Well the Visa Conundrum is resolved. The agent at the visa processing company said "Just disclose the last two" for both colleges and countries visited. The fact that I have quite a few more than two, as evidenced by a nearly full passport, appears not to be my problem. So I'll let the red tape folks reconcile all that. So now I'm just waiting for the next pay day to write the check and send that off. Visa - check.
And at my new job, I've befriended a really friendly Russian guy, who, now that he's found out I'm going to Russia, peppers me with questions. At first he called me "brave woman" for going alone, then I explained to him that I've traveled in Europe quite a bit on my own, so he admits that traveling in Russia is no big deal.
But what he said that did give me pause was about the visa. I told him that I was asked and was answering questions I didn't even have to answer when I applied for my US Passport. He just gave me a look and said "that's because we want to know if you are a spy." Well seriously, if I was a spy, do you think I'd answer any of those questions affirmatively if I thought it would trigger a big red flag in the Russian embassy? But just that he thinks that that's the purpose of the questions...you know, makes me wonder.
In other news, I've momentarily put my reading for Russia on hold since I've had Nelson Demille's latest burning up my bookshelf, screaming to be read. I figure I can breeze through this and be back at my required reading by the 4th of July.
Lastly, for those of you who want to see what I'm up against actually learning Russian, check this out. Sure, it seems all pretty basic, but on the fly, when it counts, it's turning out to be not so cut and dry. And honestly, a bit frustrating for this Type A personality. But I'm still at it.