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What I have been up to lately

My life as not been the happiest lately which is why I was in no good mood for blogging. I have been going back and forth between Cluj, Budapest, Muenster, and Hamburg. I still did not finish mt thesis statement.
My brother in law David died the day I moved to Budapest where I had hoped to be able to concentrated better. I was so sad that I went to Hamburg to stay with my parents for little more than a week. When Avtandil came back from the funeral in Georgia I stayed another week in Muenster.
After that I went back to Budapest and my friend Willu came for 2 weeks.
Again I had to travell in order to go to Cluj. I went to the orthodentist, talked to my landlady, and manage for my two flat mates Elena and Florica to go to Germany in the summer.
Back in Budapest Avtandil came and then my father to give me company. While my father was visiting me my father-in-law died, exactly two months after David. I was very lucky that my father was there with me because I don't know how I would have coped if I had been alone in Budapest. Again Avtandil is in Georgia, this time staying longer to make sure that his mother is ok.
I am back in Cluj at the moment and the passports for Elena and Florica are still not ready. Their working contracts have still not arrived from Germany and we already know that the German embassy is very busy at the moment. We just hope that things are going to work out and that they will be in Germany soon.....
I hope that I will finish soon with my thesis. I can't believe my time in Romania is alomost over and I have no idea about what I will do after graduation. I have sent out a couple of applications for internships but no replies yet. Who knows were I will end up in the end or if I have to continue to live like a nomad. To be honest I am tired of it and would not mind to go somewhere were I know I can stay for a couple of years....
21.5.06 10:25

Pimps and Prostitutes

For the last year I have been living in a three-room-apartment in Cluj. We are, or were, six flat mates: Me, Steffi from Germany, Larisa and Alina from Romania, and two “Gypsies”, the twin sisters Elena and Florica.

Our neighbors never liked the fact that two “mulattoes” are living in their building and I have been asked on several occasions by various neighbors if I know that they are Gypsies, if my room has a lock, or where I met them. So far these incidents were tolerable because I did not care about other peoples stereotypes as long as they leave us in peace.

Everything changed last week. One of the “Gypsies”, Elena, has a very stupid boyfriend who showed up at our apartment, got into a fight with her, and forced her to come with him. Florica got scared for her sister and after the two had left she called the police. The next day Elena and her boyfriend had to go to the police, explained what had happened and Elena decided not to press any charges against him. They are still together, and if they are happy with each other that´s none of my business.
This is the story of why the police had been called.

A few days later our landlord called us. Florica and I went to talk to him and his wife. He informed us that he had been contacted by a policemen who had obviously interrogated all of our neighbors about us. Our landlord had been told that Elena is suspected of prostitution and that a very dangerous criminal, called “VanDame”, known for being a pimp and selling women, had visited us several times. All our neighbors were so afraid of him that they never complained directly to us about our music being to loud or about the fighting going on in our apartment. They stated that Elena and Florica scream at each other all the time when I am not in the country and that everything is ok when I am there.

When I told Steffi about the whole story she could not believe it. She said that the ones who had been fighting were Larisa and Alina who had both left the apartment the month before because they did not stand each other anymore.

The next day Florica went to the police because she still had to make a statement about what had happened between Elena and her boyfriend. She used the occasion to ask why her sister is suspected of prostitution. The policemen responsible for Elena´s case said that she is not suspected of anything and that he was not even aware of the fact that our neighbors had been interrogated and our landlord informed. He asked us to find out which policemen was responsible for all this.

In the meantime, Elena told everyone that if she really were a prostitute she would at least have the money to buy herself a cell phone.

“VanDamme” or Vandar, that’s his actual nick name, turned out to be living in the block behind ours. Elena did not really know him. She had talked to him a few times and had once told him that she needs a residence in Cluj (getting a residence in Romania is very hard because you need to own a house to get one. Without a residence you cannot get an identification card, passport or even a library pass!!!). Vandar offered to register her to his house which was very nice of him because it is to a certain degree illegal to register someone who is not actually living there. Anyways, he came to our house twice for a couple of minutes to talk about the residence and in the end he did not do it.

We have already talked to a friend of us who is studying law at university about the whole story. We will go to the police next week to find out what is going on. Why did a policemen interrogate all of our neighbors about us when the police was originally called to protect Elena and not because she is suspected of something? Why did he forward information about Elena to our landlord? Why did all the information turn out to be our neighbors versions of the story instead of official police data? Elena is not officially suspected of prostitution nor is there any sign that she ever will be. And why did the policemen responsible for Elena´s case not know anything about this?

And by the way, we do not know if Vandar is really a pimp or a criminal but isn´t it funny that everyone is too afraid of him to ask us to turn the music down, when today I saw him constructing a new balcony for our first floor neighbors? Is someone going to accuse our first floor neighbors of hiring a known criminal?
21.5.06 19:59

A new balcony

The new balcony of my first floor neigbours is growing. The "known criminal" Vandar has been working on it for more than a week. It is really interesting to see the Romanian way of constructing something out of cement. There don't seem to be any security standards invloved. The cement is prepared on the sidewalk: just put some cement, pebbles, and water together mix it up and use it for construction. No mixing machine involved. Don't bother about how the sidewalk will look afterwards.
If you ever wondered why Romanian houses look so..., so... untrustworthy, here is why: The casts in which the cement is poured in order to form the balcony' s pillars are made of wood that looks like it has been useed for the same purpose at least 100 times. Everything is very uneven and the wood has holes. The cement is poured into these very unstable looking casts without the help of vibrators which is why I don' t even want to think about the number of air bubbles inside of the pillars. After the casts had been taken away I could see quite some air bubbles on the surface of the pillars...... Lets hope that there is not going to be an earth quake....
The floor of the balcony which is put on top of the pillars is constructed in the very same way with the same wood and the same cement. So far everything has been very interesting to follow. I don't think I will ever put a food on that balcony once it is finished. And should I ever plan to construct a house in Romania I will import German construction workers to do it for me....
27.5.06 11:14


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