistakes and we will be going to the Registrar on Monday. Fingers crossed that all the documents will be accepted and that we can go ahead and be married.
      I do hope that 2018 is good to you so far my friend. Ralph xox ❤

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  26. So many things to deal with dear Ralph… But everything is worth it ❤
    I hope your are adjusting well to such a different culture (German is such a difficult language, but I am sure Natascha will help you with that the language gap issue). The city is beautiful. Very classic, such great architecture. I wish you many good things ahead in 2018 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • I must agree with you Amalia, it will all be worth it in the end. I am loving it here in Austria with Natascha and the cats and, yes, Graz is a lovely city.
      Have a lovely weekend dear friend. Ralph xox ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  27. Good luck with the Western Union rebate fingers crossed for you, that would be a nice wedding present!
    They say all the best things are worth waiting for. Hopefully now you are on your way.

    I hope you’re not missing the beautiful Spanish weather too much. Cuddling up indoors can be just as nice though.

    All my best, Charlotte

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you Charlotte for your great comment.

      I also am keeping my fingers crossed that WU does reimburse me. Nothing as yet.

      Natascha is still translating my docs into German and hopefully this Friday the Austrian Registrar clerk will accept the papers. Fingers crossed again !

      Spain is also cool, so cuddling at home is definitely the answer 🙂

      Take care my friend. Ralph xox ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  28. Ahhh the Yin Yang of life Ralph. The good and the bad always seem to work together and perseverance is most definitely the key. All the barriers blocking you and Natasha from your wedding will make it all the more special I’m sure.. Wow – amazing news if you can get some money back from Western Union – that would be a wonderful opportunity for you and Natasha. I can’t wait to hear your next part of the journey and you must be good for Natasha if her migraine’s have started to decrease! Have a wonderful week xxx

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you so much for your wonderful comment Wendy. All is good though I may have to see a doctor if my Ying & Yang problem keeps reoccurring 😜 🙂 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • Haha!! I can imagine the Doctor’s face when you tell him you have a ‘yin yang’ problem!! Great to hear that all is going well for you in Austria Ralph.. Love is such a blessing xx

        Liked by 1 person

      • I felt the whole fiasco, various trips to an office which should be open regardless whether consult or magistrate is on vacation or a break!
        Natascha and you will always have this as the most hilarious times (looking back, these silly adventures will seem so!)
        Best wishes and nearly congratulations are in order. Hugs to the nearly newlyweds!
        Hope the real headaches go away and only irritating (tiny) bumps in the road of married Life will come along. 💮 🌈 💐

        Liked by 1 person

      • You are really sweet Robin. Thank you so much for your lovely words 🙂 ❤

        Like

  29. The move to Austria and 2018 started with big challenges for you. I hope that all the bureaucracy and the paperwork don’t kill you. 😉 I hope that you and Natasha are not too groggy before the marriage and still have the power to put on the wedding rings 😉
    Seriously, I wish you from the bottom of my heart that everything will work out and that everything will be easier for you now. I’m curious how it goes on 🙂
    Sending my love to all of you ❤
    Julia

    Liked by 3 people

    • lol. I am sure that the paperwork will not kill us Julia. All the documents are now with the Registrar and we are still waiting for a response and a date to get married if all is approved. We have been waiting 10 days and counting. Oh boy !
      Thank you so much for your lovely words my friend.
      Hugs. Ralph xox ❤

      Like

  30. In addition to my comment: congratulations that you have been certified as a citizen of Graz 🙂
    Jetzt können wir bald auf Deutsch miteinander schreiben 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you Julia. It’s great to be certified. lol.
      You never know, I might be able to write to you in German one day. xox ❤

      Like

  31. Oh my dearest! I missed quite a few adventures of yours! I always thought that only mediterranean countries like Greece and Spain are plagued by bureaucracy and state surrealism… I have a theory: they force all these obstacles on us citizens for our own good. They want to make sure that we want something really bad so when we finally get it we appreciate it more! Their behavior increases our pleasure 😀
    By the way both of you and the cats look lovely and I loved your mini Christmas tree (previous post).
    Oh! Did you remove the “like” button? Couldn’t find it anymore 😀
    Lots of love, kisses and a big hug dear friends ❤ ❤ ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Your comment is really brilliant dear Pelly. Spot-on ! All the documents are with the Registrar and after many days they have still not come back to us with any information at all. So we are still on tenterhooks wondering if the papers are approved or not. If approved, we get a date to be married. My next post will go into more detail and show how expensive it’s all becoming before even a wedding date. Oh boy !
      My post Like button has always been there. I can see it now on my post. WP must have gone wonky again at your end. There has been a number of times I have liked posts, gone back and found my like had gone missing, but worked the second time.
      Thank you so much for your wonderful comment dear friend. I hope that all is well in your neck of the woods in Europe.
      Love and hugs. Ralph xox ❤

      Like

      • My pleasure.
        I had a human relations class in Grad school in the US with a chapter on “Bureaupathology”. Dr Cashman, the teacher argued that all bureaucracies eventually evolve in some kind of “bureaupathology”. He was right.
        Taïaut!

