Csíkszereda Musings

My life in and around Csíkszereda, also known as Miercurea Ciuc.

Archive for November, 2005

March to December

Posted by Andy Hockley on 30 November, 2005

There are a bunch of soldiers marching around in the main square visible from my window. It seems they are rehearsing for Thursday. I’m not quite sure why they need to rehearse marching since it seems a fairly straightforward activity, but anyway, what do I know.

Tomorrow is, as you may know, December 1st. Unless you are Romanian or live here, you may not know that it is also the National Day of Romania. I mentioned it last year. Now recently, in the comments section of another post I wrote, someone called Albinel (near the end) commented that he could never vote for autonomy while people in this region didn’t celebrate December 1st. This struck me as odd, and I’ll attempt to explain why.

December 1st is the country’s national day. If it were merely that, then it should obviously be celebrated by everyone. But the reason it is Romania’s national day is that it celebrates the “unification of Romania” in 1918. Now the other side of that coin is that it is the day when Transylvania ceased to be part of Hungary. In effect, while it is a celebration of the creation of modern day Romania, it is also a celebration of the destruction of what used to be Hungary. So, as you might imagine, Hungarian Romanians are not that enthusiastic about celebrating it. In fact, it would be weird for them to celebrate it, and this has nothing to do with any lack of patriotism or anti-Romanian feeling. If the national day in Romania were timed at and billed as the celebration of the signing of the constitution for example, then it would truly be an inclusive celebration. If it were a day celebrating the overthrow of the Ceausescu regime, then once again, it would include all groups of the country. But celebrating the addition of Transylvania to Romania, while perfectly understandable as a Romanian celebration, is never likely to be a celebration for Hungarians.

I discovered today, to go on top of this, that there’s actually a law that you have to celebrate December the 1st. Which means that the government (or whichever government wrote that law) knows full well that it’s not very inclusive, and that people are going have to be coerced into feeling Romanian. It’s not a law that gets obeyed much, if my observations last year are anything to go by.

One final thing. Military parades. What’s that all about? Do people (I mean real, normal, regular people) get a kick out of military parades? Do people think to themselves, “Hmmm, there’s a military parade going on this afternoon, I mustn’t miss that.”? So who are they parading for? It’s either for the commanders who can feel good about how much mightiness they have at their disposal, or for the people that this army might be one day employed to subjugate. “Look,” they are saying in their curious goose-stepping body language, “don’t try anything people, or we will be forced to march on you.”

Now I don’t actually think that the army will be marching in downtown Csikszereda tomorrow just to make sure that the Szekelys don’t rise up, and that it’s more to do with half-arsed tradition, but it seems to me that someone could at least ponder this for a while, and wonder whether or not it might be seen as provocative in any way. In the meantime, I have to say that for a group of people who have more or less nothing to do except march, they’re remarkably bad at it. They’ve been practising all day and they still making mistakes.

But anyway, I hope all my Romanian readers have a good December 1st, and enjoy your nation’s birthday. You can have Csikszereda’s piece of cake.

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Posted in csikszereda, nationalism, romania, transylvania | 20 Comments »

March to December

Posted by Andy Hockley on 30 November, 2005

There are a bunch of soldiers marching around in the main square visible from my window. It seems they are rehearsing for Thursday. I’m not quite sure why they need to rehearse marching since it seems a fairly straightforward activity, but anyway, what do I know.

Tomorrow is, as you may know, December 1st. Unless you are Romanian or live here, you may not know that it is also the National Day of Romania. I mentioned it last year. Now recently, in the comments section of another post I wrote, someone called Albinel (near the end) commented that he could never vote for autonomy while people in this region didn’t celebrate December 1st. This struck me as odd, and I’ll attempt to explain why.

December 1st is the country’s national day. If it were merely that, then it should obviously be celebrated by everyone. But the reason it is Romania’s national day is that it celebrates the “unification of Romania” in 1918. Now the other side of that coin is that it is the day when Transylvania ceased to be part of Hungary. In effect, while it is a celebration of the creation of modern day Romania, it is also a celebration of the destruction of what used to be Hungary. So, as you might imagine, Hungarian Romanians are not that enthusiastic about celebrating it. In fact, it would be weird for them to celebrate it, and this has nothing to do with any lack of patriotism or anti-Romanian feeling. If the national day in Romania were timed at and billed as the celebration of the signing of the constitution for example, then it would truly be an inclusive celebration. If it were a day celebrating the overthrow of the Ceausescu regime, then once again, it would include all groups of the country. But celebrating the addition of Transylvania to Romania, while perfectly understandable as a Romanian celebration, is never likely to be a celebration for Hungarians.

