Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Getting ready for the journey back

As on my arrival, the skies are grey when I am about to leave. It was an incredible fast journey; I stayed a accumulated 6 days in my hometown, while the rest was spent in Cluj Napoca, where the doctor was and in between (travelling back and forth). Naturally, I am beat and just look forward for all this to end. I definitely knew why I do not like going back in the Winter regardless of the big fuss around the holidays,family gatherings and all that. Summer rules all the way!! Hopefully, I had my share of negative stuff (ache, travel, problems etc) for the whole year and everything would be smooth sailing from now on.
I look forward on going back (although it looks pretty chill on the other side of the pond) and getting right into it (recuperate a lot). After all, Spring is just around the corner and Summer follows.:)

Saturday, January 20, 2007

The stupid Romanian political spectacle

I have always said there is no political class in Romania. We are being led by a bunch of fat, illiterate, most of the time former communist free-riders who can barely speak two intelligible sentences. The latest scandal involving the President (a charismatic but probably corrupt character) and Prime minister (widely known as an affiliate of big oil companies and other businesses) brings all this dirt up showing what Balkan and Eastern political face we put upfront in Brussels. Huge mass-media attention, talk-shows and analysis all involving two-ways corruption accusations between the two power players in the State, it's all just a insipid circus which probably will go without even a result (regardless of the gravity of these accusations which should at least trigger an investigation by the Justice Department, allegedly independent, right?). All this makes me sick and I truly fail to see some hope for the future. The dream of EU is here but,however, we don't have a sequel for it. Working abroad, no matter how many and how good, will not insure the economic growth we need and its sustainability. Corruption, still, remains predominant; the only upside is that it's getting concentrated towards the upper classes and where the "Big Bucks" are. With joining the EU, all the best human resources (which haven't had the chance of leaving before) e.g. doctors, engineers, etc. will migrate towards other European countries, leaving here nothing but dominant low-quality specialists and old people. again, wake up people!!! and smell the coffee (or in this case, the dust): we are far from good, and we are getting worse. The quality of education goes down, there is no strategic orientation, NOTHING but a bunch of uneducated old-school clowns which call themselves politicians which have lived good lives during the communism also, but nowadays are doing even better thanks to their sharp elbows and their low self-esteem when it comes to lying, stealing or cheating, all for their personal and nepotistic interest.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Always on the Road

Once again and for the last time, I have traveled between Cluj Napoca and Sighet. This time using a different route (through Baia Mare) and mode (hitchhiking) which proved to be significantly better both in terms of time (approx. 4 instead of the usual 5hrs trip) and quality (by car seems better than by bus -too many stops and people on and off all the time). Romania is on code yellow these days due to a storm that reached the hurricane status, but besides some nasty storms and some trees that have fallen off no significant damage (unlike in Germany or Holland) has been recorded. Seems a bit like Spring (temps, quick changes etc) but starting early February the snow is due to make a come-back. How strong, we'll have to wait and see. I have now another 5 days or so to "enjoy" at home (I have tonnes and tonnes of stuff to do) and after that a final trip to Cluj and from there off to the New Continent. It has been a quick but painful Romanian interlude (I cannot call this "vacation") and hopefully it will be worthwhile since the time, physical and financial effort were considerable.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Back again

Although the circumstances around my return to Romania are quite upsetting,still, I do appreciate (not as much as last time) coming again here. The dynamics is shifting all the time and you get different feelings every time you get back. Friends are scarcer, people change a lot, times and places also. However, some things never change and they work sometimes in my favor. A good 8 hrs sleep, good food and family around is something that has no substitute on "the other side". Setting up a balance is pointless since there are many things here that I strongly oppose, you just need to put them aside and enjoy whatever you have left of the others.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Travel notes in Romania

Notes from a foggy winter journey through northern Transylvania.

