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Jet Lagged but Happy

We arrived here in Romania two days ago, and I have to admit, I'm still really trashed with jet lag. We're staying with Bogdan's mother for a few days, and you can see on her face how confused she is that all we do is sit around and doze off to sleep. I hope she understands that this will pass, and we can be normal human beings. We've not been complete vegetables, but pretty close. We were able to walk down the hill to the village square and hire a man to translate my passport into Romanian, but of course we took a taxi back so as not to have to climb the hill again. I'm proud of that waste of cash.

We also stopped on day one to purchase two oscillating fans. Let's see if I can explain this one. In Romania, there is a cultural norm that says that you should never feel a draft, or you will instantly get sick. The research I've done suggests that there is some folkloric notion that evil, and therefore disease, travels on the wind. Romanians don't really make that connection in their minds, but there is a general sense that sitting in a draft is deadly. If you're in a cab, or on a train, or a bus, people will close all of the windows in the heat of summer to avoid "curent". When I was teaching here, we build a brand new library and the air conditioning vent blew directly toward the circulation desk. I had employees who told me they would have to resign if I couldn't re-direct the air flow away from the staff. Luckily, it was easy enough to flip the vent and blow the cool air upward. They take this very seriously. I tell this story, because we just brought two electric fans into Cati's apartment, and have our hair blowing in the wind created. She's been wearing a scarf around her neck since we arrived.

But other than that breach of cultural norms, we've really been enjoying the trip. The weather is lovely, and I can see the mountains from my window, through the chestnut tree, and hear the roosters crowing each morning. The later is not a bother, since jet lag ensures that we're wide awake before the chickens.

Bogdan's mom is a wonderful cook, and we've been eating royally. I've opted not to take my blood sugar readings for a few days, but I'm almost certain that I'll be horrified when I do. She not only creates amazing deserts, but she also makes her own liqueurs out of fruit and flowers. So I take the meds, and figure I can survive until next week, when we will be on our own for meals.

The good news is that the business has been approved by the Ministry, therefore we are officially multi-national businessmen running an international art business empire. We were able to keep the same name as our US company, Buburuza Productions, and have established a limited liability partnership here in Romania. That means that I will be able to get a special business visa that will allow me to stay in Romania for longer periods of time, and be able to make money here in the country, without any real residency requirements. I think I will need to cross the border into Romania twice a year, but very little else will be required. The Romanian government is trying to entice people to return to the country, so my tax rate is 3 percent on my earnings. If I hire a Romanian, my taxes drop down to 1 percent. Either way, it will hardly break the bank.

Next week we will move to an Air BnB flat in Bucharest, and will finish off all of the paperwork for the visa, establish the services of an accountant, open a bank account, and catch up with loads of friends we haven't seen in years. We're also scoping out any properties that might be for sale in a village nearby where Bogdan's extended family all live. It's a short commute into the capital, and will allow us to have a network of family members to help out, watch the property when we're away, and make it easier to reconnect with Bogdan's relatives who he's not seen in ages.

The hope is that we will be able to purchase some land, around an acre or so, with a house already on it, for around $30,000. Then we can build the studio space, storage space, and living quarters for ourselves, and Bogdan's mother. We're imagining a compound of sorts, with lots of garden areas, an outdoor summer kitchen, bread oven, and barn. We might even be able to afford a guest house, where we can host visitors or perhaps even start an artist residency program. We're thinking that our money will go so much farther here than back in the States.

So the journey has begun. I know there will be all sorts of cultural, legal, and emotional hurdles for us to face, but at this early stage, while the jet lag rules supreme, it's all positive and possible. The trick will be to fashion a dream big enough, and strong enough, to weather the evil drafts that are coming our way.

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