Fuck Romania(n Street Dogs)

December 29, 2012

January 2012- I adopt a dog from a shelter in Hungary.

August 2012- I decide to move to Romania to continue my studies.

October 2012- I arrive in Romania and notice an exceptional amount of street dogs but see my dog handles them well.

November 2012- Street dog attacks my dog and bites my shoe. No damage done.

December 2012- Freakiest night of my life. 2 streets dogs fighting each other and running up and down the street. They notice my dog and I and come heading towards us. I attempt to keep myself composed and simply walk away with my dog. We are followed for the next ten minutes back home by 2 angry dogs that seem ready to leap at us at any point. It’s 3am, no one is outside, if they decide to attack- we’re fucked.

Fact- every day Romanian ER’s receive victims of street dog attacks. Many severely injured.

Fact- there are not enough shelters in Romania to accomodate all the street dogs and not enough resources to neuter them all.

Fact- Romanians buy pure bred dogs, I haven’t seen anyone walk a mutt since arriving here.

Solution- Ban breeding and selling of pure breds and encourage adoption of street dogs.

Solution 2- Either find the resources to take them off the streets or kill them. I am not one to advocate killing animals but a red line has been crossed here long ago and enough is enough.

Ending- One hour later and I’m still shaken up. Won’t be taking my dog out anytime soon. 

Ending 2- Fuck Romania for being a member of the EU but still behaving like the worst of the 3rd world.


Obtaining a Romanian Student Visa

December 8, 2012

Requirements:

To do in your home country:

1-Birth Certificate: translated and notarized

2-High school Diploma: translated and notarized

3-Honor certificate from home-country police: translated and notarized

4-if you’re more than 26 years old–>Health insurance covering a minimum of 30,000 euros (though i recommend you should all have it just in case)

To do in Romania:

5-Color copy of first 4 pages of passport and of the page where your entry was stamped

6-Letter of acceptance from the Romanian Ministry of Education

7-Certificate from University stating you have paid full tuition and are a registered student (‘Adverinta‘) as well as proof from the bank that you have transferred the tuition money

8-Rental contract stamped by the local Municipality

9-Medical bill of health (‘Adverinta Medicala‘)

10-A statement from your Romanian bank account that it holds a minimum of 2000 euros (the statement is valid for 5 days so get it right before the trip).

11-120 euros in cash (to be paid at the consulate)

12-2 passport pictures

13-Application form

Process:

Seeing as Moldova is the closest country, it’s cheapest and easiest to go there to obtain the Visa.

You need to get to the Romanian Consulate in Chisinau, the address: Str.Grigore Ureghe No.2. It’s open Monday through Friday 8:00-11:00/13:00.

Don’t wait with the rest of the people outside, just walk in past the soldiers and ask for a number.

After submitting all the documents and paying the 120euros they will tell you to come back around one month later to pick up your visa because they need to paste it into your passport.

Once you have your visa and are back in Romania there is a process here that needs to be done in order for the visa to be officially approved. Go to the local police station with the visa and they will further instruct you.

Make sure you have at least 200 Moldovan Lei with you (taxi rides run around 30-50 lei wherever you’re going) and make sure you have a backup sleeping plan in case you get stuck there for one night (happens to most people).

If you have any free time/ need to restore your mental health, there is a new mall: Moldova Mall that will help you forget where you are (also has a bank and a supermarket).

Buses to Bucarest and Iasi leave from “Gara de Sud”.

Good luck and bring toilet paper with you!


Moldova: Not for the Faint Hearted!

December 7, 2012

As they say- Shit happens. And in my case- I moved to Romania, needed a student visa, ended up in Chisinau, Moldova attempting to obtain it (details on how and where to do it will be in the next post since the requirements and process details are nowhere to be found and are handed down like a campfire story).

So, on with it:

I left Osher with a Pakistani guy and boarded the 6:45 a.m. “bus” (hardly a bus, hardly on time since we left at 7:30). I then fell asleep and was awoken an hour later by a border policeman tapping me. Stamped my passport in Romania, stamped it in Moldova and there we were, driving along the Moldovan “highways” in a snow-storm. You may be wondering what my first Moldovan experience was, and I am more than eager to tell you all about it and everything else that happened on my 38 hour journey back in time.

At the Moldovan border, a battalion of Moldovan soldiers boarded the “bus” and, along with the local radio station that was playing full volume, sang 1950’s American Christmas songs (an experience to be repeated on the bus ride back. I am now the only Jew in the world that can sing them all, word for word, and present them in Moldovan).

