Elina Maasch of Vesta didn’t grow up in Minnesota. She wasn’t even born in the USA.
She’s originally from Dnepropetrovsk in the Ukraine, where she spoke German and played pro volleyball with her aunt for a couple of years.
Later, Elina was an interpreter at an intermingle agency when she met Jeff Maasch who is from Vesta.
Jeff had visited the Ukraine on a group trip in 2008, where he said he was mistaken for a wanted criminal and spent 12 hours in jail.
According to Elina, she was one of the in-terpreters who served to help prospective dates communicate with each other.
She had an edge over all the other young women, because she could talk directly with their counterparts.
“I was working nights, typing, when I met Jeff,” she said. “We chatted online before he came to see me. We got along right away.
“He was kind of scared to come by himself, but my agency took him to a nice hotel and set up a romantic first date. I was so nervous. He brought a bunch of roses.”
After that, Jeff went over to the Ukraine a few more times, including a two-day trip on a weekend he had to be back to drive in a race.
This seemed to amaze Elina, because the flight was 15 hours each way. She found out his friends thought he was either crazy or in love. Beginning with the first trip, Jeff had spent time with Elina’s three children, Olivia (now 16), Emily (14) and Emmanuel (11).
The way Jeff reacted to her children is one of the main reasons she decided to come to America.
“I wasn’t just looking for a husband,” she said. “I was looking for a father for my children.
“He was the only one who didn’t back off because of them. He said, ‘Not a problem. Kids are good.’”
Pictures from their photo album showed Jeff playing arcade games with them, proving his words to be true.
With each trip Jeff made, the couple was able to spend a few days in some exotic location. The couple stayed at the Barthelo-mia Hotel in October 2008. In May of 2009, they visited Odessa.
In August 2009, they were in Kiev. For New Year’s Eve 2009, they even visited Egypt.
“They celebrate new year’s more and Christ-mas less over there,” Elina explained sharing how the buffet was approached in a less orderly fashion there than in the States. So two waiters simply served them whatever they wanted.
In between trips, Elina said they spent talking or skyping an average of eight hours a day. Apparently, Jeff left the computer in his shop on, so Elina could watch him work on metal fabrication or on his race cars.
Page 2 of 2 - Jeff stated once she came to America, they had 90 days to get married or she would have to go back to the Ukraine.
The couple got married at St. John Luth-eran Church in Vesta Feb. 7, 2010.
Elina said her in-laws, Jerry and Carole Maasch, have been very helpful to her and her children.
Jeff recently teased his wife about not liking him racing so much – something she would like to address.
“When I first came over, I didn’t know how to drive. He was gone a lot racing, and I didn’t like going all the time but I didn’t like to be stuck at home, either,” Elina admitted. “I am proud of his racing, and want him to continue doing it because he loves it so.”
That doesn’t change the fact racing isn’t quite as high on her list as it is on his.
“One day, we were in the pit, and there were a lot of cars there be-cause it was a special event,” Elina shared. “Jeff looked at me and said, ‘This is my heaven.’ I told him, ‘It might be yours, but it isn’t mine.’”
Elina has found shopping frustratingly different than in Russia and communication with others baffling when she first arrived.
She has discovered it to be peaceful here in rural Minnesota, but would like to visit the Twin Cities more often, and to wear dressier clothes than blue jeans all the time.
“I have forgotten what it’s like to wear dresses and heels,” she said. “I want to go someplace and wear something beautiful.”
Eventually, she would like to become an interpreter again.
“I want to be an interpreter to see the fruit of my work. It would make me feel so good,” Elina concluded, “and I like being my own boss.”