The Stamp is Holy
As an American citizen, getting long-stay visas to Romania isn’t a difficult or expensive thing, just a bit complicated. Things get even more complicated when you try to do the bulk of the work in August or September, because people tend to take their vacations during that time of year.
The past couple months, we’ve been running around from one office to another, emailing one person after another, calling one person after another, turning in form after form, in pursuit of the elusive long-term religious visa. We’ll get it, I’m pretty confident of that, but it’s definitely a process, especially when not everyone speaks perfect English and we speak very imperfect Romanian.
Every official meeting we have, someone eventually has to whip out the official, authoritative administrative stamp. In the words of the dean of the Baptist seminary in Bucharest, “The stamp is holy.” With a stamp, all doors are opened to you. Without a stamp, nothing gets done.
I’m pretty sure that, when you get to the gates of Heaven and Jesus opens the Lamb’s book of life to see if you’re in it, right next to your name will be a nicely placed Romanian government stamp. I don’t think even Jesus is allowed to do anything without one.
I’m kidding of course, but it’s funny just how pervasive the stamp is here. You get a stamp on some receipts (but not all), you need a stamp on warranty cards, you need a stamp on official government or religious documents, you need one on your health insurance paperwork and your medical certificates, you even get one on your rental contract.
Collect them all! It’s fun.
So, yes, in Romania, the stamp is holy.