Shortly before reaching Chisinau (the capital, where 33% of the country lives), we were lucky enough to witness a head-on collision of 2 vehicles which left one turned over at the side of the road and the other in a million pieces all over the road (nothing was left in tact but the roof). There were 2 dead people inside. So, the driver swerved around all of this and a short hour later we arrived in Chisinau after 5 hours with no bathroom or smoking break.

The driver let us off in the middle of a street, a 5 minute walk from the actual station. Seeing as there was a snow-storm and Chisinau has no street draining holes, I would hardly call any of them streets, they were more like rivers of mud. So, I get off the bus and here’s the first thing that greets me:

(There were many more all over the place but I figured this picture sums it up).

After my 2 morning coffees at home and no bathroom break, I headed towards the station and found the toilets! Then went to exchange money cause I needed Moldovan Lei, went back to the toilets, paid, and walked in to discover THIS is what I paid for:

The walls between the “stalls” were so low that everyone was watching everyone else wipe their ass and pull up their panties. Needless to say I left Moldova with a higher white blood cell count. Btw- I washed my hands with soap. Which seemed completely pointless at the time and still does at this moment.

Next I headed to the Romanian Embassy. On their website it said you go there to do the visa and they’re open 13-16. Couldn’t for the life of me figure out the bus system so I took a cab. Moldovan taxis don’t have meters. You need to argue the price every.single.time. And did I mention they don’t speak a word of any language that isn’t Moldovan or Russian? Got to the embassy, freezing and soaking wet despite my European-style layering (thanks to my Norwegian friends for teaching me these skills!) and asked the soldier outside where to go. He rings a bell, a man answers saying I need to go to the consulate. He gives me their address and I walk around till I manage to stop a taxi. I Get inside and there are 2 gypsies that spend the next 5 minutes of the ride arguing the price with the driver until he finally just stopped in the middle of some street and threw them out.

Got to the consulate, got number 160, went inside, its number 120. Waited and hour and a half with dozens of Moldovans trying to get a Romanian passport because Romania is now in the EU (WTF indeed!). Finally my number! I walk over to the window and hand in my tons of documents that I think I needed (since I had no way of knowing what i actually needed).  The bitchy clerk lady goes through them, says everything is ok, I thank the gods that I nailed it AND THEN she says: 120 euros. I say: Huh? She says: 120 euros. I say: I have Moldovan money and a credit card. She says: 120 euros in cash. I say, give me 15 minutes, I’ll run to the bank and come back. She says: we close in 5 minutes and you also need to photocopy all your documents. I said: but I need to get back home, I can’t be stuck in Moldova for a night! She said: you need to leave.

Leave I did. and call my mommy I did. BUT I didn’t cry. Yay me. Then, go to the Mall I did.

Mommy found me a hotel. I bought a bottle of wine, a bottle opener and tons of chocolate, got 120 euros in cash and headed over to the hotel where I proceeded to (a) let pakistani guy know I’m stuck in Moldova (b) get wasted and (c) fall asleep naked cause I hadn’t brought anything with me and my clothes were soaked.

Woke up in the morning. Turns out that even the birds don’t chirp in the morning in Moldova. Anyhoos, had breakfast (hotel for 200 guests, breakfast room has 8 tables and all the yogurts were past their due date but I was all good with my eggs and some other weird breakfast thing I ate). Then, I headed back to the consulate!

This time I was number 37. Waited one hour in line. A guy clerk calls me over. Speaks no English, can’t figure out what I want even when I show him my visa application (which is in Romanian) and say “student visa” (which is also in Romanian). So he transfers me to a lady clerk. Also doesn’t speak English but takes my documents, makes a huge mess of them and then takes 30 minutes to try and organize them back again. Then, she looks at me and asks me in Romanian where is my health insurance document. I try to explain to her that (a) it’s right there and meets their regulations (b) according to their rules I don’t even need to present them with one because I’m not 26 years old and (c) the lady yesterday had no problem with it so wtf is the problem now?! I attempted this explanation in English, Spanish, Serbian, Arabic, a very broken combination of Romanian and Russian, until I finally just started yelling at her in Hebrew. At which point she asked me to go sit down. So I went and sat and she started taking care of other people. I was NOT a happy camper. 15 minutes later this guy calls me over to pay and asks for my passport. Then he says: Do you need you passport in the next few weeks? I said: (a) I study in Romania you idiot and I already told you I’m missing school to be here (b) I’m not allowed according to Moldovan law to walk the fucking streets without my passport so YES I NEED IT BACK ASSHOLE and (c) I generally can’t leave this shit-hole of a country without it! So he says: ok. We will give it back to you at 13:00 and you should wait here till then. Mind ya’ll its now 10:30. So I said: fuck that, I’m leaving, I’ll come back at 13:00. You know why? because I had my American passport in my pocket. Take that Bitches!

