The adventurous Christmas trip of our Moldovian ESC volunteers

Winter holidays were coming, usually everyone celebrates it at home with his family, but we were different this year. First, we were waiting for our residence permits to pass the border to home without any problems. Time was passing, and we still have not received our Residence Permits. Because of the Pandemic, the process went longer. We have to obtain the documents by post, and the New Year for the first time we did not meet at home, but abroad in the heart of Hungary, it was something different and beautiful, we met the New Year with those at home by video call, we had champagne, and we said wishes.

Exactly the day after the New Year, we requested a document from the “Emigration Office” a certificate which proves our legal stay in Hungary, and which will allow us to cross the border when we return to Hungary, said and done. We went home, an extremely long and tiring journey, but in the end, we found ourselves at home, all happy to meet the families.

Then the preparations for Ortodox Christmas began, which followed on January 7, we all prepared different dishes.

After the holidays, work from home followed, an interesting experience, but at home, other factors sometimes made home-office harder, many things that had to be solved in the time frame we were at home. We planned to come by car back to Budapest, and it was also a kind of challenge; the car had to be repaired, which took almost a week and many visits to the mechanic. By the whole duration of our vacation at home during which we had to stay first in quarantine then wait for the residence permits that were supposed to arrive by mail, other documents to be solved, something to be repaired, to help the parents, and finally to meet with our friends before the departure. But of course, all our plans had to be combined with our Volunteering duties on which we were working remotely, on which we then adapted, and it has already become a habit. In the last days when we planned to come back to Budapest, it started to snow heavily; the roads were snowy, and the cancellation of our long road trip. But instead, we saw the snow first time in the last two years, and only we didn’t manage to enjoy it, as we both had a good cold with a temperature and took the necessary treatment. Then followed the 5-day training “ESC On-Arrival Meeting 2021 Hungary”. We did not expect it to be so captivating, and all was done after remote adaptation. There was also interaction between the team members, and it was an appreciated activity for each participant. Before our trip back, the fever doesn’t leave us much, so we decided to do a COVID test, for which we received a negative answer on the second day.

In the last few days, we started the preparations for returning to Budapest, and we began to pack all our bags to prepare some food. We have loaded the car entirely with our staff, and the next morning we started our long way from Chisinau to Budapest that had been expected to be 12-14 hours by car. We didn’t expect it to be so tiring. We passed first border at Moldovian and Romanian check without problems; even if they checked each piece of luggage, they didn’t say anything. We entered into Romania and followed the most beautiful road, the one through the mountains, a landscape taken from a magical story, a road covered with many flakes of snow, and very high hills, a pity that we arrived at night through those landscapes, but fortunately, we managed to see enough beauty of nature. Midnight was approaching, and our eyes were getting more and more tired, after 10 hours, we finally arrived the Romanian-Hungarian border.

We waited for a while in line, and then when Customs police went to check the documents, there was a BIG SURPRISE. Our passports were red in the customs system, telling us that we exceeded by two days the three months that were allowed to stay in Hungary with Moldovian passports and without residence permits and wanted to ban us as well to return back to home. Instead, we had consent from the “Emigration Service”, which confirms that we were accepted for residence permits and that we would receive them by mail, so we had them with us. Despite all these documents, the customs officer did not want to accept them. All this did not have any other communication language, apart from Hungarian, which caused us great difficulties of communication at customs. For Doina, it was easy; she has shown them her Romanian passport, then they could not tell her anything because she has no problem as a Romanian citizen. But not for Petru, who continued negotiations in the next 3 hours to prove that we are entering legally, then they’re joined two more customs officers; there were already three on this said problem. In the end, they said that everything is right and it was a mistake by the system, and he wished us good luck and said that we are entirely legal in Hungary. In the end, we calmed down, continuing the rest of the way, which was the most tiring of this whole trip. Arriving on the highway, we did not raise the high speed due to tiredness. So we waited to get to a parking area, where we parked the car and fall asleep for 30 minutes. Then we managed to continue our way home to Budapest. In the end, we found ourselves close to the capital, and we loaded our car with fuel to make sure that we reached the end. In the 17th hour, we arrived exhausted, more hours than we expected. There were planned, as we said, 12-14 hours, but it took us 17-18 hours to drive such a long way. Arriving in the room we were surprised to find our Christmas tree, it was looking the same as we left it, none of the needles fell down, after we took all our stuff from the car we continued the long-awaited sleep, and 10 days of quarantine followed, tiring that we were only at home, and without walking outside or going to the office which we missed so much. So we had to stay those ten dull quarantine days. But it was ok, it’s over, and now after quarantine, we come back to the office, meet our colleagues and enjoy the walks outside. 

This is our story on how was our short trip home to Moldova.


The blog is written by ESC volunteers:
Petru and Doina