I discovered today, to go on top of this, that there’s actually a law that you have to celebrate December the 1st. Which means that the government (or whichever government wrote that law) knows full well that it’s not very inclusive, and that people are going have to be coerced into feeling Romanian. It’s not a law that gets obeyed much, if my observations last year are anything to go by.

One final thing. Military parades. What’s that all about? Do people (I mean real, normal, regular people) get a kick out of military parades? Do people think to themselves, “Hmmm, there’s a military parade going on this afternoon, I mustn’t miss that.”? So who are they parading for? It’s either for the commanders who can feel good about how much mightiness they have at their disposal, or for the people that this army might be one day employed to subjugate. “Look,” they are saying in their curious goose-stepping body language, “don’t try anything people, or we will be forced to march on you.”

Now I don’t actually think that the army will be marching in downtown Csikszereda tomorrow just to make sure that the Szekelys don’t rise up, and that it’s more to do with half-arsed tradition, but it seems to me that someone could at least ponder this for a while, and wonder whether or not it might be seen as provocative in any way. In the meantime, I have to say that for a group of people who have more or less nothing to do except march, they’re remarkably bad at it. They’ve been practising all day and they still making mistakes.

But anyway, I hope all my Romanian readers have a good December 1st, and enjoy your nation’s birthday. You can have Csikszereda’s piece of cake.

Posted in csikszereda, nationalism, romania, transylvania | 20 Comments »

Wed Tape

Posted by Andy Hockley on 28 November, 2005

So, I’ve teased you (the reader) for a while with references to TB and chest X-rays, and I feel it is now time to come clean. It is, as you may have guessed, yet another example of my continuing adventures in Romanian bureaucracy (and British in this case).

Going back to the beginning, much of this started when I checked out the regulations regarding registering our upcoming daughter as a British citizen. It was then that I learned that under British law, a baby which is “illegitimate” is not entitled to be a British citizen, regardless of whether its father is British. Now, obviously my first reaction to this piece of news was to launch into a tirade of abuse at my own country’s government for being so bloody Victorian. I mean “illegitimate”? Come on. That word in the sense of the meaning “born out of wedlock” became obsolete years ago, surely. Do people really still refer to babies born to parents who are not legally wed as illegitimate in the real world? Why not just call them bastards and be done with it?

Anyway, once I got over my twenty first century rage at my nineteenth century government, we started thinking about what we needed to do to enshrine in law the various rights responsibilities and support for our family. One day in the not too distant future these rights and responsibilities will not need to be linked to a marriage certificate, but for now, at least in Romania, and seemingly in quaint old-fashioned Britain, they are. And so, we decided to go ahead and sign the necessary documents that give you the requisite legal status, or, as it’s often referred to, get married.

And so, obviously, we one again set out on an extended stroll through the dark forest that is the Romanian bureaucracy. In fact, initially, all seemed remarkably easy. We went to the city hall and they told us we needed was our birth certificates, proof that neither of us were already married to someone else, and a medical certificate. Three things. That was all. It seemed too good to be true. And, it was.

The birth certificate was relatively easy. It had to be translated into Romanian and the translation notarised, which as ever with notarising cost an inordinate amount of money, but generally speaking it was easy.