It's funny but every time I come back I feel more and more stranger to my native land. The grey, the fog, the country side striped by winter of anything vivid or beautiful, all pictured a cold and estranged Transylvanian reality that you probably experience best in stupid Hollywoodian vampire movies trying to impress viewers with shocking close-to-reality footage of such villages. But it is a first for me to perceive it in this way. New founded exogenous instrumental variables for econometric analysis such as the average heating intensity in commercial spaces in a city (as well as the average air conditioning happening in the summer time per capita) could easily proxy for economic growth or income per capita if we wouldn't have such available data. Unfortunately, we do and it's easy to see correlations with the above which also in the same lines.
Romania, forget EU! forget this crapy fantasy and false hopes that have been fed to you for decades. No americans are coming! no Europeans will save us, but ourselves. Stupid New Year parties all with blue and stars flags; yeah, it's good that we got it the Union but that doesn't do it all for us. Big struggles are just ahead. And today's reality bites hard indeed. You just need to have a morning cruise into any city and have the same picture: retirees with 20 years old coats carrying their heavily dressed grandchildren to schools. The morning chill take its toll. Cold indeed. Everywhere. Houses. Schools. Stores. Just the wise ones are better off. And of course, wise usually doesn't coincide with honest which always has pissed me off. I soon remembered why I decided to go. Grey is omnipresent dominating my thoughts, views and obsessing me with its heavy presence so hard to ignore. However, somehow, people still smile, children spread their candor and hope gets wings from the ashes of sweat and fight of generations most quickly erased by just a signature of a corrupt minister who can barely know how to power his 3000 euros powerbook. Today's big scandals reveal a huge amount of taxes illegally placed by such local bureaucrats (this guys can barely speak and write correctly) Mairs in their greed for deeper pockets from where it is easier to steal. Transylvania is a nicer place than the rest; people here have more decency than the average Romanians. However, a sheep among wolfs..eventually starts to bite also. I am also totally disappointed in the brainwashing undergoing by all the press overstating the joy and happiness around Romania's ascension to EU.
Uncertainty is a tricky business, it can get you through the day but it can drive you mad in a matter of days, just as well. Depends on the scale and on which side of the glass (the full or the empty one) is your God given subjective observing power. ..:)) The crayon in my hand is trembling tremendously as our bus from Cluj Napoca is heading towards Sighetu Marmatiei. Our roads:))..dancing and swirling in numerous curves, defining the long and bumpy (plenty of holes in some portions) but excellent scenic-wise road to home. I have to struggle quite a bit to keep writing but I am exhausted as it is and I think I'm gonna quit now. It has been 4 long days without sleep and I feel like a zombie, slowly sliding into its own mute personal reality. No power, no will...just a cool pencil in a shivering hand while the greyness embraces me in an attempt of a quick but refreshing nap.

A bitter question of trust

I had a lot of bad experiences with bad but mercantile dentists throughout my life but I wasn't conceiving that something like this will happen to me also in the US, the country of million lawsuits and malpractice legal procedures. I guess the only thing left to do is to act like a Roman (while in Rome) and drop a seed of suit on this bad dentist to recuperate at least a small part of my loss in a monetary form.
Because of him and his actions, I had to leave everything behind, put my research and life on hold and fly back to Romania and get the problem fixed right away, since it is quite serious and it could get easily very ugly. But again, the sad question remains unrelated to money (although I had to spend/lose a lot to do the things described above) but to trust and incentives. Does it have to be all about money? We want to become doctors nowadays to get more financial gains out of it, while disregarding the patients statuses and running the bills on them, or it should be a question of compatibility and desire to help other human beings? If you put it like this, the answer is obvious. However, reality is not. The imperfect information that the supply of health market enjoys it is hard to set-up rules that will protect the customers without involving such big social losses that intermediaries such lawyers enjoy, which ultimately do us all a negative favor by pushing the prices up as a buffer for all these doctors on which to land on when the shhht hits the fan.
In the end it's just a sad question of trust in your doctor, especially for those who don't do their homework (goggle-ing or asking around before they decide for some intervention) and information (why we don't have a ranking system or a GPA posting for doctors?) out of which each one gets out as he or she best knows how.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Final touch

I have attached the final piece to my newly acquired desktop: an Internet connection. Since wireless is my only solution I went again with D-Link (that I use on my laptop too) but this time a USB adaptor, which comes handy with an extension cord. I had trouble installing it (unlike other such adaptors) since Windows kept pointing me that is unable to detect any network and I had to figure out that a zero configuration was needed. After that, all was smooth sailing and the 30 bucks spent on this one seem to pay off just fine. I am still puzzled though as, why when I used other adaptors (which were not even "brand names") everything was just simple plug-install-and-play while now it was a different story.

Friday, January 05, 2007

What's up with the weather?

Is it just a passing El Nino or is global warming getting real-er every day?? Well...the jury is still out. Or maybe we just try to find excuses and reasons to hide behind the finger. This year we had the warmest December month in over 80 years in upstate NY. Moreover, up until now (January the 5th)..still NO SNOW at all..which is odd indeed. On top of that, you have now 60 something (14C) degrees outside, people in T-shirts and unhappy skiers and snowboarders probably. The problem however is not so much about them but the dimension of the impact it will have on the population, ecosystem and planet overall. Perhaps it's a good time to really think upon this issue.

My first hockey exposure

Today I had my first hockey experience. I was never exposed to this sport before, but I enjoyed this first. Although the timing wasn't perfect, since most of the students are still away from school thus depriving the game from some enthusiasm and atmosphere, I enjoyed the spectacle. RPI hosted tonight Harvard and I was expecting a good game ahead. However, the visitors were faster and more pragmatic, while the Engineers seemed timorated and missed a lot of opportunities. I left at half-time..a lot of packing to do these days...it was 3-0 already for Harvard and I wasn't enjoying the game as much. In the end, they lost 1-5, which is a bomer. Both RPI and Union trail the last two places in the ECAC standings along their tonights' oponents and Yale.