Monday, November 03, 2008

Misadventures in Mail

story one: OTP

Grab a seat, it's a long story. Back at the beginning of October, an ATM ate my card. My reaction was protesting in shock to Petra and random-woman-standing-behind-me-at-ATM, and shedding some tears to Tomi. All three of who calmly informed me that probably my card had simply expired, and hadn't I gotten a new one in the mail?

Well, no. So Tomi and I headed to OTP (major bank of Hungary) to sort things out. This was visit one. They explained that for reasons beyond their control, the new cards had gone out slowly this year, and I should just wait. I noticed that on my statement, they had two addresses for me: my mailing address at my school, Varga, where OTP had been sending my monthly statements, and my residence address, Kolozsvári utca, which was my first flat in Hungary. Where I haven't lived for... um... 16 months. So we corrected that, and I was sent home to wait.

one. Lacking other options, we agreed, and went home to wait the two weeks it would take for the Visit two, about a week later I was in the bank again to wire money to Hajni (I know the exact date, it was October 14th, because the money was due the 15th). While there, we thought it prudent to mention that I still hadn't received my new card, and... wasn't it possible that it had been sent to my old incorrect address and my ex-landlady had simply thrown it out (I, ahem, sorry karma, may have thrown out some of her mail while I was living there, so Iwouldn't have had hard feelings if she had tossed it). OTP service lady admitted this was possible, and thought it best to cancel the new card they may-or-may-not-have already sent, and issue a newnew card. We were sent home to wait two weeks for newnew card to arrive.

So today. It's November, no newnew card in sight. I need access to my paycheck. So, once again, we trudge to OTP, visit three. We patiently inquire if there's any news about my card. Service lady looks surprised, and says it should have arrived a month ago. We explain that it didn't. She says hm. We explain about the non-arrival of new card, and the cancellation of new card, and the ordering of newnew card. She says that, according to her magical computer, newnew card was never order. Tomi has some biting words for the efficiency of OTP, and I sign a paper ordering a newnewnew card (or maybe it's just a newnew card, since newnew card was never ordered in the first place...?). Service lady tells us to come in two weeks and pick it up.

But here's the cap of the story: this evening, as I'm sneaking into my school to make illegal copies for the extra lessons I shouldn't be teaching, I check my postbox out of habit. And guess what's there? The original new card. Turns out my landlady's not a total bitch after all; as I can reconstruct from the post stamps, the card arrived as it should have at my old address, current tenant gave it to landlady, landlady took it to her home in village-near-Szolnok to ponder what to do with it, ended up mailing it to my old school, and old school somehow got it to my mailbox in Varga. But now, it's been canceled, so it's worthless. Although, I now have serious doubts about OTP's ability to perform simple functions like canceling a card, so maybe I'll give it a try anyway. What's the worst that can happen? It gets eaten and we start this whole thing again...

story two: ITK

As I may have mentioned to one or two people, I'm taking the Magyar mint idegen nyelv vizsga (Hungarian as a second language exam) this Saturday. I mailed in my registration papers to ITK (idegennyelvi továbbképzõ központ, center for foreign language studies) mid-October, and was anxiously awaiting a letter in return confirming the registration and telling me when and where to show up to be tested.

Sunday, as I was gazing blankly into space, avoiding doing whatever work I was avoiding doing at the time, my eye came to rest on my copy of the registration paperwork. "Oh $%^&!" I yelled, causing both myself and Tomi to jump in out chairs. Just at that moment, I had noticed that instead of XX utca 4, my actual address, I had written XX utca 6.

So this mail mishap was totally my own fault, but it did involve a couple of adventures, first over to number 6 to speak to the woman who lives there. She was very kind and helpful; she had opened the letter and was able to tell us that there wasn't much info on it other than the date and time. After asking around her block of flats, if anyone knew some foreigner named Emily, she asked the postman to take it back. An adventure to the Szolnok Main Post Office told us that by now, my letter was probably back in Pest.... I hope they don't cancel my registration. Funny that I haven't even taken the test yet, de máris elrontottam :(

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