Thursday, December 11, 2008

Romanian Memories

During our stint in Romania with IICS in 2004 blogs did not exist or were not that popular, and even if they were, internet access was another subject in itself. What I did keep was a daily journal of this memorable journey. I never had much use for the journal other than our monthly newsletters; however, with my new blog I’ve decided to post once a week on our journey. I hope you do not mind. Please know that my Romanian blogs are not meant to poke fun at anyone other than myself and the experiences we had. By no means do I feel anything we experienced was wrong, just different than what we are accustomed to!


Last week I shared with you our car buying adventure. As I pointed out, this process seemed simple to us at the time. Unfortunately things got complicated! Upon purchasing a new or used car in Romania you are immediately given temporary registration papers and temporary license plates. The letters of temporary plates are in red to indicate they are temporary. Now, in Romania under normal circumstances one would receive their permanent license plates within a four week period prior to the expiration of your temporary plates.

My initial concern came after not receiving our plates for three weeks. With translator in hand I visited the registration office. During this visit I was told they would be in tomorrow and to return then. What followed was a daily visit for an entire week with the expectation our plates would arrive the following day. Finally, after a week had passed, my friend Daniel made a phone call to get to the bottom of the situation. He was told that our plates were lost but they were in the process of locating them and that I should return in a week. Now, I know what you are thinking; “Hasn’t your temporary plates expired?” Yes they had. Because of this I was told that we should “park” our car until our new plates arrive. My request for an extension to the temporary plates was denied.

To make a long story short; I returned every other day for several weeks without any luck. Finally, my translator discovered that my plates were not actually lost, but rather my plates were given to someone else by mistake. You see, in Romania your plate number matches the “talon” or paperwork you carry in your car. If the plate number does not match the paperwork then you have serious problems. The talon is worth more than the car! So my translator asked when the plates would be returned. We were told they would be returned when the person that had them wanted to return them! After a few more weeks of walking to school, taking the bus, and riding in taxis, Daniel had all he could take. He called one morning to tell me he would take care of the situation. Several hours later he arrived at my door with our permanent plates.

I asked Daniel how he got the plates but he swore he would never tell. A year later when we moved home I asked him to reveal his secret. This time he said, “After discovering where the car was with ‘your plates’ I took the other plates and personally switched them!” I guess that is taking matters into your own hands.

So the next time you have problems with your local DMV realize it could be worse; they could make you walk for a month! Have a great weekend. Aspire to new heights.

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