Csíkszereda Musings

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

Archive for the ‘bureaucracy’ Category

Comfortable missionary position

Posted by Andy Hockley on 18 May, 2008

Been slacking off on the blog a bit lately, don’t really have much of an excuse, but since I’m providing a free service (albeit one of dubious value), I reckon you can cut down on the criticism a tad.

I’m writing this on a train home from Bucharest*, where I spent yesterday and this morning partly doing a workshop and then this morning getting myself a visa for Kazakhstan. This latter process had its own little set of interests, as I eventually located the embassy which is not an embassy, and is not even a consulate, but is a “diplomatic mission”, whatever that means. The bloke who works there is though officially a consul (rather than a missionary), and has what appears to be a nice cushy life. The place is only open from 9-12 and I duly showed up this morning at 9.30 to find he hadn’t actually got to work yet. The policemen outside were friendly enough and spoke English which was a bonus. [Another positive was that I went for a stroll round the block while I waited and came across the gloriously named “Kunty Automotive Service”. It’s the first time I have ever thought that having a mobile phone with a camera in it would have some value. Sadly though, I still live in the dark ages, mobilephonewise] It seems a little bit much that Romania presumably has to pay for two policemen to sit outside what amounts to a house with a flag on it, 24 hours a day, to guard a consul (who only works a couple of hours a day) and two staff (I’d called them a few times and that experience, along with basically meeting everyone this morning, means that I have pretty much worked out the staffing levels of the place. I reckon I’d make a good spy). One thing I had to do before going there this morning was to pay for my visa – you can’t just show up at the place with cash, you have to pay at a bank, and then show them the receipt. This I had to do in the Banca Transylvania (any branch), which is convenient as we live in the same building as that bank. So on Wednesday I went along to the Csikszereda Banca Transylvania and asked if I could pay for a Kazakh visa. This, as might be imagined, caused some consternation, since I suspect they don’t get many people in there asking for such a thing. There were lots of phone calls and eventually a ledger was produced in which I managed to locate the Kazakhs and demonstrate that really this was possible. Anyway, I finally got my pieces of paper in order, and when the consul showed up, waited for half an hour reading about the glorious achievements of Kazakh government, while he stuck something in my passport. Not quite sure why it took him half an hour, but there you go. He was probably tired.

I’m off to Almaty the week after next, since you asked.

(*While I did actually write this on the train on Friday, I could not post it until today, Sunday. So, no, the Kazakh consul was not working on a Sunday. Or in the afternoons. Or before about 10. Or much at all really)

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Posted in bureaucracy, travel | 2 Comments »

What the EU means for me

Posted by Andy Hockley on 18 January, 2007

Yesterday, I got my new residency permit for Romania. Things have certainly changed. In the space of two years I have now had (and reported on) three entirely different documents which allow me to remain here. The first was a kind of rubbishy handwritten passport thing. The process to get this document was both expensive and baffling.

This document lasted a few months before being superseded by a fancy hi-tech card that had to be issued in Germany. Once again this was not exactly cheap. In fact by the time I’d got that one, I’d spent somewhere in the order of €200 in total on various documents enabling me to live here (and that doesn’t include the money it cost me to set up a company which gave me legal permission to even start applying).

But now things have changed. Out has gone the German-issued laminated card, and in has come some other official looking large scale piece of paper. Because now, of course, Romania is in the EU, and my ability to stay here is determined by that new status. (Romanians can’t stay in the UK longer than 3 months, but fortunately for me the Romanian state chooses not to reciprocate – though I would quite understand and even applaud them if they did). Anyway, the new piece of paper, with all the documentation and stuff that was needed to get it, cost me a sum total of 4 Lei. That’s approximately €1.20. That sum still involved two different receipts of 1 and 3 Lei each from two different offices in two different parts of the town, with associated queueing, but let’s not quibble about that.

The only downside of the whole thing is that while the card was very convenient and easy to carry around with me, this new document isn’t, and if I were to stuff it in my wallet it would disintegrate within a couple of months, necessitating a replacement. And of course, being British, I don’t possess an ID card. I don’t fancy carrying around my passport all day every day, so will have to come up with some system to cope with the Romanian need for people to have official ID on their persons at all time. Hopefully my driving licence will do the trick.

Anyway, I thought you’d all be glad to know of the advantages of EU membership for me. It’s not all strict legislation and baffling regulations you know.

