♪♫Waiting For The Man♪♫

....well that's how David Bowie put it anyway.  Albeit 'The Man' in Bowie's classic is NOT the same 'Man' I've been waiting on.  No - no smack for me, thank you very much.

..No, the man I've been waiting on, well several anyway, is an arm of the Romanian government. Yes, I do love it here, but there are situations where my love and adoration is caught in a 'Catch-22'..... *sigh*

Okay, so Marius came home 2 weeks ago  for his vacation.  We went to the D.M.V., or the RO version anyway, to see what was needed to change our drivers licenses from U.S. to RO ones.  Marius had gone about 2 years ago, and was told we would have to take an exam, and that you could study and practice online - Marius didn't even pass the online exams - I guess they want the drivers here to be Einstein's - if you meet a RO with a RO drivers license I can guarantee they KNOW how to drive, and drive safely, even if their driving looks a bit scary.

So on this visit, we were told NO, we did NOT have to take exams, we did however have to have the following:
1.  Our original U.S. licenses
2.  Copies of our D.L.'s, and copies of ID cards (mine being issued by Immigration)
3.  Translations of our D.L.'s into ROmanian, which had to be notarized.
4.  Medical Visitis (which included a Psych eval; sorta)
5.  Taxes to be paid
6. Criminal background check (which included paying more taxes at another place)
7.  A notarized declaration stating, that our D.L.'s were real, not revoked, no outstanding warrants on them, etc.)

The criminal background check for me wasn't ready till today.  Marius was able to get all of his turned in last week - literally the day before he left.  It took us close to 2 weeks to get all of this done.  My background check took 4 days because I'm American, and mine had to be done in Bucuresti, unlike Marius' which was done locally here in Tulcea.

So anyway, I get up this morning, head on over to the Police Station to see if my Cazere (background check) was in, and it was, I then head straight over to the D.M.V., since I have everything else. I got there at around 9:15.  There was already a HUGE line ahead of me.  So I waited around for a few minutes, then I notice that the first hour (9-10) was for the people taking exams.  So I decide to walk next door to talk to my sister in law, who works at a pet store there.  We drank a coffee, and then I hiked back across Piata Ciuvica, and across the street to get to the Romtelecom offices to pay my home phone, cable, and internet bill, then walk back over to the D.M.V.  It is now 10 a.m. and the same people are still in line.  I thought about leaving and just coming back at 2 p.m.  Cause the offices close at 1 for lunch, and re-open at 2.  Glad I didn't.  After waiting for nearly 2 hours, the guy (actually the dept. boss) looks at everything and notices MY declaration is incomplete.  It was exactly the same at Marius'!!  Well according to law, because I'm not a RO citizen my declaration needed to cite a few laws and say a few more things.  GRRRRRR...... WHY DIDN'T THEY TELL US THAT WHEN MARIUS WAS HOME?!?!?

  So off I go to the Notary, and bring them the wording, and law citations and attempt to explain that MY declaration needs to say such and such.  They say it will take half an hour.  It's 12:40 - I explain I need to get home, my kids are there waiting on me, and that I would come back at 2.  PERFECT! the lady says!

  Okay, before your panties twisted in a knot, it's acceptable and normal here to leave your kids alone in the house for a few hours.  That and they are old enough to stay alone.

  So I grab them some snacks they begged me for and head home.  I get home just before 1.  I've also got to go to the P.O., cause I have a package from the U.S. there.  I can only pick up pkgs from outside the E.U. at a certain P.O. on certain days, Mondays & Thrusdays, and then only between 1-3 in the afternoon.  So I hang up the laundry I washed, grab all my stuff and head back out the door at 1:40.  Arrive at P.O. at 1:45, get package, which was from a friend I haven't heard from in ages. She made my girls some very pretty hair bows.  So now back to the notary.  I arrive there at 2:03, and notice the notary headed out as I'm headed in. *grrrrrr*.  They give me the declaration, along with the paper the dude at the DMV gave me, make sure everything is correct, and give it back to them.  Now I have to wait an HOUR for the notary to come back - why didn't she tell me the notary would be leaving at 2 - I could've come back at 1:30.

  So 3 o'clock rolls around, and here comes the notary.  They take care of me first (thank God), and I pay for their services and head on over to the DMV.  Now the guy told me to come back in the morning with the new declaration, but I said, "Nah, let me just go ahead and get this over with now".  So I go in, hand it to him, everything is good!  I take my picture, sign what I have to sign, and he then tells me it will be mailed to me within about 15 days.  I ask him for the temp. license; a piece of paper that I show (if stopped) to the po-po proving that I have permission to drive, just waiting on the actual license.  He doesn't have any, and that I have to come again in the morning around 10 or 10:30, so his co-worker can fill it out!  So now I understand why he said to come back in the morning.


  So about the medical visit, which included seeing a shrink.  We get to the medical place at around 9, give our info, pay the fees, and  are told to go across the hall.  Another doctor comes out grabs us, hurries up and takes our info.  signs off where he has to sign off - that he examined us, and we're cool.  Then tells us to hurry up and go over to the shrink - who is in the mental hospital, which is right next door to our apartment building coincidentally, but to hurry, she will be closing her office at 10, it's 9:30.  So off we run, park the car at 9:40, run around, and finally find this woman's office, we walk in at 10 min. to 10.  I say hello, and give her my ID, Marius explains we're there for the fisa for prescimbare permis de conducre.  She takes my ID, and looks at it, and asks "what is this" to herself. Marius says "Ea este Americanca".  It was hysterical.  She immediately puts the card down, and hurries up and fills out our fisa, and signs it.  We then go to the eye doctor, who was late coming in.  I get in there, and I have to read the very last line.  Now, in Romanian they don't have names for the letters - they just say the ABC's by their sound.  So there I am BUTCHERING the letters, and I guess the doctor and the nurse kinda looked at each other and at Marius a little funny, cause he again explains "She's American, and still learning the language".  "AH!  Bine.  She's okay!"  I'm done.

Now if this would have been Marius on his own doing all this, he would have gotten nothing but ATTITUDE from everyone at every Dr.'s office, ever place to pay taxes, EVERYWHERE, but because his wife, the AMERICANCA was with him, well they were just a sweet as sugar, sweeter maybe, if that's possible.  This is that catch-22 I was talking about.  You have to run around like a chicken with its head cut-off to get anything done here, but because I'm AMERICAN, it goes easier for me and Marius, for the most part anyway.  Oh that and you can get things done faster with bribery.  Yesh, I know that goes on everywhere, but it seems to be more open and blatant here, which again is a good thing and a bad thing.

I asked Marius, why the DMV didn't just do it like they do back home, you know put the little eye checker's there, and pay everything there.  And WHY all the medical sign-offs?  I was like it would make things much easier for everyone.  He looked at me and said, cause if they did that, they couldn't get your money, and he's right.  It cost us right around $500 for the two of us to get our licenses.

Romania I LOVE YOU, but at the same time, you make me crazy!