Category Archives: Random

Cleaning

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So, as I was cleaning the house today, I found the letter my future students at the time wrote to their new English teacher. I laughed, I cried, it was glorious. I have decided to retype it below for all of you to see how awesome my kids are ūüôā

 

Dear Sir or Madam,

When we heard that an English teacher comes to our high school we all thought: OMG! The pleasure is on our side! We are very excited to experience the English “real deal”. We ¬†are pleased to work with someone who doesn’t speak Romanian at all. Despite the fact that we have learnt English since we were little kids, we didn’t have the chance to prove our knowledge in a dialogue in a real life situation with a ¬†native speaker.

It is true that we have very good English teachers in our high school but we all need an opinion about the way we manage to express ourselves in this awesome language, from someone who comes from the homeland of this marvellous dialect

We have in mind all kind of extra curricular activities that will make your stay more enjoyable. Trips, games, parties will help you discover the life we have here. We want to make you love this country and the people that live  here. We also hope we will have the chance to know better and understand the places where you live, the schools and the children from your country through your stories.

We would also like to mention the great food we have here, such as the traditional polenta or rolled cabbage and many others.

Be sure that we are very excited to spend time talking to you about everything and everyone we know and we hope that  you will like our lifestyle, our high school and all the teenagers around here.

Best regards,

Solomon Halita High school students

 

 

Christmas, Romanian Style

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School was cut short on Thursday so I got sent home at 11 and Friday the students were only there for about an hour with their head teachers which was the official sign that winter break had started. A fellow PCV, Aran, that teaches in an elementary school in the city of Ploiesti came into town to visit and experience a Romanian Christmas in the country. Friday was spent just walking around town, seeing the local Friday market and eating some of the best tasting mici I’ve ever eaten in my life. Friday night Aran, Mary, and I headed out to Megapark which is the HUGE new club that opened up in Singeorz. It is something else and when you walk inside, you feel like you have stepped into a posh new nightclub in a big city, not in a sleepy little town int he mountains. The three of us, along with 2 of Mary’s friends spent the whole night dancing and hanging out with each other and whichever students decided to come and hang out with us as well.

Saturday was spent at Mary’s house waiting for carolers. Here the tradition is that all the students gather with their classmates and go from teacher to teacher caroling and then go caroling to each others houses until the early hours of the morning. Mary had Aran and I over for the tradition Romanian dinner of Sarmale with other dishes and the first carolers showed up around 6:30 pm. I ended up seeing classes 9A, 9D, 10A, 10B, 12D, and then when I got back home, I was called over to my neighbor’s and fellow student’s house where all of 12A had congregated. Since Mary’s mom is a kindergarten teacher, we got a lot of cute 5 and 6 year olds caroling to us as well.

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Christmas day was spent with the other English teacher I work with, Varvara, and her family at her house in Maieru (the comuna north of us) I got to meet Varvara’s brother from Sibiu along with her¬†daughter¬†Andreea that is in the 8th grade. Her son, Tudor, I already know since he is one of my students in the 12th grade. She made a wonderful lunch and we ended up spending the entire day with Varvara and her family.

 

Today I woke up with a crazy cold and naturally, its the day that I have to leave for my trip. I’m headed to Timisoara to visit a PCV (Sara) that lives nearby and then headed on my Eurotrip and will be¬†returning¬†January 10th. So until next time! Va pup!

La Mul»õi Ani Rom√Ęnia!

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December 1st marks Ziua Na»õionalńÉ a Rom√Ęniei or¬†Union Day in Romania which is one of the most important holidays that the citizens of this country celebrate. This holiday marks the unification of Transylvania with Romania back in 1918. Taking place earlier in the year, the holiday was officially moved to December first after the 1989 Revolution. Since today is so special to myself and everyone around me, I want to pay homage to such a great country that I have been falling in love with over the past 7 months.

Also, Google has even taken part in commemorating this special event by dedicating the landing page banner to it.

1 Decembrie - Ziua Na»õionalńÉ a Rom√Ęniei

So, from the bottom of my heart. Romania, te iubesc!

What I’m Thankful For

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Its Black Wednesday, and it is the first one in a very long time that I haven’t spent with my¬†high school¬†friends. Other than the black out drunk state of mind that everyone over the age of 21 is expected to be in during this day, its ¬†one of the very few days where all of my friends are in town and at the same bar. There are some friends that I have drifted apart from throughout the years, but come Black Wednesday, we all end up at the same bar and its nice to catch up with people that you haven’t seen in such a long time. As sad as the holidays make me because I won’t get to be with the people that mean so much to me, I still have plenty to be thankful for.

First and foremost there are my parents. Of course this is extremely cliche to say but its true. I am the most thankful for them. within the past year, they have done a 180. They went from hating the whole idea of me joining the Peace Corps and threatening to disown me to not just being happy for me, but also being very proud of me and being my biggest supporters. Granted, when it came to me leaving, they didn’t really have much say in the matter but as time passed, I slowly saw them come to the realization that this is truly what I want and then even further to, this is what they want for me.

Secondly, my friends. I know many relationships have been strained with me being so far away and not as reachable with the time difference and all but, all of you have still been great. You have tried to understand what I am going through, and at least, just listened to me complain and I thank you for that!

