From Russia, With Love
I met a penpal online last year. His name was Sergey and he lived in Russia, in Cheboksary City, about 750 km east of Moscow. He was in his early 30's, I was in my late 30's. We it it off right away. He talked about his country and questioned me about mine. He spoke of his parent's recent divorce and how distant he felt from his father and that side of his family. I helped him by telling him about my parents and my family.
We had a lot in common-- we liked the same movies, the same TV shows, etc. He had never visited another country and looked forward to being able to travel some day. We exchanged e-mails for months and I felt like I really got to know him.
Then he asked if he could come visit me. Of course, I said yes. I looked forward to showing him a world that he could only imagine. We talked about dates that would work for both of us and it was finally decided that he would be able to come to America and could stay with me for 6 months. I thought that was a little extensive, but I looked forward to meeting him, since I felt that I knew him already. Then he wrote back, saying that he couldn't afford the plane ticket and wanted to know if I could help him pay for it. I agreed to pay half. Then he wrote back saying that he would need financial help to purchase a passport. The red flags went up and I had a strong feeling that I was being used. I wrote back and told him that since I already had a passport, it would be easier for me to visit him if he could pay for half of my plane ticket. I never heard from him again.
I would like to think that Sergey was a poor, naive Russian boy that couldn't afford to help me buy a ticket, but really wanted to meet me. But in reality, I'm sure he was good old American scum, with a knack for writting broken English-- pulling a scam in hopes that I would mail him a check or give him my credit card info.
It was fun while it lasted, Sergey. I'm sure you've moved on to another victim or two since then. It's too bad you weren't for real, because I was really falling for the character that you played.