Posted in bureaucracy, EU | 1 Comment »

What the EU means for me

Posted by Andy Hockley on 18 January, 2007

Yesterday, I got my new residency permit for Romania. Things have certainly changed. In the space of two years I have now had (and reported on) three entirely different documents which allow me to remain here. The first was a kind of rubbishy handwritten passport thing. The process to get this document was both expensive and baffling.

This document lasted a few months before being superseded by a fancy hi-tech card that had to be issued in Germany. Once again this was not exactly cheap. In fact by the time I’d got that one, I’d spent somewhere in the order of €200 in total on various documents enabling me to live here (and that doesn’t include the money it cost me to set up a company which gave me legal permission to even start applying).

But now things have changed. Out has gone the German-issued laminated card, and in has come some other official looking large scale piece of paper. Because now, of course, Romania is in the EU, and my ability to stay here is determined by that new status. (Romanians can’t stay in the UK longer than 3 months, but fortunately for me the Romanian state chooses not to reciprocate – though I would quite understand and even applaud them if they did). Anyway, the new piece of paper, with all the documentation and stuff that was needed to get it, cost me a sum total of 4 Lei. That’s approximately €1.20. That sum still involved two different receipts of 1 and 3 Lei each from two different offices in two different parts of the town, with associated queueing, but let’s not quibble about that.

The only downside of the whole thing is that while the card was very convenient and easy to carry around with me, this new document isn’t, and if I were to stuff it in my wallet it would disintegrate within a couple of months, necessitating a replacement. And of course, being British, I don’t possess an ID card. I don’t fancy carrying around my passport all day every day, so will have to come up with some system to cope with the Romanian need for people to have official ID on their persons at all time. Hopefully my driving licence will do the trick.

Anyway, I thought you’d all be glad to know of the advantages of EU membership for me. It’s not all strict legislation and baffling regulations you know.

Posted in bureaucracy, EU | 1 Comment »

Modern Post-ism

Posted by Andy Hockley on 18 December, 2006

The Romanian post office is not the world’s most reliable service. It is quite good at delivering mail within the country and often at surprisingly high speeds. It is also remarkably good (usually) at exporting post – a fairly large Christmas package sent to my parents’ house a couple of weeks ago reached its destination in 6 days. But it really seems to have problem with mail coming in.

Postcards almost never make it to their destination – I have lost count of the number of postcards I have sent home when on some trip or other which have never made it. Is someone stealing them? And if so, why? Because they like the pictures? Is there someone, somewhere in Bucharest with my postcards and those of others like me plastered all over their apartment with which they attempt to convince visitors that they’ve either travelled very widely, or that they have loads of exotic wandering friends?

Letters, too, frequently go astray, and of the one magazine subscription I have from the UK, typically about one in four issues vanish. Parcels, though, never seem to disappear. This is quite odd, since I’m assuming the flaw in the system is that someone is actively nicking stuff (it can’t all be getting lost – if it were there’d be a massive pile of undelivered mail down the back of someone’s settee). Maybe, parcels, being parcels, and being eminently nickable are actually watched and are subject to greater outside scrutiny such that the odd light-fingered employee feels unable to siphon them off.

Perhaps it is this scrutiny that causes them to take so frigging long though. They never get here quickly. One box I received from the US took 10 weeks to get here from postmark to delivery. And it came by air, in case you were wondering. My guess is that it spent the majority of those 10 weeks in Romania, probably sitting in what I imagine is this dusty hanger in Bucharest called the parcel waiting room. Here, newly arrived packages, fresh off the plane and looking forward to exploring the sights of Romania – Bran Castle, Bucovina, the Danube Delta, Sighisoara, perhaps – are taken and asked to wait while a few minor bureaucratic details are taken care of. Their fresh faced exuberance at being in this fascinating foreign land is slowly ground into the dust as they become, with the passing weeks, increasingly disillusioned and bitter, offering up snorts of derision as new parcels arrive, eagerly looking forward to being let out in a few hours.