So, I went over to the mall to tweet about my morning. Then went sightseeing at -10 degrees, then went back to the consulate at 13:00. The passport was nowhere to be found. They said: wait. I waited 20 minutes till they found it, went outside and searched for a cab to get to the bus station. Got picked up by a driver that ran 3 errands on the way. He left me off at the bus station which is outside the city in the middle of a pile of snow and cow shit.

At the station I go ask a lady when is the bus to Iasi. She says: at three. wait. I said: ok. So I took a walk, came back at 14:30 and noticed this board with numbers that kept changing next to the name of the bus I needed. Found an English-speaking lady, eavesdropped on her entire phone conversation (she was firing someone). She then explained that’s the number of seats left and that I need to buy a ticket from the lady (yes yes, the same one that told me to wait for the bus). There were 2 seats left. I bought that damn ticket. Meanwhile, turns out this lady is Dutch and owns an organic farming company in Chisinau. Lives there alone, no family, no friends. YOLO I guess?

We get on the “bus” with marked seats and I need to sit right behind the driver= in front of the door. At -10 degrees.

We leave only 15 minutes late and on the way to the border must have stopped at least a dozen times. The driver takes on every single hitchhiker he sees because they pay him privately so he makes some extra money on his route. Then, about 400 meters from the border he stops, lifts up his seat and starts shoving all his bags under it so that the border police won’t catch it. We exit Moldova and at the Romanian border they ask us to go inside and show all our stuff. I immediately stuff all my cigg.packs into my pockets and show the policeman an empty bag. Back on the bus. This time, I entered with my American passport. Since my visa won’t be ready on time, I’m going to be here longer than is allowed. And since Romania is in the middle ages, they have no way of figuring out that both these passports belong to the same person.

Finally, after 6 hours on the “bus” (this time we had a peeing-same stalls as before- and smoking break along with the dozens of hitchhiker and bag-hiding stops), and after freezing to death on the fucking bus (heat wasn’t turned on, door was constantly opening, there were ice crystals on the INSIDE of the windows!) I arrived in Iasi, headed straight to McDonalds where I bought a ton of food, went home, walked the dog at -10 degrees and took a bath.

I’m pretty sure I’ve lost several nerve endings in my feet, my liver has sustained substantial damage and my mental health will never be the same.

Oh, did I forget to mention I need to go back to Moldova in a month to pick up the visa?

And did I forget to show you a 2012 Moldovan Ambulance?

Next time I go to Moldova, it’s with a chaperone who is at least a clinical psychologist if not a full blown psychiatrist.

(additional pictures from my journey and details about visa requirements will be posted soon).


My Experience With a Border Jack

July 21, 2012

In favor of those of you with/thinking-of-getting a Border Jack dog, I’ve decided to give you a few pointers and share my experience. So, here goes…

6 months ago, after a chain of failed ‘relationships’ I woke up one morning and decided to get a puppy. The next day I was en route to the shelter. After examining several cages with puppies of all shapes and sizes, when opening the cages the puppies ran back in fear, however, one of them darted forward and 5 minutes later, that puppy was to be named Osher (“Joy”) and was curled up in my arms waiting for a taxi, since the smallest leash I had brought with me was twice her size.

First thing I did was take her straight to the vet. She of course threw up all over me on the ride over and the vet proclaimed she had gas and that all was good. So, there we were on the 3 hour train ride home. Turned out it was worms. Lots of them. Long worms. And the dog was mellow during our first 2 weeks together.

The Worms Period

Once we skipped over that hurdle, it became abundantly clear that this dog was not mellow by nature. In fact, on a scale of 1-10 (taking into consideration this is a puppy we’re talking about and puppies are playful by their very nature), 10 being hyperactive even if you give it a tranquilizer, Osher was at least a 10.1 (the part about the tranquilizer later proved to be spot on). This evoked relentless internet-searches trying to find out what breed this off-the-wall puppy was.

The Forever Hyperactive Period

A conclusion was finally reached. This was  a Border-Jack: half Border Collie, half Jack Russel.

The Ups: intelligent, quick learner, fun, playful

The Downs: anxious, a bit neurotic, stubborn (making the ‘quick learner’ sometimes seem completely pointless), playful (not always in the nice cute way), mean (when she wants to be)

The Undecided: doesn’t play with many dogs or humans- only with some, fearful of/vicious to the rest.

Last thing worth noting- the Border Jack mixed breed is no mistake. They are bred purposefully for a game called “Flyball“. If you have any doubt about this, these dogs jump so high and run so fast, your first 2 months with them will prove this to you. I promise.