Next up was the hard part. Proving that I wasn’t married. Now, as you know, proving something doesn’t exist is much harder than proving something does exist. For Erika it was relatively easy, since she’s lived all her life in Romania, and she could at least produce a divorce certificate. For me, things were slightly more complex. I had visions of having to get sworn statements from everywhere I’ve ever lived saying that I hadn’t got hitched while in their jurisdiction. Getting one from the Federated States of Micronesia would have been particularly tricky, especially since marriage there was more or less merely a transaction involving the exchange of pigs, without any great legal mumbo jumbo. But it turned out all I needed to do was swear in front of the British consul in Bucharest. Sounded like exactly my kind of deal. Sadly, it wasn’t as fun as it sounds. (How cool would it have been to have to have found a way to be captured on film getting in his way and saying “bollocks”?) I travelled, then to Bucharest on the morning minibus (my first, and I hope last, experience of using this particular leg-compressing mode of transportation), showed up at the embassy, and filled in various pieces of paper protesting my singleness (or bachelorhood – once again I was taken aback by the archaic language promoted by the British Government and its representatives overseas. At one point I had to fill in a table with my and Erika’s information, one column of which was marital status. There I am looking for the “unmarried” option, or at a pinch “single”. But no. Here in the world of official documentation we are still using such words as “bachelor” and “spinster”). I then had to wait for the vice consul to show up and read in front of her a document which said that I was not married and over 18 and so on. Then we both signed it and she put this big official stamp on it and I was charged 4.5 million Lei, which seemed a bit steep. The remainder of this process involved them pinning the notice of my intention to marry outside the front gate of the embassy for 21 days in some kind of mediaeval style proclamation so that any of my other wives who happened to pass the building and glance at the noticeboard could then put a stop to my polygamy. Since I haven’t heard from them, I assume this didn’t happen.

At least once I got the train home, and therefore completed a 14 hour day for the sake of half an hour of quality time in an embassy waiting room, I felt it was all taken care of. So now all that was left was the medical certificate. I assumed that this would be a fairly simple procedure. This, however, is where the red tape really began to kick in. A visit to the relevant doctor was all that it took to shatter my illusions. On her door was the list of five items we would need to bring in order for her to sign off on our permission to marry. That’s five more pieces of paper each of us needed to get in order to get through this final hoop. I can’t even remember what half of them were now, but they were all ridiculous. I mean the proof that I wasn’t married already, I could at least see the point of, but why on earth would I need a chest X-Ray? Are people with TB prevented from marrying in Romania? Isn’t that a tad discriminatory? Is there a support group for tuberculosic singles? Can I even say “tuberculosic”?

Well, it was proved through the magic of radiography that I don’t have TB (Erika avoided that one on account of X-Rays being contraindicated during pregnancy – so women with TB can get round the state restrictions by getting pregnant before applying for the clearance), and by blood test that I don’t have syphilis or some other things (not HIV/AIDS apparently – not sure if that’s because the bureaucracy hasn’t yet caught up with the existence of such diseases or because HIV is not seen as a barrier to marriage in the same way that, say, TB is).

To cut a long story short, or slightly less long I suppose since I’ve already gone on a bit, we finally got the medical certificates, combined them with the other documentation and presented them at the City Hall. Once Erika’s clearance had come through (i.e. after no-one had commented on her name being similarly pinned on the wall of the city hall) we were free to go. And so we did. Though there was one final scare, five minutes before the wedding, when the woman filling in the forms suddenly hit a wall regarding the difference between my citizenship and nationality. Now, to me, there is no difference between the two. I have a UK passport and UK nationality. But here, it’s a huge deal. 90% of this town list their citizenship as Romanian but their nationality as Hungarian. So my attitude that they were the same baffled her. Eventually she offered up “English” as nationality, which I accepted in order to placate her.

My next adventure in red tape is likely to be getting the birth certificate sorted out. That sounds like one I’ll have to do fairly solo. I presume anyway – it certainly sounds like the kind of thing that fathers ought to take care of.

Posted in bureaucracy | 1 Comment »

Wed Tape

Posted by Andy Hockley on 28 November, 2005

So, I’ve teased you (the reader) for a while with references to TB and chest X-rays, and I feel it is now time to come clean. It is, as you may have guessed, yet another example of my continuing adventures in Romanian bureaucracy (and British in this case).

Going back to the beginning, much of this started when I checked out the regulations regarding registering our upcoming daughter as a British citizen. It was then that I learned that under British law, a baby which is “illegitimate” is not entitled to be a British citizen, regardless of whether its father is British. Now, obviously my first reaction to this piece of news was to launch into a tirade of abuse at my own country’s government for being so bloody Victorian. I mean “illegitimate”? Come on. That word in the sense of the meaning “born out of wedlock” became obsolete years ago, surely. Do people really still refer to babies born to parents who are not legally wed as illegitimate in the real world? Why not just call them bastards and be done with it?

Anyway, once I got over my twenty first century rage at my nineteenth century government, we started thinking about what we needed to do to enshrine in law the various rights responsibilities and support for our family. One day in the not too distant future these rights and responsibilities will not need to be linked to a marriage certificate, but for now, at least in Romania, and seemingly in quaint old-fashioned Britain, they are. And so, we decided to go ahead and sign the necessary documents that give you the requisite legal status, or, as it’s often referred to, get married.

