Several years ago Anna decided that it was possible to look for her other half and find him only before the age of sixty. But things turned out differently and she found her beloved only after she had turned sixty. Anna has moved to Spain to live with her husband, they travel the country together, they walk many miles every day and can’t imagine their life without each other.
— When you started learning Spanish, did you think that you would marry a Spaniard?
No. When I was learning Spanish, I often spent my vacations in Spain. My friends offered to find me a Spanish husband, but I refused, I told them that I came there to just relax. They said, ‘But you like Spain!’ I told them, ‘Yes, I do like Spain, but I don’t want to meet any men because I want to be alone.’
My first marriage lasted for almost 30 years, but I was disappointed in my husband from the very beginning, he was very rude. I started thinking that all men are rude to women. When I got the divorce, I lived alone for many years and said that I would never have the guts to get married again, I was fine living on my own and all men are the same. But time passed, I changed my mind and decided to look for my better half abroad.
— And that was when you got registered on TAU2…
I was mainly interested in the men from Spain because I could speak the language a bit. Also, I like Spain, I know some people living there with whom I keep in touch. That’s why I was looking for dating sites on the internet and I found TAU2. I visited other dating sites, but my intuition told me that at those sites many things are not quite serious. And TAU2 is different, I immediately had a gut feeling that this site is for me. Besides, you always have something new, some new offers. It’s obvious that the site is constantly being developed, it’s updated, not like one just gets registered and starts communicating with people.
I was a bit concerned about my age, I was 59. I thought that if I couldn’t find anyone for a serious relationship by the time I turned sixty, no marriage would be possible once I got older. Because there are a lot of men in their sixties and seventies who are looking for eighteen to twenty-five year old women. And I thought that if something did come out of it, then it would happen before I turned sixty. But I was wrong.
On TAU2 I communicated with a lot of men — with Americans, with Spaniards, but with my would-be husband it was different, things got serious.
When my would-be husband wrote to me on TAU2 for the first time, I immediately had a feeling that he was the one. I even decided for myself that if nothing came out of this relationship, then I would simply delete my profile on the site and would keep living on my own.
— So, he was the one to initiate the correspondence?
No, I was the first one to write to him. I looked at his photos, I liked him and I wrote to him just a couple of words in Spanish, ‘Hello, how are you?’. He replied and I liked him. He didn’t write anything personal, just asked about the weather. I realised that he was a serious person.
Then we started writing to each other. But it was hard to exchange just the postcards, they have only a few phrases. That’s why he immediately bought access to my e-mail address and we started writing each other emails and talking on Skype. And Skype is different, one can see the person one is talking to. I realised that this man had serious intentions, he wasn’t a flirt. It wasn’t just virtual love.
— And then you met in person…
Yes, he said that he wanted to visit me in the Ukraine. He said, ‘Let’s break the glass and start talking’, Spanish have this saying. And he came.
I was meeting him at the airport and it seemed that half an hour turned into an eternity. Because I was both curious and nervous. He said, ‘Let’s break the glass’, but for me it was the other way around, I withdrew into myself. It wasn’t that I didn’t like him, but still, he was a stranger and Spanish people have this custom of hugging and kissing right in the street. I felt awkward about it, we weren’t some twenty year old kids after all. And he didn’t understand why I was so distant. Then we took a train to another city and I booked a hotel for him near my place and he spent ten days there. Before he left, we went and booked a wedding—we had understood each other.
But there was nothing extraordinary. I’m more romantic by nature and expected more romantic dates, but he’s so straightforward, like all men, and says what he thinks. Well, that’s the way he is. All his life Jesus worked as a critic and now he’s retired, but keeps working as an advisor at a writers union.
— Your husband has an interesting name…
Yes, there even was a little incident because of it. Jesus said that he wanted to get married in church. So, I went to the church and asked whether it was possible for us to get married if I’m a Russian Orthodox Christian and he’s Roman Catholic. The young minister said that yes, it’s okay, since we’re both Christian. Then he asked for the groom’s name and got scared. He said he had to ring his superiors to make sure it was okay to have a groom called Jesus. But his superiors told him to calm down, there is indeed such a name.
We got married, had a ceremony in church and I had to wait for the interview with the ambassador. We were asked various questions to make sure that our marriage was a genuine one. The ambassador talked to each one of us separately, asked both of us about our hobbies, the names of relatives, who was present at the wedding.
— Do you like living in Spain?
The part of Spain we live in is called Costa Verde, the Green Coast. It’s a very beautiful place in the north of Spain, on the seashore. There’s no snow, flowers are blooming all year round. People are very courteous, with good manners. Everything is the way I always liked. The place is very clean, very tidy.
But there were also problems, even in our relationship. When I came here, Jesus said, ‘It’s all yours, feel free to use it, feel at home here’. That was what he said and that was it. The next morning I got up, went into the kitchen and he was already having breakfast. I couldn’t understand how he could do it like that. But he thought that it was enough if he told me once to feel at home. When we went to visit his daughter, it was just the same. Such things are normal to them, but it was difficult for me to accept it.
My husband does cooking and cleaning. I offer to help, but he says there’s no need. It was also difficult for me, I had thought that these things were my duties. I found this so strange that I felt upset, I thought he didn’t respect me. I had to change the way I thought about things. But now all is well. Everyone gets up whenever one feels like it, but we have breakfast and lunch together.
— What about the children and grandchildren, what kind of relationship do you and your husband have with them?
My daughter and my son-in-law like my husband. Back in the Ukraine they talked to him through an interpreter, that is, me. Jesus doesn’t know a word of Russian or Ukranian. I translated for him, my Spanish is okay, though, of course, there are things I don’t know but Jesus helps me and always tells me that I should ask more questions.
The relationship with his children is also good. He has a son and a daughter, his grandchildren and even his children treat me well, they hug and kiss me.
We don’t have much time to spend with our relatives because we travel a lot, I want to see the country. We drive and when we don’t drive, we walk. Every day we walk 14 or 15 kilometres. There are a lot of parks here, eucalyptuses and fir-trees—what can be better for health than sea, eucalyptuses and fir-trees?
People here are different, too. Back in the Ukraine, when one comes to a doctor, the doctor tells him to stay in bed. It’s the opposite here, when one gets sick, one has to walk more. Compared to the men from the Ukraine, and even compared to Spaniards, my husband is much stronger and healthier.
— What would you like to tell the women who would read this interview?
I’d like to tell them that when talking to men, don’t say to them that our economy is bad, there’s poverty in the country. Just tell them that you’re looking for your better half, that you want to be happy. Not for the material gains because Western men get scared. Tell them, ‘I’m looking for my love, I want to get married, but I’m not looking for any riches’. And it’s even better not to talk about such things at all.
I read a lot of books on psychology and I believe that things are not accidental. If one has a goal, one has to keep going, it’s necessary to have faith and everything will turn out well. I’m fully convinced that this is indeed true.
Anna was sure that after 60 marriage was not possible. But she met her husband Jesus after she had celebrated her 60th birthday. Now Anna and Jesus live in Spain and can’t imagine life without each other.