Hai La Cabana!

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Petru, John, Ghita, Andrew, Daniel, Toader - Boys from the 11th grade and some of my best English speakers

After the 11A class begging and pleading for over a week to go with them to one of the student’s summer cabins this weekend, after many more reasons on the “do not go” side, I ended up saying yes to their offer to accompany them to the cabin. Friday at about 4pm, I headed over to Loredana and Teo’s house where I met up with them and a maxi-taxi filled with 17 year old boys. After about a 20 minute ride with occasional stops thrown in to pick up other students and to buy what looked like 5 grocery baskets worth of various meat for the grill, we arrived at the cabin. The cabin is located within the Rodna Mountains National Park. When my students talked about the “cabin” I expected it to be an average sized cabin, ya know, with 1, 2 bedrooms max, 1 floor, fireplace, little kitchen, etc. But no, oh no, what we parked in front of was totally different! Picture an enormous 2 story log house with the first floor having a kitchen and large enough dining area to seat 30 comfortably along with a 20 foot long wet bar. The second floor had 6 large rooms with 2 double beds in each room and 2 bathrooms. This was the king of all “cabins” and the fact that my student’s father owns it blew my mind. It was just another one of those things that I didn’t expect to see when I signed up for the Peace Corps.

There were supposed to be about 10 boys and 6 girls going on this adventure and it ended up being 12 boys and 2 girls which, in my opinion, ended up much better for the profs since we didn’t have to deal with as many crazy teenage hormones. The boys were typical boys and no one got too out of hand. When we got to the cabin, the first order of business was to set up camp which included bringing in the 40+ bottles of beer, some bottles of wine, and hard alcohol the boys decided to purchase before hand. Since there are no drinking age laws in Romania or school function/drinking laws for that matter, all we could do was threaten them with calling their parents and sending them home if they got wasted. Mind you, we were in the middle of nowhere, with no cell signal, nor any form of transportation. About 3 of the boys set out for the front yard where they lit the bonfire and started cooking our dinner. The rest of us entertained ourselves inside with just hanging out, talking, and eventually playing cards for about 5 hours straight.

With playing cards for so long, we didn’t end up finishing a single game. Every game we played ended up with someone cheating and messing it up even after an hour long Uno game. I ended up teaching the boys Uno and Slap and we ended up laying some Texas hold’em too with ripped up paper for chips that would get stolen as soon as you laid them on the table. Finally around 3pm we decided it was time to corral them all upstairs and off to bed. After the obligatory, half hour of giggling and running around before bed that comes standard with any sleepover, things settled down, or so I thought and I ended up falling asleep only to be woken up 20 minutes later to running and slamming doors. When I burst into one of the rooms and started yelling at the boys to go to bed and to their own respective rooms, one boy was so scared and surprised by my forceful entrance, that he blurted out something in English and ran off to his room which caused the rest of up to break out into a fit of laughter for another solid 10 minutes. By 4/4:30 everything was back to normal and everyone finally fell asleep. I figured since they went to bed so late, they would sleep in late too. I was so silly and forgot that these are highschool students, whom at a sleepover, act just like 6 year olds waking up at the crack of dawn every Saturday to watch their favorite cartoons. Thus, I was once again woken up by stomping feet up and down the hallway at 7:30 in the morning.

The morning consisted of the typical hour long conversation with everyone in one room reminiscing of the previous nights shenanigans. After we made it downstairs, we decided to go outside and play a game of ultimate frisbee. After explaining the basics to the boys, we started our game outside, barely clothed, in below freezing temperatures. We played on a small piece of flat lawn that was covered in frozen grass which caused some very interesting slip and slide plays throughout the game. Half an hour later, we ended our game with my team losing 5-2. Around noon, the other professors and I decided to call it a day and headed back home which required a ride to the main road and some hitchhiking to finally get back into town.

All in all, I am happy to say I had a great time with my kids. I spent the night getting to know the ones I haven’t gotten a chance to connect with and getting to know the ones I already know even better. I was very surprised that they upheld their end of their bargain with me and spoke mostly in English. Even the ones that aren’t as advanced speakers, came out of their shells and spent most of the night speaking English with me which was probably my favorite part of the night. I am so grateful to teach these amazing kids and even more so that we get along so well in and outside the classroom.

Vasi (the one that usually cheated) with his plethora of Uno cards

Ghita and Andrew getting into the game

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