And so, obviously, we one again set out on an extended stroll through the dark forest that is the Romanian bureaucracy. In fact, initially, all seemed remarkably easy. We went to the city hall and they told us we needed was our birth certificates, proof that neither of us were already married to someone else, and a medical certificate. Three things. That was all. It seemed too good to be true. And, it was.

The birth certificate was relatively easy. It had to be translated into Romanian and the translation notarised, which as ever with notarising cost an inordinate amount of money, but generally speaking it was easy.

Next up was the hard part. Proving that I wasn’t married. Now, as you know, proving something doesn’t exist is much harder than proving something does exist. For Erika it was relatively easy, since she’s lived all her life in Romania, and she could at least produce a divorce certificate. For me, things were slightly more complex. I had visions of having to get sworn statements from everywhere I’ve ever lived saying that I hadn’t got hitched while in their jurisdiction. Getting one from the Federated States of Micronesia would have been particularly tricky, especially since marriage there was more or less merely a transaction involving the exchange of pigs, without any great legal mumbo jumbo. But it turned out all I needed to do was swear in front of the British consul in Bucharest. Sounded like exactly my kind of deal. Sadly, it wasn’t as fun as it sounds. (How cool would it have been to have to have found a way to be captured on film getting in his way and saying “bollocks”?) I travelled, then to Bucharest on the morning minibus (my first, and I hope last, experience of using this particular leg-compressing mode of transportation), showed up at the embassy, and filled in various pieces of paper protesting my singleness (or bachelorhood – once again I was taken aback by the archaic language promoted by the British Government and its representatives overseas. At one point I had to fill in a table with my and Erika’s information, one column of which was marital status. There I am looking for the “unmarried” option, or at a pinch “single”. But no. Here in the world of official documentation we are still using such words as “bachelor” and “spinster”). I then had to wait for the vice consul to show up and read in front of her a document which said that I was not married and over 18 and so on. Then we both signed it and she put this big official stamp on it and I was charged 4.5 million Lei, which seemed a bit steep. The remainder of this process involved them pinning the notice of my intention to marry outside the front gate of the embassy for 21 days in some kind of mediaeval style proclamation so that any of my other wives who happened to pass the building and glance at the noticeboard could then put a stop to my polygamy. Since I haven’t heard from them, I assume this didn’t happen.

At least once I got the train home, and therefore completed a 14 hour day for the sake of half an hour of quality time in an embassy waiting room, I felt it was all taken care of. So now all that was left was the medical certificate. I assumed that this would be a fairly simple procedure. This, however, is where the red tape really began to kick in. A visit to the relevant doctor was all that it took to shatter my illusions. On her door was the list of five items we would need to bring in order for her to sign off on our permission to marry. That’s five more pieces of paper each of us needed to get in order to get through this final hoop. I can’t even remember what half of them were now, but they were all ridiculous. I mean the proof that I wasn’t married already, I could at least see the point of, but why on earth would I need a chest X-Ray? Are people with TB prevented from marrying in Romania? Isn’t that a tad discriminatory? Is there a support group for tuberculosic singles? Can I even say “tuberculosic”?

Well, it was proved through the magic of radiography that I don’t have TB (Erika avoided that one on account of X-Rays being contraindicated during pregnancy – so women with TB can get round the state restrictions by getting pregnant before applying for the clearance), and by blood test that I don’t have syphilis or some other things (not HIV/AIDS apparently – not sure if that’s because the bureaucracy hasn’t yet caught up with the existence of such diseases or because HIV is not seen as a barrier to marriage in the same way that, say, TB is).

To cut a long story short, or slightly less long I suppose since I’ve already gone on a bit, we finally got the medical certificates, combined them with the other documentation and presented them at the City Hall. Once Erika’s clearance had come through (i.e. after no-one had commented on her name being similarly pinned on the wall of the city hall) we were free to go. And so we did. Though there was one final scare, five minutes before the wedding, when the woman filling in the forms suddenly hit a wall regarding the difference between my citizenship and nationality. Now, to me, there is no difference between the two. I have a UK passport and UK nationality. But here, it’s a huge deal. 90% of this town list their citizenship as Romanian but their nationality as Hungarian. So my attitude that they were the same baffled her. Eventually she offered up “English” as nationality, which I accepted in order to placate her.

