On Monday I got a call from my boss’s boss. He asked me to take a deep breath, which is not the kind of thing you want to hear when your company just announced lay-offs the week before. So I took a deep breath and listened as he told me my “name had come up” to run the office in Cluj and asked if I would be interested.
It took a few beats to register that I had just been asked to move to Romania, which he kindly clarified as an option not a mandate. My first reaction was to tell him I didn’t think that would work for husband and me, but I also said I would think about it. That night I called husband, who was in London. He was unimpressed and informed me if I moved to Romania I would be moving there by myself. His reaction was predictable enough. He had, after all, been hoping for a corporate transfer to California, a far cry from the “-nia” now on the table.
Somehow, though, I couldn’t shake the idea of moving to the land of Nadia Comaneci and Dracula, and the next morning I composed an email to husband telling him I thought we should at least consider the merits of the offer. I enumerated those as a more southerly latitude, the opportunity for him to become a kept man and spend a year indulging his creativity, maybe by making a documentary, and the fact that I already had the title for the book I was going to write, Getting a Cluj: Letters from Transylvania. Whatever I said worked, and husband soon started emailing me lists of demands for when I spoke to my boss’s boss later that day — we both agreed the assignment would have to be limited to a year. Husband also told our friend R. about our potential move, who responded by tagging us in pictures of Romania on Facebook that looked like stills from Borat (see above shot of Black Sea bathing beauties on Romania’s version of Muscle Beach). By the end of the day husband was referring to himself as “Count” and had decided that his documentary would be a daily video diary in which he morphs into Bram Stoker’s Dracula one crushed velvet jacket, top hat, and long fingernail at a time.
Unfortunately, I had also had another call with my boss’s boss by the end of the day, who informed me the assignment was for two years. Again I told him I would think about it, which husband and I did that evening over a bottle of red, this being a bottle-of-wine kind of discussion if ever there was one. Despite our best efforts to convince ourselves otherwise, we concluded our curiosity had a one-year limit. And so on Wednesday I sent my boss’s boss a polite email explaining that two years was out of the question, but noting that I thought we could make it work for a year along with the standard drivel about my “confidence in my ability to make an impact” in that time frame.
I expected a prompt reply thanking me for considering it, reiterating the necessity of a two-year commitment, and closing the matter. Instead, more than twenty-four hours later, I’ve gotten no response. Could he possibly be considering my twelve-month proposal? For the moment, the dream of living in the land of Nadia Comaneci and Dracula lives on.