The Christmas presents that my family sent to us, for example, were mailed two or three weeks before I got around to sending one in the opposite direction, but somehow mine got there a week before their counterparts reached us here. Why, I have no idea. They did finally arrive though, all of them together, this morning. Maybe, there is in fact some kind of quota system whereby the sorting office in Bucharest waits until they have enough packages for a certain destination to make it worth bothering putting them on a train. “We have had this box for Miercurea Ciuc for months now, should I send it?” “Nah, wait until we have at least 5 packages for there before putting them all on together. You could easily spend 15 seconds sending that off on its own”

The really cunning thing is that you have to pay to liberate them from the post office. A little slip is stuck in your mailbox to let you know the box has come, and you must go to the Post Office and pick it up (as is quite normal in most places, especially those where a package cannot easily be left). When you go along, you have to cough up money to get it. This, I have to say, is much less usual. The sender has already paid a quite inordinate amount of money to his own post office to deliver this package to Romania, and that should be the end of the payment system. And in every other country I’ve lived (and I’ve lived in a fair few) it is. Not in Romania. Oh no. You have to pay the post office to collect the parcel. It’s a great scam – I mean who’s going to say no? “A birthday present for my daughter? No, you keep it.”. I mean it’s not like it’s massive amounts of money – it seems to be a flat fee of 2.5 Lei per package (or 25,000 Lei as I still think of it, old-timer that I am) – but it’s the principle of the thing. Perhaps that’s why we never get any of the post cards: there’s some office somewhere – the ministry of postcards – in which they all sit until such time as someone goes down and says “Have you got any postcards for me? And how much do you want for them?”

Posted in bureaucracy, romania | 7 Comments »

Modern Post-ism

Posted by Andy Hockley on 18 December, 2006

The Romanian post office is not the world’s most reliable service. It is quite good at delivering mail within the country and often at surprisingly high speeds. It is also remarkably good (usually) at exporting post – a fairly large Christmas package sent to my parents’ house a couple of weeks ago reached its destination in 6 days. But it really seems to have problem with mail coming in.

Postcards almost never make it to their destination – I have lost count of the number of postcards I have sent home when on some trip or other which have never made it. Is someone stealing them? And if so, why? Because they like the pictures? Is there someone, somewhere in Bucharest with my postcards and those of others like me plastered all over their apartment with which they attempt to convince visitors that they’ve either travelled very widely, or that they have loads of exotic wandering friends?

Letters, too, frequently go astray, and of the one magazine subscription I have from the UK, typically about one in four issues vanish. Parcels, though, never seem to disappear. This is quite odd, since I’m assuming the flaw in the system is that someone is actively nicking stuff (it can’t all be getting lost – if it were there’d be a massive pile of undelivered mail down the back of someone’s settee). Maybe, parcels, being parcels, and being eminently nickable are actually watched and are subject to greater outside scrutiny such that the odd light-fingered employee feels unable to siphon them off.

Perhaps it is this scrutiny that causes them to take so frigging long though. They never get here quickly. One box I received from the US took 10 weeks to get here from postmark to delivery. And it came by air, in case you were wondering. My guess is that it spent the majority of those 10 weeks in Romania, probably sitting in what I imagine is this dusty hanger in Bucharest called the parcel waiting room. Here, newly arrived packages, fresh off the plane and looking forward to exploring the sights of Romania – Bran Castle, Bucovina, the Danube Delta, Sighisoara, perhaps – are taken and asked to wait while a few minor bureaucratic details are taken care of. Their fresh faced exuberance at being in this fascinating foreign land is slowly ground into the dust as they become, with the passing weeks, increasingly disillusioned and bitter, offering up snorts of derision as new parcels arrive, eagerly looking forward to being let out in a few hours.

The Christmas presents that my family sent to us, for example, were mailed two or three weeks before I got around to sending one in the opposite direction, but somehow mine got there a week before their counterparts reached us here. Why, I have no idea. They did finally arrive though, all of them together, this morning. Maybe, there is in fact some kind of quota system whereby the sorting office in Bucharest waits until they have enough packages for a certain destination to make it worth bothering putting them on a train. “We have had this box for Miercurea Ciuc for months now, should I send it?” “Nah, wait until we have at least 5 packages for there before putting them all on together. You could easily spend 15 seconds sending that off on its own”

The really cunning thing is that you have to pay to liberate them from the post office. A little slip is stuck in your mailbox to let you know the box has come, and you must go to the Post Office and pick it up (as is quite normal in most places, especially those where a package cannot easily be left). When you go along, you have to cough up money to get it. This, I have to say, is much less usual. The sender has already paid a quite inordinate amount of money to his own post office to deliver this package to Romania, and that should be the end of the payment system. And in every other country I’ve lived (and I’ve lived in a fair few) it is. Not in Romania. Oh no. You have to pay the post office to collect the parcel. It’s a great scam – I mean who’s going to say no? “A birthday present for my daughter? No, you keep it.”. I mean it’s not like it’s massive amounts of money – it seems to be a flat fee of 2.5 Lei per package (or 25,000 Lei as I still think of it, old-timer that I am) – but it’s the principle of the thing. Perhaps that’s why we never get any of the post cards: there’s some office somewhere – the ministry of postcards – in which they all sit until such time as someone goes down and says “Have you got any postcards for me? And how much do you want for them?”

