My name is Cristiana Crivatz and I became a teacher in the late 90s. I graduated Foreign Languages – French and English language and literature and I also have a degree in Translations and an MA in British Cultural Studies. I am a teacher of English and I am currently teaching in “Class”, a Language Centre founded by the British Council and the Teachers of English Association in Constanta, Romania. I am also the Head of Training at a drilling engineering training centre situated in the port.
My main focus is to create motivation and teach my students the way I know best. A special interest is cultural anthropology and for this reason I write from time to time about the shifts in society, about how life unfolds to me in a civilization that is constantly changing like fractals. Therefore, my goal is to instil good in people by motivating them to expand what they know and use their knowledge and creativity to better our lives.
My experience with teaching children and adults has reached the 12th year and I intend to continue and learn every day, as I love this job.
A visit to the Post Office
The other evening I went to the Post Office to buy a stamp for a card I had written and carried with me for too long. Of course the Post Office in my neighbourhood is open until 7 pm like it always was since I knew it. The building is an old one, flat and long, just the ground floor, no lights above the entrance, no Xmas thingies hanging…just a plain, unlit building with tall windows. Sunken in the dark as it has always been. Some things never change.
At first I thought it was closed for some strike reason as practically inside there were three dimmed neon lights in a room the size of a ballroom. It turned me back in time in split seconds, the same tiles on the floor, the same phone booths that nobody uses anymore, the same tall-to-my-chin tinted marble counter. It smells like iron scrap and humid walls.
The woman behind the counter with puffed-up hair like it’s candy floss looks at me over the shoulder under her glasses and asks: ‘What can I do for you?’
‘Do you have stamps for US?’
‘US?? Oh, no. I don’t think so. If you’re lucky, maybe I’ll find one…’
She pouts, looking through a pile of messy grey papers, but not really looking.
‘If I don’t find one, you’ll have to pay more. I can give you one for Europe and another stamp which covers the sum.’
‘Fine, how much more?’
She doesn’t reply.
Suddenly I remember the Post Office in Marseille, where I asked for some credit to charge my French card. The woman there had the attitude of a dead platypus too and when I asked if there are instructions of the credit I bought, she just said: “Je ne sais pas, presse 09 and parle avec le robot’.
This lady here is much scarier and I am almost riveted in this suspense and feel as if I am going to lose the big pot unless she finds that stamp. ‘Ah.’ She manages to find one. ‘There you go’.
She then goes back to loudly stamping her piles of papers and starts printing on a machine that is as old as the Post Office or older, one of those printers that go nee-ah; nee- ah; nee-ah – I can’t even remember their names. I can’t seem to be able to communicate with such people, not even at the level of “Have a good day!”
I go out of the Post Office and I notice two teenagers with checked bandanas, large jeans lowered to their butts, school-bags thrown on the ground, laughing and drawing graffiti on the wall: it reads – “Vampires will eat you”.
Couldn’t agree more with them.
Further on, there’s this greengrocer woman selling fruits and veggies at the bus stop outside on a very small and dodgy stall – she asks me who am I voting for in the elections.
I answer I want more oranges please and return the question: she proudly announces with a grin she votes for a man that wants to kill all Hungarians and shun them away from Romania, a man who would call for the armed forces if needed be, and there is a need because teenagers nowadays have no respect and spit on the streets and push old women on buses, and she feels this country should be taught a lesson and be run by force, by a strong hand.
‘Pretty lady, let me tell you how things are: we Romanians learn out of fear,’ she adds my pears in a very un-eco plastic bag.
Erm, fear? I leave her stall wishing her a good day and ponder: What did I learn out of fear? Hmmm, I must remember fear, it’s a pretty strong feeling… All I remember is a feeling – a grey, cold as steel bars, ash-tasting and pretty slithery down the spine feeling of fear when all the lights in the city used to be turned off for economy reasons and mom used to light up a candle so that I could learn multiplications by 6, 7, 8…etc. by heart.
Maybe that’s why I failed Arithmetic in high-school. Guess I was lucky I had a choice later to choose foreign languages, out of a hatred stirred by fear, fear of learning in the dark.
Cristiana blogs at bloggishinglyours.wordpress.com
Editor’s note: You can find another Romanian Post Office story at the Bucharest Life blog http://tinyurl.com/ycwy32f. The blog is written by a very funny British guy called Craig Turp. The Post Office picture on this page was taken from Craig’s blog bucharestlife.net.