Thursday, March 12, 2009

Day of Peace

Romanian Orthodox Cathedral (1923-33)
and Avran Iancu Statue, Cluj-Napoca (1)

There were no events on today's calendar. That made it a special day for me here in Cluj. As last evening we'd had dinner with Kathy O., a fine event indeed, and then run her up the hill to her apartment in Klaus, I had parked after 8 PM (when it is free) in the Piata M.V.'s public lot. Hence, I had to go to the car before 8 AM today to prevent a tow or a ticket. Shirl and I had hoped to spend our free day strolling through downtown Cluj, but it was raining a bit hard this morning, so Shirl slept in while I went out to take Klaus home to the Faculty of Letters. As I did so I called Mihaela L., but caught her in her car on the way to work. When she arrived at FSEGA, Mihaela called back. I told her that I was looking for some books sent me by my brother Wally well over a week before, addressed to me at the Faculty of Economics, and that they had not yet appeared. Mihaela kindly said she'd check to see if they had arrived. Soon she called again, and explained that they had arrived in Cluj, but were being held in the post office's customs department (VAMA). She gave me its address, Str. Aurel Vlaicu nr. 3.

By that time Shirl was up and networking from the kitchen, now linked to the Internet via our new cluj-mcd hotspot, and I was negotiating air tickets through Travelocity to make my next (April) 4-day dash to Kansas City and back. Lazy man that I am, I had Skyped Shirl from the "office" corner of the bedroom, and we were communicating via chat. "Want to go to lunch and pick up Wally's books?" "Sure, give me a minute to pull on some jeans!"

So, we went across to McDonald's for a Big Mac, then grabbed a cab to Customs. Though I showed the post office agent my Permis de Sedere, he asked to see my University ID, or a business card, as the package was addressed to me at the Faculty, and my Permis de Sedere showed only my Romanian home address. I was able to convince him by telling him who had sent the books, and from where, so I retrieved the books for a 1 Leu "storage fee," as they had been there over three days.

Back on the street, I called Carmen Tagsorean, and asked whether we might come over to the Center for International Cooperation (CIC) office, so she and Shirl could finally meet.

Carmen is always busy, but was generous enough to give us a very pleasant invitation. Ten minutes and another cab ride later, we were at her desk, sipping tea and coffee. In fact, quite a bit of work went on as we chatted, for she gave me the latest draft agenda for next week's planning meetings, Carmen ordered me some business cards with my UBB title and work address, and I showed her how to access HBS Publishing, and search for cases and articles. She had been asked by a colleague if i might know of a case on the insurance industry, and while in her office we found that HBSP lists over 170 items when one searches the topic "Insurance."

After our visit to Carmen at the CIC office on Strada Avram Iancu, the weather had softened enough that we walked about two Km home to our flat, visiting Piaţa Avram Iancu and its cathedral on the way. It was a most pleasant stroll, save that Shirl stepped in a hole in the pavement on the sidewalk, hurting (but thankfully not spraining) her ankle. Once home, we shared a supper of ciorba de linte, and mici sizzled in a skillet.

Today has been just as Shirl described the interior of the city's magnificent Romanian Orthodox Cathedral: peaceful.

(1) Photo Source: