The entry will be pretty long, so this is part 1 and part 2 will follow.
Paperwork, first. I think then unnecessarily-long process of getting our paperwork submitted is either done or just about done. About a week ago, Arpi told me that our tax numbers had been mailed to the school, but that they received a phone call stating that the postal service returned it as undeliverable. I’m not sure how that works…maybe it was addressed to me at the school’s address, but that is how I usually receive my mail. Arpi had to go pick it up from the office. Then Kellie and I had to get our bank account.
There are about 10 or 12 banks here in town, from small local ones to larger foreign ones. However, I decided to go with OTP (oh-tay-pay). It is one of the original state banks from the Communist era, so it has branches all over the country. There is a branch with normal business hours and a 24 hour ATM about five minutes away, right by our pizza place and grocery store. I’m still not sure if we will even use it or just use our Fidelity ATM card with our US money and let this build.
We walked in and waited for about 15 minutes before we were called up to the counter. The bank doesn’t have separate areas for teller and accounts like in the USA; there were just two tellers. We walked up to the lady who knew we would be arriving and she began to enter our information on the computer. She seemed to be having an unusual amount of difficulty so she kept calling the other teller, an English-speaking man, over to translate and help her. We were standing there for exactly one hour, and in that time the man who kept helping us, served 24 other customers.
We had to pay $8 US to open our account and since we are having three direct deposits a month, there is no monthly fee and the transaction fees are either zero or some tiny amount…I don’t remember. I decided that I’m not going to bother with comparing bank options, since we have to have one and I don’t know enough about the system here to compare, anyway.
Please note that the older man in the bank [who I call “employee #3”] is not only the armed security guard, but is also in charge of making photocopies for the tellers. Hmm.
Also, please note that this bank [can I extrapolate?] apparently doesn’t like filing systems. The teller’s workspace consisted of a computer/keyboard, a tiny patch of unused counter, and a large pile of customers’ document photocopies which was flowing to both sides like a mountain slope. If I knew Hungarian, I probably could have spent the hour reading lots of personal information off of the photocopied ID cards, statements, notes, etc. As we were asked to hand documents to her, they were put in their own pile, on top of this pile. You can bet that I triple-checked our documents before walking out the door to make sure I didn’t add to her pile of important papers that wen’t filed.
That was Monday. Yesterday and today, Kellie and I each signed our schools’ official instructions to the national treasury, authorizing our salaries. Arpi told me that the deposits should happen soon, though he doesn’t know when. Now Apri just needs to find out how we will obtain our health cards. That seems to be the only thing left.
Part 2 to follow…