        Liked by 1 person

  32. Hi MFR, I think I’m commenting in the right box. The dates on these other boxes go clear up to June 2018. So if I’m too early and none of this has really happened yet, let me know. You’ve had a busy time trying to get married! Wow! It’s hard for the government to keep up with you, for sure. Glad to hear that Natascha is getting fewer headaches. Those are miserable and can definitely be brought on by emotional upheavals, at least in my case. I get them if I’m too dehydrated, too. Anyway, glad to hear that your year is going so well. I’m still busy in the community, not so much blogging recently, but I still think of you often and appreciate all your likes. 🙂 Hope to hear an update on the marriage saga soon. Good luck selling your beautiful place in Spain. It looks so lonely, but still so beautiful. You did a fabulous job on it. 🙂 Take care. Lots of love to you both. RVBFM xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, you are definitely commenting in the right box MVBFM ! I think you are a little confused with the dates as I am using European not the American system. No, you are not too early, I am the one who is late. A whole month ! I was not sure what was going on in my head as I could not blog for ages, not even answering comments. I think the move from Spain and the upset with all the marriage paperwork screwed me up a bit. I am feeling much better today, so here I am. Anyway, just one more legalisation from the UK and that should be it. We have been having a lot of snow here which is almost gone and is a lot warmer. On the other hand my apartment in the Spanish village as been taking a battering, the satellite dish being bent and the village was flooded. I hope you are all well and happy. Lots of love by friend. Ralph xox ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • Glad you are doing better, my friend. We are having a late rain here. I’m sitting outside at a mall waiting to have lunch with a friend, so it’s mild. 😍😍😍 Have a lovely Easter. Hi to your love. Wish you both the best. Xox RVBM

        Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Alana, my heroic friend ! Thank you so much for your wonderful comment. I am so happy that you are happy. Love Ralph xox ❤

      Like

  33. Oh, my what a confusing, (frustrating) time you guys are having! Don’t all of these bureaucrats have anything else to do besides give people a difficult time? lol
    Wishing you both (and all of the cats too) a speedy resolution to everything.
    Best wishes always,
    Amanda
    ❤ ❤ ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • I totally agree with you Amanda, bureaucrats are a total pain and power mad. We are still waiting for my papers to come back from the UK. This week I hope.
      I hope that you are having a better month my friend. Hugs. Ralph xox ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  34. Oh Ralph, I really feel the pain. In my country bureaucracy is hell as well, one of the reasons that made me leave. I hope you resolve your situation soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Valentina. After reading posts about the way Italy has a wonderful habit of screwing simple paperwork up and experiencing the brain frying Spanish system for myself, I thought Austria would be easy. In fact it was until we got into the hands of the Registrar here in Graz. We are still waiting for my papers to come back from the UK, hopefully stamped as legal and that should be it. Fingers crossed ! I do hope that America is a a lot easier for you my friend. Hugs. Ralph xox ❤

      Like

    • Hello AnnaLisa 🙂
      Thank you so much for visiting and making such a lovely comment. I am sorry that I did not reply straight away as I had to take a break from blogging. Well, I am back now and your comment is really appreciated.
      Hugs. Ralph xox ❤

      Like

  35. Wow! I’ve just been catching up with all the changes in your life, Ralph. I wish you and Natascha every happiness in your new life together. I’m sure your cats will all learn to get along together, too. 🙂 xx

    Liked by 1 person

  36. All my best for the really happy ending to your saga, Ralph. And oh what fun you have had along the way. All for good stories, yes? Hello to your lovely love and the “kitties”!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much Cheryl. That is really kind of you to say. I agree, all that has been going on with the paperwork makes good blog fodder, but in real life is really annoying. I have passed your “hello” on to everyone.
      Have a lovely week my friend. Ralph xox ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    • Spot on dear Kate. Heck, it just goes on and on and on and on. Every step costs as well. The Graz Registrar must run out of ideas eventually on how to ruin our preparation in getting married. Samantha will go round there and pat them on the head if there is more bureaucrazy nonsense from them.
      Big hug and thank you so much for your comment dear Kate. Ralph xox ❤

      Liked by 1 person

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