Posted in bureaucracy, romania | 7 Comments »

Down on the Pharm

Posted by Andy Hockley on 10 October, 2006

Going to the Chemist’s in Romania is, quite frankly, a pain in the arse. Not actually literally a pain in the arse, though I suppose it could depend on what you’re going there for. No, literally, it’s a pain in the feet, and just metaphorically a pain in the arse. The thing is that pharmacies are one of the few businesses which have apparently remained unchanged since Ceausescu’s time. As you walk through the door of the average pharmacy, you step out of the 21st century (well, let’s say you step out of the late 20th century – this is Romania after all) and enter into this faded netherworld of old posters and long queues and overly complex bureaucracy and strict state controls. This feeling is not helped by the fact that the clientele are (as they are in chemists everywhere in the world) predominantly elderly and unhealthy.

I will attempt to describe this step-back-in-time for those of you lucky enough not to ever have to go to a Romanian pharmacy. Firstly, you can’t see in them from outside, since they have these small grimy windows which often have bars across them, or if there are lower windows they are frosted. I don’t know why. Then you go inside, pushing aside the large iron framed door, to the world that time forgot. The floor is concrete. Just concrete. There is a large area of nothingness in the pharmacy itself, which may, in more upmarket establishments, have a chair here or there round the side, or even a set of weighing scales (presumably so that you may see how much weight you lose while waiting to be served). Around this central void, there are barriers of varying degrees of sturdiness punctuated by serving-hatch style windows. Regardless of the actual composition of the barriers (full wall, counter, half glass wall, even no barrier just space defined by the windows), the impenetrability of it is unquestioned. Something about the lay out and design of the space tells you in no uncertain terms that stepping beyond the defined limits of the customers’ area would lead to imprisonment and possibly a beating of some sort. Probably involving the securitate.

Behind the windows, are a number (never greater than 3, usually 1) of women in white coats. They’re always women, and I’ve never ever seen a male pharmacist in Romania. Behind them, and sometimes surrounding them, are various pharmaceutical products, that you cannot touch, unless they hand them to you through the little window. There are also little wooden drawers and cupboards that look like they haven’t been opened since sometime before the moon landing.

So, you join a queue. If there is only one pharmacist, then you join the only queue. And you wait, patiently, in line with all the other people in the queue. And you have to wait a long time, because every transaction involves not only the handing over of prescriptions, money and drugs, but also the laborious filling in of numerous forms and ledgers full of information. In many of these places they now have computers too, looking seriously out of place, but the benefit of these machines seems to be that the information needs to be entered now both onto the computer and into the ledger.

Now the big problem with all this, other than the olde-world, Dickensian drudgery of it all, is that you have to do this no matter what you want to buy. This system is not just for those who have prescriptions that they need filling. It’s for everything – from aspirins to tampons to baby food to vitamin C pills. Now luckily, a few of those things (notably baby food and tampons), have escaped from the system and are now also available in regular supermarkets and the like. But certain things, notably headache medication and other over-the-counter remedies, are not available elsewhere and have to be bought at the pharmacy in this painfully laborious way. Why it is not possible to use the dead zone in the heart of the shop for some display cases and have a till at the entrance for those who don’t need prescription drugs is beyond me. It’s all about control, it seems. And for ensuring that if you have popped in for some paracetamol because you have a small headache, that by the time you actually get the paracetamol you have a raging migraine. I’d love to take a picture of the interior of a pharmacy here so you could see I wasn’t making any of this up, but frankly I fear that if I got a camera out in the middle of any one of these establishments, I’d be arrested and shipped out to some gulag – or at the very least, forced to live in the Dobrogea and dig canals.

Interesting to note that things are obviously not dissimilar in Hungary. I wonder if this retail-pharmaceutical refusal to embrace 1989 is typical throughout Eastern Europe?

