The missionary adventures of the Stimpson family

“No, I don’t speak English. I live in Romania. I speak Romanian.”

We finally got all our forms turned into Immigration for Jessie and I to get our Visas!  It was a long process, but we’re done for now.  Next step is to get the kids theirs, since they all seem fond of staying here with us and all.

So yesterday, bright and early in the morning, we went to turn in some final forms, just as the office was opening up, hoping to catch them before it got packed.

We approached the only open window and I asked the woman, in Romanian, “Do you speak English?”

The usual response when you ask this of anyone under 40 in Bucharest, especially at Immigration, is, “Yes, of course,” accompanied by a look of gentle disdain, as if they were insulted that you would even imply they may not understand how to speak English.

Yesterday’s answer was funnier.

“No, I don’t speak English.  I live in Romania.  I speak Romanian,” she told me curtly.  I couldn’t tell if she was trying to be funny or if she was crabby or if she was just telling me facts.

“OK,” I told her in Romanian, “It’s not a problem.  I speak a little Romanian, but not very well.”

“I speak it very well,” she interrupted.  “You’re in Romania now.  We speak Romanian here. What do you need?”

From there, I somehow got myself understood, turned in the final forms, and left satisfied that the first and hardest portion of our Visas was now complete.


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