Corina and Toby Ovod-Everett's FAQ

So what's the Everett Family connection with Moldova?

In 1987, Reagan and Gorbachev agreed to start the first school exchanges between the US and the Soviet Union where students would stay with families in the USSR. One of the selected schools was East High in Anchorage, and it exchanged students with one in Chisinau, Moldova, which was at the time a Soviet Republic.

In 1991, my mother (Carol) started teaching at East High. The Russian teacher was pregnant and was looking for someone to be the chaperone, so Carol volunteered. My sister (Kathryn) wasn't going to East, but she was studying Russian at the time, so she ended up going along. The Soviets visited the US first, and Rodica Cebanu stayed with my family for a month before my mother and sister went to Moldova to stay with her family. Kathryn end up staying for a number of months past the end of the program, Rodica ended up spending a year living with us in Alaska and attending school, and thus was born a close relationship between my mother and sister and Moldova. Whenever they could, they'd return - for a week, a fortnight, or a month, or even longer.

In May 2000, I succumbed to their entreaties. I flew with my sister to Bucharest, where we met up with Rodica and her fiance, Ioan. We took the train to Chisinau, I met tons of friends, ate wonderful food, delicious fruit, and copious quantities of exquisite wine. Not to mention numerous gorgeous and well-dressed young women walking down the street. I was hooked.

In October 2000, Kathryn returned to be Rodica's maid of honor. When she returned to the US, she put together a wonderful web page describing the wedding.

I returned again in August 2001 to meet up with my family and spent a week in Moldova followed by five days in Istanbul.

So how did you and Corina meet?

When my sister first met Corina at the wedding in October 2000, she decided Corina was a definite possibility as a match for me. Unfortunately, Corina was dating someone at the time. Kathryn was hopeful I'd run into her when I was in Moldova in August of 2001, but Corina was in the US at the time doing an internship in Iowa. When Corina returned from that trip, my sister spoke to Rodica and the two of them started trying to set up a match. We were both unattached at the time, and rather than risk the two of us finding someone else, Rodica and Kathryn started working on us separately. Both of us resisted, but after repeated and persistent pleas, I agreed that I would write back if written to. Armed with that, Rodica convinced Corina to write in late November (2001). Lo and behold, we soon discovered that Rodica and Kathryn were right.

What happened next?

I've lived in Alaska since I was two and a half. I love Moldova, but the odds are slim I will ever live there for an extended period of time. I felt guilty about this, since I was asking Corina to consider something I wasn't considering (namely leaving one's homeland to live somewhere else). At the same time, I figured it was utterly insane to risk falling in love with someone (and to risk them falling in love with me) without their first having experienced Alaska in the Winter. With that in mind, Corina bravely came to visit me in February 2002. We quickly discovered that we liked each other in person at least as much as we did in e-mail and over the phone. Soon after she left to return to Moldova, I contacted an immigration attorney.

I discovered that things would be nowhere near as simple as we had hoped. The appropriate (and safest) thing to do would be for me to petition for permission for Corina to apply for a K-1 (fiancee) Visa. By April we had the petition filed, but it would be 5 more months before we had an answer. In May, I flew to Moldova to spend two weeks with Corina and her family (including the all-important meeting the parents). We had a wonderful time, but at the end I had to fly back to the US and we returned to waiting. It wasn't until October 18th that Corina was able to join me in the US. At that point, we had 90 days to either get married or have Corina return to Moldova. On November 27th, 2002 we had a small legal ceremony with Judge Peter Michalski presiding.

What about the big wedding?

We knew from the beginning that we wanted to do the big wedding in Moldova - after all, the food is better, the fruit is better, the wine is better, the music is better, and so forth (and if you don't believe me, go see the web site I mentioned above that Kathryn did for Rodica's wedding). In addition, my family and friends could more easily afford airfare, and it's fairly easy for an American to get a visa to enter Moldova ($60 at the airport). The reverse was not true, and it seemed incredibly inconsiderate to spirit Corina away to Alaska without even saying thank you properly (and what is a wedding if not a way of saying thank you to an entire community).

The big wedding was on June 14th, 2003, but as for more description, you'll have to wait until we get a page up for that!

How is Corina handling Alaska?

I'll let Corina answer this one:)

Alaska has been really friendly to me so far. Nice winter. Confounding the predictions, I didn't get SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) from the relative absence of light. Instead, I learned to ski, I learned to drive on icy roads, and I finally found a job! Summer's been a wonderful experience as well. I first started hiking with my father when I was a child, so I can hardly wait to show him the Chugach Mountains. I love my new family and it's great to be able to say that I've got two homes now.

July 12, 2003 19:29 /, Return to our homepage.