Posted in bureaucracy, health, romania | Leave a Comment »

Down on the Pharm

Posted by Andy Hockley on 10 October, 2006

Going to the Chemist’s in Romania is, quite frankly, a pain in the arse. Not actually literally a pain in the arse, though I suppose it could depend on what you’re going there for. No, literally, it’s a pain in the feet, and just metaphorically a pain in the arse. The thing is that pharmacies are one of the few businesses which have apparently remained unchanged since Ceausescu’s time. As you walk through the door of the average pharmacy, you step out of the 21st century (well, let’s say you step out of the late 20th century – this is Romania after all) and enter into this faded netherworld of old posters and long queues and overly complex bureaucracy and strict state controls. This feeling is not helped by the fact that the clientele are (as they are in chemists everywhere in the world) predominantly elderly and unhealthy.

I will attempt to describe this step-back-in-time for those of you lucky enough not to ever have to go to a Romanian pharmacy. Firstly, you can’t see in them from outside, since they have these small grimy windows which often have bars across them, or if there are lower windows they are frosted. I don’t know why. Then you go inside, pushing aside the large iron framed door, to the world that time forgot. The floor is concrete. Just concrete. There is a large area of nothingness in the pharmacy itself, which may, in more upmarket establishments, have a chair here or there round the side, or even a set of weighing scales (presumably so that you may see how much weight you lose while waiting to be served). Around this central void, there are barriers of varying degrees of sturdiness punctuated by serving-hatch style windows. Regardless of the actual composition of the barriers (full wall, counter, half glass wall, even no barrier just space defined by the windows), the impenetrability of it is unquestioned. Something about the lay out and design of the space tells you in no uncertain terms that stepping beyond the defined limits of the customers’ area would lead to imprisonment and possibly a beating of some sort. Probably involving the securitate.

Behind the windows, are a number (never greater than 3, usually 1) of women in white coats. They’re always women, and I’ve never ever seen a male pharmacist in Romania. Behind them, and sometimes surrounding them, are various pharmaceutical products, that you cannot touch, unless they hand them to you through the little window. There are also little wooden drawers and cupboards that look like they haven’t been opened since sometime before the moon landing.

So, you join a queue. If there is only one pharmacist, then you join the only queue. And you wait, patiently, in line with all the other people in the queue. And you have to wait a long time, because every transaction involves not only the handing over of prescriptions, money and drugs, but also the laborious filling in of numerous forms and ledgers full of information. In many of these places they now have computers too, looking seriously out of place, but the benefit of these machines seems to be that the information needs to be entered now both onto the computer and into the ledger.

Now the big problem with all this, other than the olde-world, Dickensian drudgery of it all, is that you have to do this no matter what you want to buy. This system is not just for those who have prescriptions that they need filling. It’s for everything – from aspirins to tampons to baby food to vitamin C pills. Now luckily, a few of those things (notably baby food and tampons), have escaped from the system and are now also available in regular supermarkets and the like. But certain things, notably headache medication and other over-the-counter remedies, are not available elsewhere and have to be bought at the pharmacy in this painfully laborious way. Why it is not possible to use the dead zone in the heart of the shop for some display cases and have a till at the entrance for those who don’t need prescription drugs is beyond me. It’s all about control, it seems. And for ensuring that if you have popped in for some paracetamol because you have a small headache, that by the time you actually get the paracetamol you have a raging migraine. I’d love to take a picture of the interior of a pharmacy here so you could see I wasn’t making any of this up, but frankly I fear that if I got a camera out in the middle of any one of these establishments, I’d be arrested and shipped out to some gulag – or at the very least, forced to live in the Dobrogea and dig canals.

Interesting to note that things are obviously not dissimilar in Hungary. I wonder if this retail-pharmaceutical refusal to embrace 1989 is typical throughout Eastern Europe?

Posted in bureaucracy, health, romania | Leave a Comment »

Carpet tax

Posted by Andy Hockley on 31 January, 2006

We, and by “we” here I mean Hox and Erix SRL our hugely successful company, received a registered letter the other day. Actually we received a piece of paper informing us that we had to go to the post office to pick up a registered letter, but the upshot of it all was that we had in our hands a registered letter. It was from the Romanian tax authorities and was a detailed description of our tax debts for the year, by quarter. We had, of course, already paid our taxes, this letter was just to let us know what extra we had to pay. A total of 3 Lei (three quarters of 1 Lei each, and one quarter where we owed nothing). Three NEW lei, I should stress here, not three old lei. (3 New Lei is about 80 Eurocents, while 3 Old Lei would be about .008 of a cent.) Registered mail is not especially cheap here, although presumably the government gives itself a discount, but even so, I’m guessing there is a net loss to the tax people from this letter – adding up the cost of calculating it, printing it out, stamping it umpteen times, the labour of all the signatures, and then collecting and cashing out the money to the cost of sending a registered letter. And apparently (meaning: our accountant said so) more or less everyone gets one of these letters at this time of the year. The purpose (allegedly) is to keep everyone working in the employee heavy tax office, and to make it clear to the outside world that they are gainfully employed and busy.

