Two days after I returned from Jerusalem, I moved to Cluj-Napoca, the largest city in Transylvania. Located 280 miles (450 km) northwest of Bucharest, Cluj is 8+ hours on the train or less than an hour by air, which proved an easy choice for me. Given the huge expense of additional luggage, though, I shipped four boxes by courier, thanks to the help of the Commission, which covered these extra moving expenses as well as my flight. Of our Fulbright Scholars, I am the only one with an assignment divided between two cities; however, a couple of our ETAs also had splits.
My new home is a recently renovated one-bedroom apartment in a six-floor walk-up in another off-white, Soviet-era block building. Again, I am on the top floor without an elevator with 76 steps now compared to my 71 in Bucharest. So it goes. I had secured the apartment in December during a brief visit to Cluj. Although I needed only five months, I had to lease for a minimum of six months and then pay a half month’s rent as commission for the realtor. The result was a six-week overlap of my two apartments and a loss of over $1000 in double rents and utilities. Again, so it goes.
The payoff for me is that I now am located in the city center within easy walking (just 15 minutes!) of my new university, Babeș-Bolyai. No more 90 minutes on public transport trying to get home after class; no more overstuffed buses nor sweltering subways. I now am within close range of innumerable eateries and stores and most of the other Cluj Fulbrighters. I also have several creature comforts taken for granted back in the U.S.: a washer with dryer, a dishwasher, cable tv with English-language news, and, best of all, a thermostat to regulate the apartment’s temperature. I am a happy camper!
During my first week in Cluj, I met with our liaisons in both the theatre and English departments. We haven’t resolved my assignments or schedule yet—that won’t happen until the new term begins at the end of the month. At this point, all I know is that I’ll be directing a musical theatre workshop production after spring break and guest lecturing for both departments throughout the term. I would welcome more but am content not to have any graded courses given the challenges of attendance and language.