Well, it's Thursday night, in Kraków. Watching chess, at the desk with the lamp on. Ewa behind me on the bed, crossed legged and comp in lap. She's watching City of God.
It looks like I'll be staying in Poland. It was beginning to seem doubtful. All these problems, constantly arising. I'm convinced there's a form of torture known as the Polish bureaucratic torture method. First you're made to think something is possible, and then an endless array of ingeniously pointless complications are put before you, until it reaches a magnificent crescendo of absurdity and you either give up in despair or die laughing. We didn't die but we despaired and laughed a lot.
It was the combination of two things which really made our situation difficult and kind of absurd. Firstly we needed a lease agreement: these are not popular in Poland. And secondly we needed to submit the application with 45 days left on my 90 day visa, of which 42 had already passed. So already we felt like fugitives, frantically trying to arrange this thing that isn't customary in Poland. But it wasn't only a lease agreement, you also need proof of ownership by the person issuing the lease. The very last place we looked at happened to be the one we liked most, and it was owned by nice people and they agreed to help us. So we were just fortunate in the end. And a final complication: when signing the official lease agreement at the public notary's office, an official translator should be present, so that I clearly understand the terms of the agreement. Sounds reasonable. Except that Ewa can speak perfect English, and I trust her implicitly anyway. Where to find an official translator at 10 in the morning when you're meeting at 3 that day? Ewa found someone, and begged him to postpone his other appointments and he mercifully agreed. So with a day and two hours to spare we'd submitted everything, my residency permit application had been started, and we trained back to Krakow in a kind of euphoric stupor.
We thought about setting up a business, helping Australian's get working papers here. And in return we'd only ask for a jar of crunchy peanut butter or some vegemite. Or a bottle of good savignon blanc for Ewa if they had room.
Cabbage, n. A familiar kitchen-garden vegetable about as large and wise as a man's head. The cabbage is so called from Cabagius, a prince who on ascending the throne issued a decree appointing a High Council of Empire consisting of the members of his predecessor's Ministry and the cabbages in the royal garden. When any of his Majesty's measures of state policy miscarried conspicuously it was gravely announced that several members of the High Council had been beheaded, and his murmuring subjects were appeased.