Romanian Living Blog

An expats working, socialising and living blog of thoughts and adventures delved within Bucharest and further afield in this alluring yet often baffling country.

RLB 3: Long days, Principal Observations and Earthquake Dreams

Time period: 19th September – 25th September

The joy of a knowing something after the perils of waiting and uncertainty is a pleasant feeling to behold; 1st though there was no escaping this week’s primary task which was to obtain my Residence Permit thus allowing me to stay and work here the following year legally.

As with any application process there are certain documents or pieces of information that need to be acquired before progressing. Having been given advice on what to obtain and how I proceeded confidently towards the task of getting the relevant materials for the day on which I would have to go to the immigration office and present my newly attained documents. However the road to securing these documents was slightly more complicated than initially thought, there was some slight confusion and uncertainties but after a few calls and explanations all was clarified.

The other rocky bump on the road was the time spent waiting or travelling to employers to collect the paperwork, days turned longer than expected because of waiting around or commuting; a few hours spent waiting here or there for the forms or the relevant person, quick conversations regarding the application documents morphed into medium to long discussions, these factors all resulted in the longevity of the 1st half of the week. All was fruitful though as eventually I had attained all the relevant documents and was prepared for the looming day of attending the bureaucratic office.

Upon the actual day I was quietly confident, through an advisor my forms and myself had been thoroughly checked, prepared and ready to tackle the Romanian bureaucratic system. Last year my experience of entering the office greeted me with long lines, much anxiety and waiting; this year the room was rather silent, a couple of office clerks, a sole other individual and a subdued atmosphere awaited in the dreary ageing building.

Quickly then I was at the counter presenting my documents for inspection, the office clerk seemed impressed by the organised way in which the paperwork greeted her. A few minutes of inspecting, an odd question and a couple of smiles passed, I was informed all was fine and to return in the afternoon to collect the newly approved Residence Permit.

Unfortunately quick to the counter now meant long with the wait, several hours awaited me before collection of the document could be pursued. The time was not so lifeless though as coffee, conversations and an immense pressure off the shoulders was enjoyed; the initial application process was over and the only step left was to collect the document.

Eventually the hours dissolved into the wind and the time to collect was upon me, the administrative office now contained much more life than my mornings visit with eager faces everywhere waiting to collect their documents. However for me in my pursuit of obtaining the residence permit much waiting had occurred, it seems my waiting journey was still not over, the form was not yet ready so another 30-40 minutes bypassed me before my hands finally grasped the document.

The elated feeling upon obtaining the rather small A5 permit overcame the rather troublesome toils of preparing for and the subsequent application process. With conformation that after the month expires my right to work in Romania won’t end I marched on gleefully towards my workplace for the evening.

As the 1st half of the week was completed the 2nd half was much more routine and smoother, although there was a surprise observation in one of my school classes. As I started to teach a visitor to the room stated she cared to observe the class, I had no objections as the post class feedback would be useful for me.

At the time I thought the attendee was a teacher or teacher trainer, unaware of the real persona I continued my class feeling a little more pressure to succeed and teach an amazing lesson.

As the class ended I found myself in the English teachers staff room feeling relieved the class had been completed, my initial reflection deemed to me that it was a smooth class although I always strive to improve and think how could it have gone better. Soon though the mysterious spectator revealed themselves to me, much to my shock the observer was the school’s principal. Now knowing it was the principal in the class also explained to me why the children were a little more subdued than usual.

The principal advised me we had met once before the previous academic year but I apologised for not remembering, however she was not upset and gave me great feedback regarding the observed lesson.

I felt not only comforted by the positive feedback but thoroughly ecstatic that I am undertaking and performing to a high standard that I aim for myself.

As the week drew to a close I was elated the weekend was beckoning, although not an abundance of work had been undertaken the days had been long mostly because of the process of acquiring the residence permit.

This unusual week revealed one more surprise before it concluded however; as Friday drew to a close and the early Saturday morning hours blossomed a rumble was felt throughout Bucharest, Romania and supposedly several neighbouring countries also.

The rumble was the result of a 5.4 magnitude earthquake, as my half-awake mind tried to analyse the situation and what was occurring I initially thought a neighbour was moving furniture rather loudly and imprudently. As the seconds evaporated and time transpired however the realization that most likely it was not the neighbour but something rather bigger such as an earthquake became clearer to me.

Though I am in a new building built structurally secure I recall a slight concern in those moments of the apartment block maybe giving way to nature and thoughts of coming through injury free of such an event swept my mind. I needn’t have been worried though; post-earthquake dreaming I read there were no recorded injuries or material damage reported.

The earthquake as real as it was seemed as though it was a dream as the following days rolled by, I state this because there was barely a murmur of the event either by the media it seemed or of Bucharest’s citizens.

I guess such an event is more frequent and common here than the UK. I educe a memory from several years earlier in the UK of an earthquake that shook through which caused a flutter of press and absurd stories to be heard or written about. Such stories such as a woman fervently angry because her garden gnomes had been damaged or what the cost of the destruction of falling roof tiles would cost one particular village.

My personal sentiment on these ridiculous pieces being reported is they are highly irrelevant and un-newsworthy based on the grand scheme of potential issues or damages that could have transpired. Still, lest I forget I am in Romania, where to my knowledge no such stories have been brought to public attention.

Similar to the earthquake rumbling away to nature another week also rumbles away, certainly it has been a dramatic and unexpected week but a joyous one none the less. Dreams of uncertainty and earthquakes are being replaced with security of knowledge.

Knowledge that I am legally safe to work in Bucharest as well as safe in my apartment from natural elements.


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