Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Bureaucracy can be fun.

Tonight's will be a short post, for I teach in the morning, and need to read and think tonight.

Today I met with Carmen Tagsorean at the University's Center for International Cooperation (or a department whose name is close to that) to begin the process of applying for a Permis de Sedere, meaning the right to stay in Cluj for the next nine months. The process involves a medical clearance (not the sort of extensive examination that Fulbright required before we left the states) from a local clinic, a local medical insurance policy (no matter what coverage one already has), a trip to the Passport Office to register for the Permit, plus the filling out of several forms in just such a manner. Fortunately, Mihai Moroiu of the Romanian Fulbright Commission had given us plenty of warning about this process, so I was not at all upset to learn the specifics.

In fact, Ms. Tagsorean, who speaks excellent English (and French, and some Spanish and Italian) made the visit just plain fun. She is an amateur student of the United States, and was open in expressing her views about illegal immigration, the upcoming Presidential election, and so on. She said she knows more about America than she does about Romania, and I cannot naysay that. Moreover, I learned new things about UBB, Romanian, and Cluj from her, as she provided me with a UBB information package in English, a book on the Romanian language, and went over a map of Cluj with me (an easy city to get lost in..., but not for long, because all roads end up taking you back to Piata Mihai Viteazul). So, bureaucracy can be fun, if the right people are there to guide you through it, and do so with good humor. If ever a Romanian deserved a chance to visit the USA, Carmen does. (Mihai, are you listening?)

From Carmen's office, I walked to the "Policlinic" of the University, housed in a decrepit old structure that makes our apartment building look well-kept. It took knocking on every door (Dermatology, Gynecology, Ophthalmology, etc.) to find, finally, the right one. There I met a kindly doctor who spoke some English, and who asked if I had any health problems. I told him that I was diabetic. He asked, "Insulin dependent?" I said, "Yes, but it is well-controlled." He signed the form, and told me to forget the 20 Lei fee, because I was a teacher. What a good guy!

Later, back on campus, I prepared more assignments for my classes, and had a late lunch at the cafeteria. The food was pretty good, but it is a single-queue service line, so everyone stands for a long time to be served. PSU's Prospect Hall could teach them a lot about how to serve food to hungry students.

Now, I shall prepare to knock them out with tomorrow's case study! Peace and prosperity to all!

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