Monthly Archives: March 2012

Nice Surprise

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After I got home from tennis tonight, I got on my computer and immediately received a skype call from one of my best friends Joanna. I didn’t think anything of it until I saw 20 something 7 year old staring at me and yelling HIIII! She is an elementary school teacher and they were learning about money and decided to skype me to find out what money is like in Romania. I taught them about the Leu and taught them how to pronounce it. i showed them a 5lei bill, 10lei, and some coins and they were SO amused. Then Joanna let them ask me some questions and they were:

1. What kind of car do I have? – I had to tell them that many people here don’t have cars but they do have horse and buggies!

2. Do you have a boyfriend? – As soon as I said no, the whole class went..”awwwwwww.”

3. Do you have pets? – I told them about Ion and Porumbita and then showed them my turtles.

4. Do you have a tv? – I showed them my tiny little TV with built in VCR and only about 3 kids knew what a VCR was.

 

They were beyond cute and I can’t wait to come in and visit them during classtime when i’m at home. They seem pretty excited as well ūüôā

 

 

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Update

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Nothing of interest has been happening lately. I have one more week of classes until “Scoala Alt Fel” which is a new initiative this year. Scoala Alt Fel or “Another Type of School” was the ministry’s idea to create a week of school but not school. Each school is to do something with their students that isn’t sitting in a classroom and learning regular subjects. My school has come up with an idea of doing workshops throughout the week. So all 700ish students are required to participate every day in workshops such as poetry, film, music, art, photography, volunteerism, etc. The last two days will be dedicated to sports tournaments and the like and students with their homeroom teachers are allowed to take one day out of the week to go on a field trip. So in actuality, this upcoming week will be me last week of teaching until the end of April since we will be going into two weeks of spring break right after Scoala Alt Fel.

This past weekend I went to Cluj with some students to hang out for the day and watch The Hunger Games and can truly say that I’m fairly disappointed with the movie. But oh well. Nothing else really to state. The weather is beyond gorgeous today and its officially time for spring cleaning. I”ll be spending the rest of the day turning the apartment inside out and attempting to get rid of all of this dust.

Until next time,

Va pup!

Local Celebrity

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So the Singeorz TV people and I have become peeps. After my first TV interview for Valentine’s Day where instead of responding to “what are you called” with my name, I responded we “we are fine”…don’t ask. I was nervous. They have been back at the school a few times since taping random things and we have always exchanged pleasentries and jokes about my interview fiasco. For March 8th, I had the chance to redeem myself. Since I am still the novelty in town, everyone wants to hear the American girl speak. Naturally, I was the first person they interviewed about Women’s Day. This time, I did a much better job. Although I was still nervous as all hell and my 11A class felt the need to watch me be interviewed, I made it through unscathed and proud of myself that I understood everything. I can say I didn’t really answer with as much grace or Romanian knowledge as I would have liked to, but hey, you try being filmed in a foreign language that you haven’t even been speaking for a year and tell me how it feels! The student who’s parents own the building the TV studio is located in brought me a copy of what aired. So, on that note, enjoy!

8 Martie

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For those of you who don’t know what holiday falls on the 8th of March, i suggest you educate yourselves by continuing to read this post. March 8th is International Women’s Day and literally every country celebrates it, except for the USA…naturally. This is THE day of all days for females. We get adorned with flowers, candies, presents, hugs, and kisses. Today was my first day back to classes this week due to being sick and I couldn’t have picked a better time.

As soon as 8 o’clock hit and the teachers entered their classrooms, the female ones were adorned with flowers and plants of all varieties. I received 2 potted plants and the rest were gorgeous¬†bouquets¬†of¬†lilies¬†or tulips and single long stemmed roses. I even received a box of candies from a fellow teacher/good friend of mine. Nothing was really taught in class and we just kind of chit chatted with the students. at 11am, right before starting class, I found out that my entire 11A class skipped out and decided to go out to lunch. Oh thanks for peaceing out guys! By the time noon rolled around, classes got dismissed a little early and I, with the help of another set of hands, took all my flowers home.

All my wonderful flowers I received

Me and one of my students Alexandru

At 1pm all the teachers were expected back at school for a meeting. The male teachers put together a not so secret “surprise” lunch for the females that even included us being serenaded!

At around 2pm, Mary and I headed to one of the 3 restaurants in town to celebrate with her class which is 9D. I don’t get a chance to hang out with them much since I don’t teach them but they are a cool group of kids. We met them at the restaurant where the 8 boys in the class treated all the girls to a great lunch. It was a good time hanging out with them and joking around with them.

Today was a great day and I even got a chance to talk to the most important woman in my life, mama Branka, to wish her a happy March 8th.

Never a Dull Moment

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Travel

Whenever I travel in this country something ridiculous always¬†happens (please refer to post about Timisoara). This weekend was no exception. A group of PCVs had organized to meet in Iasi (about a 7 hour trip from my site) to hang out during the weekend. Since I hadn’t seen any of the volunteers since Christmas break, I decided to take a mini vacation from Singeorz-Bai and head on over.