Temperature update

It is getting warmer! It was only -19 this morning! I wonder if I can find out what the average temerature for January was in Csikszereda this year. I reckon it was probably somewhere between -15 and -20. Average. Roll on February.

Posted in bureaucracy, romania | Leave a Comment »

Carpet tax

Posted by Andy Hockley on 31 January, 2006

We, and by “we” here I mean Hox and Erix SRL our hugely successful company, received a registered letter the other day. Actually we received a piece of paper informing us that we had to go to the post office to pick up a registered letter, but the upshot of it all was that we had in our hands a registered letter. It was from the Romanian tax authorities and was a detailed description of our tax debts for the year, by quarter. We had, of course, already paid our taxes, this letter was just to let us know what extra we had to pay. A total of 3 Lei (three quarters of 1 Lei each, and one quarter where we owed nothing). Three NEW lei, I should stress here, not three old lei. (3 New Lei is about 80 Eurocents, while 3 Old Lei would be about .008 of a cent.) Registered mail is not especially cheap here, although presumably the government gives itself a discount, but even so, I’m guessing there is a net loss to the tax people from this letter – adding up the cost of calculating it, printing it out, stamping it umpteen times, the labour of all the signatures, and then collecting and cashing out the money to the cost of sending a registered letter. And apparently (meaning: our accountant said so) more or less everyone gets one of these letters at this time of the year. The purpose (allegedly) is to keep everyone working in the employee heavy tax office, and to make it clear to the outside world that they are gainfully employed and busy.

Temperature update

It is getting warmer! It was only -19 this morning! I wonder if I can find out what the average temerature for January was in Csikszereda this year. I reckon it was probably somewhere between -15 and -20. Average. Roll on February.

Posted in bureaucracy, romania | Leave a Comment »

Rom-Anglican

Posted by Andy Hockley on 29 December, 2005

More inter-linguistic cross-cultural bureaucratic fun.

On Tuesday I went to Udvarhely to pick Erika and Paula up and bring them home. Before they could be released from the hospital though, I had to complete a bunch of paperwork, and take it to the city hall to get a birth certificate. I was ushered into an office where myself and a nurse proceeded to complete these forms. This was interesting as it was a conversation that happened in my limited Hungarian and her limited English in order to complete a form in Romanian.

Many of the lines were easy to fill in – the names etc were all printed on the wedding certificate and our ID cards. For that it was just a question of her copying stuff down correctly. Others involved a little bit of dialogue – her asking me what Erika’s job is and her level of education and so on. This I could cope with though, and was feeling quite chuffed with my comprehension and responses, when suddenly she asked me something about Erika which question I had absolutely no understanding of. She tried repeating it a couple of times but it wasn’t helping, so I asked to see the form – often I can understand Romanian better than Hungarian from speaking other latin languages. Aha, it said “Religia”. This I could have a stab at and we continued. Then she had to do the same thing for me, and once again we hit the “Religia” question. Rather than go into detail about my own particular brand of agnosticism, I took the lazy way out and went for “Anglican”. Fine. She understood what that was…but then, she realised she had no idea how to write Anglican in Romanian. (It’s not terribly surprising, while I’m sure she was pretty fluent in the language, it’s unlikely that she would ever have had to use the word Anglican in any way ever in her life before that moment). Eventually, she made the guess that I would have, and wrote Anglican as phonetically as possible as if it were said by a Romanian (which may actually be “Anglican”)

So, once I got the papers out, I was free to go to the City Hall and get the birth certificate. This proved to be surprisingly easy and there is no funny story to tell about the experience. I have to go back and get it next week though, since they had a bit of a backlog, what with it having been a holiday period and there being a number of births to go into the register.

Eventually though, my girls were free to go, and were released from the delicious cuisine of Udvarhely Hospital. (Most of my trips over involved a shopping list of goods to supplement the culinary offerings). And now they’re home safely and our entire existence has been thrown upside down. In a good way though.

Posted in bureaucracy, paula | 2 Comments »