Csíkszereda Musings

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

Archive for December, 2006

The hour approaches

Posted by Andy Hockley on 30 December, 2006

The following have recently (I mean in the last couple of days) appeared in the main square, finally. I wondered if anyone would ever make any kind of reference to the imminent accession, and it seems that now Christmas is out of the way, that people are starting to at least acknowledge that January 1st is just around the corner.


This one’s outside the Culture House, nicely symmetrical in its bilingualism.

The next two are directly opposite outside the county council building (known locally as “The White House”)

As you can see they show the happy European family welcoming Romania into their midst. At least I assume it’s Romania. In fact the “blue” of the flag is so dark as to be effectively black, occasioning me to actually wonder for a while about the logic of giving people the opportunity to be Belgian. I mean they must be blue, but it’s really really hard to tell.

The lampposts have all received the following decoration:
That white flag, in case you were wondering is the local one. I think it’s the flag of Csikszereda, but it could conceivably be the flag of Haromszek, the old Hungarian county in which Csikszereda was.

And finally a signpost pointing west to our new home (seen from both sides so you can see there’s no language bias)

Posted in csikszereda, EU, romania | 5 Comments »

The hour approaches

Posted by Andy Hockley on 30 December, 2006

The following have recently (I mean in the last couple of days) appeared in the main square, finally. I wondered if anyone would ever make any kind of reference to the imminent accession, and it seems that now Christmas is out of the way, that people are starting to at least acknowledge that January 1st is just around the corner.


This one’s outside the Culture House, nicely symmetrical in its bilingualism.

The next two are directly opposite outside the county council building (known locally as “The White House”)

As you can see they show the happy European family welcoming Romania into their midst. At least I assume it’s Romania. In fact the “blue” of the flag is so dark as to be effectively black, occasioning me to actually wonder for a while about the logic of giving people the opportunity to be Belgian. I mean they must be blue, but it’s really really hard to tell.

The lampposts have all received the following decoration:
That white flag, in case you were wondering is the local one. I think it’s the flag of Csikszereda, but it could conceivably be the flag of Haromszek, the old Hungarian county in which Csikszereda was.

And finally a signpost pointing west to our new home (seen from both sides so you can see there’s no language bias)

Posted in csikszereda, EU, romania | 5 Comments »

Craciun Fericit

Posted by Andy Hockley on 24 December, 2006

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Craciun Fericit

Posted by Andy Hockley on 24 December, 2006

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

A Year in the Life

Posted by Andy Hockley on 22 December, 2006

One year on… from this post and this post.

Amazing to imagine that anyone could survive for a year with me as a father, let alone anyone so fragile as a baby. But miraculously Paula is thriving. Yesterday she took her first unsupported tentative half-step. I am still achingly proud.

And I have no idea why this set of pictures ends up all the way down there. Bloody HTML. This is probably a better way of viewing them all

Posted in paula | 3 Comments »

A Year in the Life

Posted by Andy Hockley on 22 December, 2006

One year on… from this post and this post.

Amazing to imagine that anyone could survive for a year with me as a father, let alone anyone so fragile as a baby. But miraculously Paula is thriving. Yesterday she took her first unsupported tentative half-step. I am still achingly proud.

And I have no idea why this set of pictures ends up all the way down there. Bloody HTML. This is probably a better way of viewing them all

Posted in paula | 3 Comments »

Things you learn at school

Posted by Andy Hockley on 21 December, 2006

In England, instead of having a tree at Christmas, they hang a large bunch of mistletoe on the ceiling.

That’s what I learned last night at Bogi’s class Christmas “show” (them singing songs and reading out facts like the one above).

Still, we got mulled wine when it was done, which is something that we never got when she was at kindergarten – school is obviously much more serious.

The kids also all got large presents, which consisted of boxes full of various toys, soap, and stationery all of which came from places like Sainsburys, Asda, and Superdrug (British shops, basically). When I investigated the source of these parcels it turned out that one of the kids’ parents is Baptist and the parcels had come from some kind of international baptist church charity project. I have this image of well-meaning and caring people in the UK somewhere, shopping madly to try and put together a box of treats for children in poor isolated desperate Romania (that soon-to-be EU member). Still, the kids were delighted with them.

Posted in romania, uk | 3 Comments »

Things you learn at school

Posted by Andy Hockley on 21 December, 2006

In England, instead of having a tree at Christmas, they hang a large bunch of mistletoe on the ceiling.

That’s what I learned last night at Bogi’s class Christmas “show” (them singing songs and reading out facts like the one above).

Still, we got mulled wine when it was done, which is something that we never got when she was at kindergarten – school is obviously much more serious.

The kids also all got large presents, which consisted of boxes full of various toys, soap, and stationery all of which came from places like Sainsburys, Asda, and Superdrug (British shops, basically). When I investigated the source of these parcels it turned out that one of the kids’ parents is Baptist and the parcels had come from some kind of international baptist church charity project. I have this image of well-meaning and caring people in the UK somewhere, shopping madly to try and put together a box of treats for children in poor isolated desperate Romania (that soon-to-be EU member). Still, the kids were delighted with them.

Posted in romania, uk | 3 Comments »

La Dolce Vita

Posted by Andy Hockley on 19 December, 2006

Harrowing article from today’s Guardian about the plight of migrant workers (Romanians among them) in Southern Italy. Driving through small towns in Southern Romania you see loads of these hastily printed flyers on lampposts advertising work in Spain and Italy. I often wondered what kind of conditions the people who signed up for these deals ended up in.

Posted in EU, links, news, romania | 3 Comments »

Flakey weather

Posted by Andy Hockley on 19 December, 2006

Something is falling from the sky. Something akin to snow. (Not exactly snow in the large white dry-ish flakes of softness sense, more like a kind of opaque drifting rain – I’m sure the eskimos have a particular name for it, but the best that English could offer would possibly be sleet, and sleet always puts me in mind of driving semi-blizzard like conditions, which this certainly isn’t). There’s nothing very unusual about the fact that something snowish is falling in December in Csikszereda obviously, but it is unusual in that it is the first time this year.

There have been dark mutterings for weeks now as the temperature has remained stubbornly above freezing (at least in the daytime – there’ve been frosts at night), and no precipitation of any kind has fallen. It’s been variously touted as a sure sign of global warming, that the planet is going to hell, and that something very strange is going on. However, this is my third winter here and in the first of those it didn’t snow until Szilveszter (New Years Eve) either, so in my experience this is not especially unusual at all. But to listen to the locals you’d think we were all about to be swept up in some end-of-days fiery denouement.

Nearly everyone seems to agree that it’s a bad thing. I am not in this camp. For me the longer winter takes to arrive, the more likely that we will have a relatvely short winter this year. After all, if winter starts at the end of December, we can really only expect to have a maximum of four months of vicious sub-minus-thirty temperatures, which can only be a good thing (at least from the perspective of the non-masochistic). If we’re really lucky, it will only be three months. I recognise that for people who make their livings out of the ski season it must be problematic, but none of the moaners who have shaken their heads darkly in my direction at this terrible snow-less state of affairs rely on having a long winter for their financial well-being. I think they just like moaning. If it were normally cold and snowy, they’d probably be complaining about that too.

Posted in csikszereda, weather | Leave a Comment »