For those of you that don’t remember I will explain how my specific train system works. CFR trains (the official Romanian railway company) does not pass through my site since it is down a dead end of sorts. Instead, they pass through Ilva Mica which is the town just south of me about 8km away. The trains that go West/East only have three options where they can get over the mountains. One, about an hour from me, another one in the middle of the country by Brasov, and the last one all together avoiding the mountains and passing below them through Ploiesti or Bucharest. Lucky for me, there is a private rail that runs through my valley that is owned by RegioTrans. This is a very small company and only operates in random locations within the country. The main purpose for the rail running through Sg is to haul wood to the main tracks. My area has a very large lumber industry. The lovely people of RegioTrans were geniuses when they thought of putting a few passenger trains on those tracks as well which lets me get out of site YAY!.

So, back to the travel day. My train from Ilva Mica was set to depart at 3:50 in the morning and would bring me into Iasi around 10am. It worked out perfectly since there is a RegioTrans train that leaves Sg at 3:20am and gets into Ilva Mica at 3:40. Yes, you read right. It takes about 20 minutes to travel 8km. So, that night I didn’t sleep a wink. I was busy putting the final touches on the grant I was working on and then figured there wasn’t a point in sleeping 2 hours only to wake up and be groggy and maybe even miss my train. I ended up skyping with a fellow volunteer until about 2am. At 3am, I set out for the train station which is about a 10 minute walk thinking I still had plenty of time to make it to the train. After a somewhat difficult trek due to the near blizzard conditions, and slamming my ass onto the slippery ice a few times, I finally made it to the train station at 3:12am. Not even a minute later, probably because he heard me yelp as I slipped and fell on the ice, the station controller came out and this is how the conversation went:

Man: “Unde mergeti?” (where are you going?)

Me: “Jos” (down)

Man: “…Sus?” (up?)

Me: “…nu, jos….” (no, down)

Man: “Pai, tocmai a plecat.Vine inapoi la ora 4:30” (well, it just left, it comes back at 4:30)

Me: as I look down at my watch and still see that it isn’t 3:20 yet “WHAT?!…uh…POFTITI?!” (this one i think you can figure out)

Man: “Sunati un taxi” (call a cab)

Me: “Aveti numar de taxi?” (Do you have a number for the taxi?)

Man: “Nu”

…great. thanks for your help old man! Here I am. absolutely fuming at 3:30 in the morning walking back down the street away from the gara (train station) thinking.. F this shit. I’m not gonna go anymore. I was supposed to meet up with Sara that was coming from Timisoara on the 4am train so I text her saying i’m not coming anymore and hate how this country can never run on time. Things are always early or late.¬†Author’s note; If you are my safety and security officer or anyone else from the PC office in Bucharest, I suggest you stop reading now because you will not be pleased with me. ¬†As I get to the main road, I see a car passing by and reflexively stick out my thumb. The driver pulls over, I tell him where i’m going, he says he is also going to the train station in Ilva Mica and gives me a lift. We chit chatted a little and he ran through the basic questions of who I am, where I am from, if I am married, what religion I am, and how much money I make. We arrived to the train station at about 3:40am without a problem. In hindsight, hitchhiking wasn’t the smartest idea, especially not at 3am and I don’t plan on making this a normal form of transportation but I was so livid at that point that I didn’t really even think about it.

My train came, I got on, and at about 5am I fell asleep until Sara came into my room around 8am.

The weekend in Iasi was very relaxing. We rented out an amazing apartment that ended up being just as cheap as if we had stayed at a hostel. I honestly can’t say that anything exciting happened. We just pretty much stayed inside most of the weekend and enjoyed each others company while eating American themed meals. I caught the 11am train on Sunday morning back home and it got me to Ilva Mica around 5:40pm.

Dudu

Dudu is a friend that I had the pleasure of meeting back during the summer. I met him and his wife along with a few others during a summer weekend when I joined my counterpart Mary and her friends at a¬†barbecue¬†in the mountains. Both Dudu and his wife are very nice people and I enjoyed their company quite a bit. When Dudu saw on facebook that I was going to Iasi, he had to tell me that he was from Iasi and that he would be in Singeorz this weekend (they currently live in Alba Iulia) and if i’m in town, we should get drinks. Sunday rolled around and Dude texted me asking when my train was supposed to come in and even offered to pick me up at the gara (AWESOME!) Dudu picked me up and we scheduled to meet in front of my apartment building around 7pm to head into town for some drinks. We met up with a few of his friends and I can honestly say that I had more fun last night than I have in quite some time. The topics of conversation ranged from me asking questions about their opinions on communism and healthcare and everything in between to absolutely ridiculous and rated R stories that Dudu was telling about his childhood. It was so refreshing to hang out with a group of adults this weekend!

I made it back home around 9:30 with a serious case of the sniffles that turned into a flat out cold accompanied by a temperature. This is what brings us to the here and now. I am currently sniffling, sneezing, coughing, and groggy. Didn’t go to school and slept most of the day away trying to kick this in hopes of making it to school tomorrow.