My next adventure in red tape is likely to be getting the birth certificate sorted out. That sounds like one I’ll have to do fairly solo. I presume anyway – it certainly sounds like the kind of thing that fathers ought to take care of.

Posted in bureaucracy | 1 Comment »

Announcement

Posted by Andy Hockley on 27 November, 2005

Mr Andrew Hockley and Ms Kocsis Erika would like to announce the wedding of themselves to each other.

On Friday November 25th, 2005 at 11am Mr Andrew Hockley and Ms Kocsis Erika were married in a civil ceremony held in Csikszereda City Hall. After a special breakfast of poached eggs served on individual cakes of bubble and squeak and topped with a white wine mustard sauce, cooked by the groom, the couple disported to the wedding venue. The bride wore a fetching pair of dark pinstriped maternity trousers and a peasant blouse made of the finest hessian, while the groom wore what he always wears at any vaguely dressy occasion viz the only nice shoes, trousers, shirt, jacket and tie that he owns.

The formalities were conducted by an unfriendly civil servant resplendent in Romanian red, yellow and blue sash. The ceremony was conducted in Hungarian with English interpretation provided by Elvira, friend and colleague of the bride. Since the groom does not have TB, syphilis, or any other wives*, the Romanian state is apparently very supportive of us and is happy to bless our union. The wedding took place in a large room in the city hall, especially reserved for such affairs, and had a backdrop of a badly designed triptych highlighting the famous sights of the city, poorly superimposed on a cobblestone background. Music, “The Wedding March”, came from a boombox in the corner.

After the wedding the bride and groom took their two witnesses to lunch at which the marriage was toasted with Stella Artois N.A. The groom was heard to remark that he’d never imagined drinking non-alcoholic beer on his wedding day. Later, the bride’s father arrived and the marriage was yet again toasted, this time however in copious amounts of palinka.

The bride and groom are honeymooning in their apartment.

Friends and family of the bride and groom who were not invited and feel in any way slighted should note that the decision to get married only happened a couple of weeks in advance, and the date for the wedding was set one week prior to the event. Participation was also limited by the bride’s insistence that she is not fit to bake and prepare anything elaborate, as well as feeling like the size of her belly detracts in some way from her beauty. The groom would like it be known that this is not true.

Global receptions in honour of this event will be held in various locations during 2006 to which you will be invited. For now, however, feel free to toast this happy occasion.

(*Please see Wed Tapefor details)

Photos of this joyous occasion can be found here.

Posted in csikszereda, personal, pictures | 13 Comments »

Announcement

Posted by Andy Hockley on 27 November, 2005

Mr Andrew Hockley and Ms Kocsis Erika would like to announce the wedding of themselves to each other.

On Friday November 25th, 2005 at 11am Mr Andrew Hockley and Ms Kocsis Erika were married in a civil ceremony held in Csikszereda City Hall. After a special breakfast of poached eggs served on individual cakes of bubble and squeak and topped with a white wine mustard sauce, cooked by the groom, the couple disported to the wedding venue. The bride wore a fetching pair of dark pinstriped maternity trousers and a peasant blouse made of the finest hessian, while the groom wore what he always wears at any vaguely dressy occasion viz the only nice shoes, trousers, shirt, jacket and tie that he owns.

The formalities were conducted by an unfriendly civil servant resplendent in Romanian red, yellow and blue sash. The ceremony was conducted in Hungarian with English interpretation provided by Elvira, friend and colleague of the bride. Since the groom does not have TB, syphilis, or any other wives*, the Romanian state is apparently very supportive of us and is happy to bless our union. The wedding took place in a large room in the city hall, especially reserved for such affairs, and had a backdrop of a badly designed triptych highlighting the famous sights of the city, poorly superimposed on a cobblestone background. Music, “The Wedding March”, came from a boombox in the corner.

After the wedding the bride and groom took their two witnesses to lunch at which the marriage was toasted with Stella Artois N.A. The groom was heard to remark that he’d never imagined drinking non-alcoholic beer on his wedding day. Later, the bride’s father arrived and the marriage was yet again toasted, this time however in copious amounts of palinka.

The bride and groom are honeymooning in their apartment.

