Thursday, December 29, 2005


More inter-linguistic cross-cultural bureaucratic fun.

On Tuesday I went to Udvarhely to pick Erika and Paula up and bring them home. Before they could be released from the hospital though, I had to complete a bunch of paperwork, and take it to the city hall to get a birth certificate. I was ushered into an office where myself and a nurse proceeded to complete these forms. This was interesting as it was a conversation that happened in my limited Hungarian and her limited English in order to complete a form in Romanian.

Many of the lines were easy to fill in - the names etc were all printed on the wedding certificate and our ID cards. For that it was just a question of her copying stuff down correctly. Others involved a little bit of dialogue - her asking me what Erika's job is and her level of education and so on. This I could cope with though, and was feeling quite chuffed with my comprehension and responses, when suddenly she asked me something about Erika which question I had absolutely no understanding of. She tried repeating it a couple of times but it wasn't helping, so I asked to see the form - often I can understand Romanian better than Hungarian from speaking other latin languages. Aha, it said "Religia". This I could have a stab at and we continued. Then she had to do the same thing for me, and once again we hit the "Religia" question. Rather than go into detail about my own particular brand of agnosticism, I took the lazy way out and went for "Anglican". Fine. She understood what that was...but then, she realised she had no idea how to write Anglican in Romanian. (It's not terribly surprising, while I'm sure she was pretty fluent in the language, it's unlikely that she would ever have had to use the word Anglican in any way ever in her life before that moment). Eventually, she made the guess that I would have, and wrote Anglican as phonetically as possible as if it were said by a Romanian (which may actually be "Anglican")

So, once I got the papers out, I was free to go to the City Hall and get the birth certificate. This proved to be surprisingly easy and there is no funny story to tell about the experience. I have to go back and get it next week though, since they had a bit of a backlog, what with it having been a holiday period and there being a number of births to go into the register.

Eventually though, my girls were free to go, and were released from the delicious cuisine of Udvarhely Hospital. (Most of my trips over involved a shopping list of goods to supplement the culinary offerings). And now they're home safely and our entire existence has been thrown upside down. In a good way though.


Anonymous said...

The Romanian word is indeed "anglican"


Cezar said...

And "anglican" it is :-)