You can check out Osher’s flyball training here!

So, should you get one?

I did🙂

Osher


There Was 1 White Masai Woman, The Rest are Black

June 17, 2012

We’ve all been somewhat educated about Imperialism in Africa. In non other than History class which is ironic in and of itself seeing as we are still putting up puppet leaders, funding wars, controlling resources and attempting to westernize them.

Several years ago I happened upon Corinne Hofmann’s book The White Masai. It told her story- the story of a Swiss woman that had followed her Masai lover into the bush.

While we invest so much in modernizing Africa, when it comes to the bush-tribes, we’ve (relatively) chosen to leave them alone. Is it perhaps because the main sufferers are women?

Masai women are raped on a daily basis (according to western definition and law). They don’t have any remote chance at education, equal opportunity or decision making within their tribe, let alone within the country they live in.

Was imperialism not entirely in the wrong and, more importantly, should we perhaps bring some form of it back (publicly, admittedly), to those specific places where ancient practices blatantly come at the expense of women’s basic human rights (as defined by the united nations)?

You may wonder why I’m already jumping at the western world and not initially claiming we should encourage their local governments to get involved. My argument rests on the fact that though in some countries (Liberia is a prime example) women are making advancements, those are women from the big cities, women from villages where modernizations’ grasp has reached. Not bush-women.

Women in the western world have gained more power than women in Africa, as a whole. We have more say in our politics than they do. Dumping this responsibility on African governments is bound to produce (if at all) results that wouldn’t come anywhere near our definition of basic women’s rights. Not anytime in the near or distant future.

Which in my opinion leaves it up to us. Bringing back the dilemma of whether this would be ‘moral’ according to our western moral codes of conduct.

I tend to always go with helping every single woman on the planet. Even when it comes at the expense of cultural identity, because in a vast majority, this cultural identity was developed and promoted by men that always held the upper hand (literally).

Islamic women are finding a way to gain their rights within Islamic culture, as are religious Jewish women within Judaism.

It’s time to interfere, send in the ‘morality army’ and save these women.

Right Now.


I’m Too Smart To Be Living In Israel

May 25, 2012

Dozens of thousands of people are crossing the southern border into Israel and it seems everyone’s lost site of how relatively simple an issue this actually is. A few logical questions, and we can figure it all out.

1- WHY are they coming?

  • Because they live in war zones and either chose to run away or are forced to run away.
  • Because of globalization. People that are suffering where they are tend to want to make a better life for themselves.

2- WHY should we have to deal with this?

  • Because we are financing these wars, we’re training combatants in these regions, we’re supplying them with weapons. So, generally, because we went into their countries way before they came into ours. And because we helped generate the problem forcing them out.
  • I guess you could also mention how England sent our ships back to Germany and we’re kind of doing the same to them. But, seeing how we helped the Serbians murder thousands of Bosnians, I’m pretty sure that argument doesn’t fly with anyone anymore.

3- WHAT should we do?

  • Stop funding wars in other countries and start dealing with our own crap.
  • Give them refugee status and everything that goes along with it.
  • Give them work permits instead of importing dozens of thousands of workers from south East Asia every year at a higher expense.

4- WHY AREN’T we doing all these logical things?

  • Because for the govt. it’s worthwhile keeping these people at “infiltrator” status and not upgrading them to “refugee”.

5- WHY is it worthwhile keeping them at “infiltrator”?

  • Because if they were to be given refugee status, that would require (in the govt. opinion, not in actual finance logic) spending more money
  • It would also, and more importantly, require giving them blue ID cards which we only like to give to Jews.

Oh my god! This was so easy to figure out! I can’t believe it took me only 5 minutes.

All the more proof that I’m too smart to be living in Israel.


What I learned in Med School

May 18, 2012

You may find it presumptuous of me to be writing this while I still have (at the very least) 3 more years ahead of me.

However, seeing as this may in fact be my last month in med school, since at the end of June I may be thrown out (either for being too stupid or too smart- you know me, you decide), it’s a now-or-never kind of thing.

So, Now.

  • Studying 12 hours a day will teach you more about the complexion of your hair than it will about complexes in the body
  • Histology slides can make you cry
  • Relying on my dog’s urine and stool output as a tell-all of its health isn’t that reliable
  • Self doubt goes a long way. Sometimes, way too long
  • If it ever came down to it, I’d know what to do in an emergency only because of Grey’s Anatomy
  • Seeing dead chicks in my dog’s mouth didn’t feel the same as when I saw them in Microbiology lab
  • And finally, the number one lesson I learned: there are nice neighbors and less-nice neighbors. You can tell them apart because the nice ones will feed your dog.

And on that note,


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