Friends and family of the bride and groom who were not invited and feel in any way slighted should note that the decision to get married only happened a couple of weeks in advance, and the date for the wedding was set one week prior to the event. Participation was also limited by the bride’s insistence that she is not fit to bake and prepare anything elaborate, as well as feeling like the size of her belly detracts in some way from her beauty. The groom would like it be known that this is not true.

Global receptions in honour of this event will be held in various locations during 2006 to which you will be invited. For now, however, feel free to toast this happy occasion.

(*Please see Wed Tapefor details)

Photos of this joyous occasion can be found here.

Posted in csikszereda, personal, pictures | 13 Comments »

Name Game

Posted by Andy Hockley on 24 November, 2005

Time marches on and we really have to come up with a name for our daughter before long, or otherwise she’ll be here and we’ll just have to call her “girl” or something. My family had a cat for a long time which was called “cat” so I have some previous for this one.

So, we’ve whittled down the choices to a few. We first went through a book of acceptable Hungarian names (including such old style Magyar names as Dzsenifö. That may not have been the exact spelling but it was something like that. Those who have no idea what that might sound like need to think of the first name of US Hispano star Ms Lopez, who for a while went by J Lo. No doubt there are Hungarian spellings of lots of names of current stars of MTV. Mödanö? Britni? Kajli?). Then I eliminated the names which while acceptable in Hungarian are actually only used for old women in the UK. Agnes for example (sorry, Agnes). While Erika eliminated the names which I had chosen which were unacceptable for other reasons. Elena for example, which I had forgotten was also the name of Mrs. Ceausescu.

So we are left with the following possibilities, some or all of which may end up being appended to the kicsi bobo when she pops out. Paula (pronounced in the Hungarian/Italian way, rather than the English Paul-with-an-a-on-the-end). Beata. Ana. Reka. Mia (the problem with this last one, while we both like it, it’s sounds a bit like a kind of a rude “village” way of saying “excuse me would you mind awfully repeating that my good man?”)

Who knows? Frankly it’s a huge responsibility which at the same time is meaningless. I mean obviously I’d never have considered naming my biological child “Bogi”, but it fits her like a glove, and now that word only has one connotation in my mind, and it’s her.

So there we go. We’ll come up with a name somehow, sometime. And anyway, she could still of course be a boy, which would render all this talk meaningless. (Most of what’s on here is meaningless to be honest).

Big day tomorrow. I’ll let you know why afterwards.

Oh and happy thanksgiving to all my US American readers. Yes, there are some, really.

Posted in paula | 2 Comments »

Name Game

Posted by Andy Hockley on 24 November, 2005

Time marches on and we really have to come up with a name for our daughter before long, or otherwise she’ll be here and we’ll just have to call her “girl” or something. My family had a cat for a long time which was called “cat” so I have some previous for this one.

So, we’ve whittled down the choices to a few. We first went through a book of acceptable Hungarian names (including such old style Magyar names as Dzsenifö. That may not have been the exact spelling but it was something like that. Those who have no idea what that might sound like need to think of the first name of US Hispano star Ms Lopez, who for a while went by J Lo. No doubt there are Hungarian spellings of lots of names of current stars of MTV. Mödanö? Britni? Kajli?). Then I eliminated the names which while acceptable in Hungarian are actually only used for old women in the UK. Agnes for example (sorry, Agnes). While Erika eliminated the names which I had chosen which were unacceptable for other reasons. Elena for example, which I had forgotten was also the name of Mrs. Ceausescu.

So we are left with the following possibilities, some or all of which may end up being appended to the kicsi bobo when she pops out. Paula (pronounced in the Hungarian/Italian way, rather than the English Paul-with-an-a-on-the-end). Beata. Ana. Reka. Mia (the problem with this last one, while we both like it, it’s sounds a bit like a kind of a rude “village” way of saying “excuse me would you mind awfully repeating that my good man?”)

Who knows? Frankly it’s a huge responsibility which at the same time is meaningless. I mean obviously I’d never have considered naming my biological child “Bogi”, but it fits her like a glove, and now that word only has one connotation in my mind, and it’s her.

So there we go. We’ll come up with a name somehow, sometime. And anyway, she could still of course be a boy, which would render all this talk meaningless. (Most of what’s on here is meaningless to be honest).

Big day tomorrow. I’ll let you know why afterwards.

