30 March 2006

Incommunicado

Just wanted to let everyone know that I'll be out of touch for a while. The panic is setting in, as I've suddenly realized how late in the year it is and how far behind I am from where I need to be. So most fun stuff, blogging included, is off the list of permissible activites until I get caught up. Rest assured, I still love you all just as much (or as little) as I ever did, and if you send me an e-mail I will respond, I just won't be posting here for a bit. And if anyone wants to write my thesis for me, I'll be back in the world of communication that much quicker. ;) (NO, that would be very, VERY wrong. And yet so much easier...)

So until that distant day, continue to "think lovely wonderful thoughts, and they [will] lift you up in the air."

11 March 2006

Adventures in Banking

As much as I do like living in Poland, there are times when my appreciation for my host (hostess?) country wanes a bit. Such as, when I've been trying to open a bank account for 2 months and it's still not open. No, that's not entirely accurate, I can now put money into the account, I just can't take it out.

Let's go back to January, when my wallet was stolen and I decided it was a good time to close out my bank account, since I wasn't really happy with my bank and there was only 3 zloty in the account. I went into my local branch, told them my wallet had been stolen (with my bank card inside, of course), and I'd like to close the account. The only ID I had was my Washington state driver's license, but it's got my picture & signature on it so it shouldn't be a problem, right? Oh wait, this is Poland. I couldn't close my account here in Poznan, in person, with a photo ID, because the account was opened in Walcz (the town I lived in for one year, for those of you who are new to the program). In fact, they wouldn't even tell me if anyone had tried to access the account, because I didn't have my bank card.(???) But, I could send a letter to the Walcz branch asking them to close the account. Yes, a letter. No ID, not even a copy of one, just a letter.

OK, step one, old account closed. I found an online bank that offers online banking, no fee accounts, and they pay interest, AND their website has an English version! So I called them, they walked me through the online application for an account, and I waited for the paperwork to come in the mail. It came in a relatively timely manner, I filled it out, copied my new IDs, and mailed it all back to them. Then I waited. Two weeks later, I called them again. Oh, there's another form I need to send in, it's on the website, ok, I printed it, filled it out, mailed it. Then the fun began.

I got a call from a bank representative. She didn't speak English. She asked if there was someone who spoke Polish she could speak to. She managed to communicate to me that I had put the wrong information on the form & I'd have to send it again. Of course I couldn't just correct it over the phone, have you forgotten I'm in Poland? Fine, I printed, filled in & mailed the form again. A few days later I called to find out if my account was active & was told they'd just received the form but it was wrong again. The woman couldn't tell me why because she didn't have access to the form. Not to worry, I got a call the next day. Again no English, again the form is wrong & by the way we need another form as well. Swell.

This brings us to last Wednesday, when I again printed & filled in the form, photocopied the additional info they needed & mailed it all off. I just called them & the account is still not active, though they have received the form. No word on whether it's correct or not, I should call back on Monday.

With any luck, I'll have an active bank account by this time next year.

05 March 2006

Christianity Confuses Me

Oscars! Nominee Michelle Williams dissed by High School

Girlfriend of Heath Ledger and Oscar Nominee Michelle Williams (Brokeback Mountain) has been disowned by her Santa Fe Christian High School. "Michelle Williams doesn't represent the values of this institution," Headmaster Jim Hopson said, "'Brokeback Mountain' basically promotes a lifestyle we don't promote."
http://www.2dayfm.com.au/music_news/headline_02


So apparently, they had no problem with her having a baby with Heath Ledger (who she isn't married to, as far as I know), or being on a TV show that "promoted" teen sex. It's been a while since my religion courses at university, but aren't those things against Christian teachings too? Why wasn't she "disowned" for any of that? And if anyone at that school actually SAW the movie, they'd see that her character was decidedly anti-gay.

This is what bothers me about religion, people seem to pick & choose the parts of it they want to adhere to & ignore the rest. It just strikes me as ridiculously inconsistent - if you're going to call yourself a Christian, shouldn't you follow ALL the rules, not just the ones you like?

Seriously, can anyone even attempt to explain this to me?

02 March 2006

Saying Goodbye Sucks

Apologies for the less-than-eloquent title, but it sums up my current attitude. The life of an ex-pat is naturally a transitory thing, with people coming into & going out of your life on a fairly regular basis. You learn not to get too attached to other ex-pats, because you know you'll be going your separate ways. But usually, the host country nationals stay put. Unless they go & marry ex-pats. And then the ex-pat's stupid company sends them back to their home country, and the host country national, being married to them, kind of has to go with them. And when that particular host country national is one of your best friends in the world, it pretty much sucks. On the upside, it gives me an excuse to visit Dublin. But that's the only silver lining I can find so far. Anyone who wants to play Pollyanna, now would be a good time.