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Showing posts from April, 2011

Boxes from Overseas

A couple of weeks before leaving Toronto, I shipped six boxes, mostly clothes, books, and some random items - I really wasn't that concerned, I may have mentioned that. They finally came last week and there was some comic relief involved (as there should be).

On the way to my sister's, where the boxes were delivered, I was getting all excited thinking how I would unpack everything and make my place feel more like home. My excitement quickly turned to disappointment when I only found two boxes. One was my monitor and I was really glad it made it, it's sweeet and the other was a box full of baby cereal and household items my sister had insisted were really hard to find here, so I wasn't that enthused about it - like I'm going to die without ziploc bags.

I would die without my books though, so I called the number on the packing slip to find out wtf is up. It was late Saturday night so there was no reply, but on Sunday morning I got a call.

"You called late Saturd…

One week later

Wow, lots can happen in a week. The time flew but it feels like a long time ago I was on the hunt for an apartment and still just settling in.

I ended up finding a place through another real estate agency, the first guys weren't interested after the 3 apartments they showed me. It makes sense, I don't know why they get in on this gig to begin with. The place I found is big, 5 mins walk from work, and a very pleasant 20 minute walk  to the city center. I'm happy, not much more to say about it, but I did find out that the walls are very thin and now I'm well acquainted with the neighbours...

A funny thing happened at work: An invoice came from the National Radio Center (something like that), the fee was about $30 and the only explanation was something vague that the payment was required by law. Nobody in the office could really explain it, except apparently during the Ceausescu regime a law existed where everyone who owned a radio or TV set had to pay this tax. Fair enou…

Vanez Apartamentul (Hunting for an Apartment)

Like other things one does here in Romania, renting an apartment is different than how we do in Canada.
There, you look through all kinds of classified media and get in touch with the landlords of the interesting looking spots, go check em out, and then you pick the one you like. Makes sense...

Here, you search online and get in touch with the Real Estate agency that 'owns' the listings and then meet with the respective real estate agents to look over the offers. Technically, it sounds more convenient, and I guess it can be. But real estate agents don't really care much for the measly 50% of 1st month commission compared to a purchase commission, so it's not like the service is out of this world. Secondly, it feels like there's an unnecessary party in the process because they're not doing anything that requires expertise or specialized training. When it comes down to it, I'm okay to call around and find my own spot, no reason to complicate things -but this …

The Bank Account

There's absolutely no point to walking around with foreign currency in your wallet when you don't have to. A) It's useless and b)exactly.

As a result, I decided it was time to make my first "official" act in Romania and took a trip to the bank. I picked Banca Transilvania because my western-ness thinks it's cool to have a bank named Transylvania while my Romanian-ness insisted I go for a Romanian bank -pro patria and all that. The teller who helped me was young, very poised and very green eyed so I knew it wasn't going to be too unpleasant. The convo went something like this (but in Romanian):

"Hi, I'd like to open a bank account."
"A personal or business account?" The way you say "personal" here is something like 'physical person'
"Physical person please, it's for me."
"Sure, your ID Card please"
"I don't have one..."
She'd maintained a very neutral tone until now.
"…

I can't spell words out in Romanian

I had great difficulties spelling out my email to a real estate agent. The thing with Romanian is that it's a very phonetic language (unlike English), so when it comes to reading you just do it without bothering about pronunciation because the way a word is spelled is the pronunciation. Take the word "audible" in English, for example. In Romanian it reads as"Ow-dee-bleh" (with the 'ow' part like the ow from 'how'.)
In English you have to form a sound with the 'au', then with the 'di' (which can easily be a 'di' as in Lady Di), then finally the 'e' at the end is silent and phonetically useless; a big no-no with vowels in Romanian.

You would think this makes Romanian ABCs easy, but they're really not...there are no rules for spelling things out apparently and I took full advantage by saying some of the letters phonetically (A is 'Ah') and others in English -like the 'eL' and 'e…

Apartment Hunting and Photography

I've been doing a bit of both since I got here, but I've yet to actually see an apartment in person or take a good pic...no matter, all in due course. It's barely been 48 hours, after all.

Since tomorrow's the first day of work, I'll have to find a way to make the time to keep up with personal necessities. An added bonus is that I got the entire morning to work while our clients across the ocean are sound asleep, dreaming of their apps and iphones. This probably means a lot of my afternoon and evening will be spent juggling between clients and whatever people in Cluj do in the afernoon and evening. I'll find out and report back.

Day One

Three different take offs and landings, two customs checks, one delayed flight, zero questions asked. I was just another traveler today as far as anyone was concerned. Who would’ve ventured to guess that I was on a one way ticket with no more than a piece of checked luggage and my carry-on? As I made my way Eastward, the move began to sink in more and more. Maybe it’s just me, but considering the luggage was packed the night before, it’s probably fair to say I’d erred on the side of casualness in the few months leading up to today…
Here’s the thing; in December 2010, I decided I’d follow my heart and continue my career in the country of my birth, Romania. Since leaving in 1991, I’d only visited twice. Once at 18, when I had what I still consider to be my best summer vacation, and then ten years later on a short (surprise) vacation to see family. To be precise I visited twice in 2010, the first time being the vacation and the second time for some onsite job-training. I honestly never th…