Oh and happy thanksgiving to all my US American readers. Yes, there are some, really.

Posted in paula | 2 Comments »

Brainwashing

Posted by Andy Hockley on 21 November, 2005

Somehow, by force of personality perhaps, I have converted Bogi to football. I suspect this is the kind of stepfatherly bequest that she may end up needing therapy to get over. Over the last few weeks she has started finding football matches on TV and inviting me to watch them with her. Since there is practically always a football match on TV in Romania at any one time this is not hard to do. However, by helping her with her selectivity we have focussed our attention on the Spanish Primera Liga mostly, while typically avoiding the Romanian league (though we do do internationals too).

Her favourite player is Ronaldinho, so we watch every Barcelona game. He is a good player to be into, partly because he’s bloody brilliant, partly because he is easy to recognise from a distance, and partly because he sees a lot of the ball so her interest doesn’t wane. Yesterday, while we were watching Celta Vigo vs Atletico Madrid (we were both supporting Celta, though sometimes we choose opposing teams just to spice things up), she started asking whether the team would get an “eleven”. I thought she was talking about the number of players on the team, but then finally worked out (with Erika’s help) that an eleven in Hungarian is a penalty. She also started telling me the rules – at one point someone got booked and when he saw the yellow card she excitedly told me in her Hunglish: “The red card is very very rossz” (bad). I was forced to agree. A little later she even told me that “two yellow card is making red”. I have no idea where she gets it all from – school I suppose – but it’s great. Trying to explain the offside rule to a six year old though is a challenge, especially when you have to relate to each other in pidgin versions of each other’s language.

Also (and this is definitely classifiable as child abuse) she has got into helping me follow Sheffield Wednesday via the Internet, constantly checking and rechecking the scoreline on one of the websites dedicated to that purpose. The other day a couple of weeks ago, we (Wednesday) were playing Cardiff and she was insisted when she went to bed that the first thing I did in the morning would be to tell her the final score. Sadly we were hammered, so I waited until later in the day so as not to shatter her day in the way my evening had been shattered, as so many before it. Fortunately she is not quite yet so obsessive to actually remember when she wakes up that she wanted to know the score (or even to be bothered for more than 10 seconds). I’ll give her about two more months.

Posted in football | 5 Comments »

Brainwashing

Posted by Andy Hockley on 21 November, 2005

Somehow, by force of personality perhaps, I have converted Bogi to football. I suspect this is the kind of stepfatherly bequest that she may end up needing therapy to get over. Over the last few weeks she has started finding football matches on TV and inviting me to watch them with her. Since there is practically always a football match on TV in Romania at any one time this is not hard to do. However, by helping her with her selectivity we have focussed our attention on the Spanish Primera Liga mostly, while typically avoiding the Romanian league (though we do do internationals too).

Her favourite player is Ronaldinho, so we watch every Barcelona game. He is a good player to be into, partly because he’s bloody brilliant, partly because he is easy to recognise from a distance, and partly because he sees a lot of the ball so her interest doesn’t wane. Yesterday, while we were watching Celta Vigo vs Atletico Madrid (we were both supporting Celta, though sometimes we choose opposing teams just to spice things up), she started asking whether the team would get an “eleven”. I thought she was talking about the number of players on the team, but then finally worked out (with Erika’s help) that an eleven in Hungarian is a penalty. She also started telling me the rules – at one point someone got booked and when he saw the yellow card she excitedly told me in her Hunglish: “The red card is very very rossz” (bad). I was forced to agree. A little later she even told me that “two yellow card is making red”. I have no idea where she gets it all from – school I suppose – but it’s great. Trying to explain the offside rule to a six year old though is a challenge, especially when you have to relate to each other in pidgin versions of each other’s language.

Also (and this is definitely classifiable as child abuse) she has got into helping me follow Sheffield Wednesday via the Internet, constantly checking and rechecking the scoreline on one of the websites dedicated to that purpose. The other day a couple of weeks ago, we (Wednesday) were playing Cardiff and she was insisted when she went to bed that the first thing I did in the morning would be to tell her the final score. Sadly we were hammered, so I waited until later in the day so as not to shatter her day in the way my evening had been shattered, as so many before it. Fortunately she is not quite yet so obsessive to actually remember when she wakes up that she wanted to know the score (or even to be bothered for more than 10 seconds). I’ll give her about two more months.

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