Current PCVS: You guys are my saving grace. The weeks before I see you pass like molasses. I love the fact that when we talk, we all understand what each of us are going through and it makes the bad days that much more bearable. I also like the fact that we have all grown so comfortable around each other and can talk about random bodily functions like its another topic for a dinner conversation.

I am thankful for all of my students. Teaching is definitely not my forte and I honestly do struggle with it everyday. I am not very creative and coming up with lesson plans is the biggest pain in my ass. My students have not only been great in class but out of class as well. I prefer to hang out with them in the hallways during the breaks instead of with the teachers. They have become my friends and I do love hanging out with them and seeing them everyday. They make this job fun and so worth it!

And last, but not least. All of the host country nationals I have met along the way. From my gazda family in Targoviste that managed to put up with my awful Romanian the first few months to Miha and Ale, the founders of the NGO that helped put on GLOW camps to everyone in Singeorz-Bai. Mary and Loredana have been my saving graces here. From helping me get settled in to listening to me complain about various things, thank you!

 

So with that, I want to wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving! I miss and love you all! I hope you get a chance to spend it with the ones you love!

 

Lumina»õie

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To say my days here are “normal” is a bit of a stretch. Today is Ziua Mor»õilor, Lumina»õie or the Day of the Dead. What happens on the day of the dead is that families first attend a church service and then go to their loved ones graves and illuminate them with a plethora of candles. Children go “trick or treating” if you will from grave to grave and the family members that have posted up camp at their beloved one’s tomb pass out candy. Adults go around the cemetery and visit each other and when they arrive to a grave, they are offered cakes and »õuica (the national drink of the country aka moonshine).

Today, school was let out at noon so everyone can make it to the church service that was being held at 12:30. Around 6pm, Loredana, Teo, and myself headed out to see how illuminated everything actually was. The first cemetery we went to is one that I have never seen before. It is extremely secluded and on a fairly large and steep hill. When we got to the top, I was to say the least stunned. There were little flickering lights as far as the eye could see! Some graves had anywhere up to a dozen candles of varying sizes scattered across the graves.

When looking down at the town from the top of the hill, one place in particular stood out and that was the big luminous Orthodox church in the center. What was most noticeable about the church wasn’t so much the church itself but what was occurring around the church. There was what looked to be a sea of red swaying like grains of sad in a wind. After reaching the church, the discovered that the sea of red was hundreds of little red candles scattered across all the graves.

My entire life I have been afraid of death and have always had near panic attacks when coming anywhere near a cemetery let alone entering one. Something about this day and the jovial environment around it helped ease my fears and I had no problem walking around and taking in the beautiful traditions of this day.

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We ended our night with some placinte cu mere (apple strudels) and goofing around in the shadows.

         

BREAD!!!

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I have been attempting to make a decent bread since the beginning of college and no matter how times my mother or aunt has walked me through the process, it always turns out hard as a brick or just tasteless. This time, thanks to the PCRO cookbook “Pofta Buna” I have finally managed to make a good tasting not rock hard bread ūüôā

262,974 Minutes, 1,392 Hours, 183 Days, 6 Months

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October 28th marks 6 months in country for group 28 volunteers and I am still in awe as to how fast the time has flown. I have had so many amazing experiences and met a large amount of real and wholehearted people, something that I never thought was possible. Within the last 6 months I have;

Met 37 other individuals that I would spend my next two years getting to know even better.

Gotten to know the entire PC Romania office and language staff

Gotten to know fellow PCVs from groups 23, 24, 26, and 27

Corresponded with fellow volunteers from Moldova, Ukraine, and Bulgaria

Patroned probably every bar in Targoviste

Learned a foreign language which I never assumed I would ever do prior to this experience

Lived with an incredible family of 4 that will always hold a special place in my heart

Traveled throughout most of the eastern part of the country

Achieved a decreased level of English and Serbian language knowledge due to the addition of Romanian

Moved about 500km away from Targoviste to the most northern part of Transylvania

Traveled 55km, almost 2 hours to get to my county seat to retrieve packages

Am living in one of the most beautiful places on earth with so many nice and welcoming people

Ridden a countless number of some of the slowest trains EVER

Seen old men carrying the longest tubes of salami I have ever witnessed in my life

Gotten to be a counselor at some very well constructed camps

Gotten into the GLOW spirit ūüôā

Researched grants, charities, and NGOs more than I ever thought was possible

Taught over 200 of the most amazing high-schoolers I have ever met

Broken my camera

Gotten pneumonia

And put on my very own summer English camp!

All in all, it has been a great 6 months and here’s to another 18!

Rough Day

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I don’t know exactly why, I can’t seem to place my finger on it but today was just a rough day emotionally for me. I sometimes just feel like I’m not cut out for it. Teaching is very hard and I just feel like I’m not a creative enough person sometimes to make lesson plans that will not only engage my students but will actually teach them something. I know it’ll pass and I know there are many several other projects that I’m working on that will hopefully benefit people across the entire country but at this point in time everything is at a stand still. I’m working on the Commemorate PCRO book and we are currently in a partial stand still, for the GLOW and TOBE train the trainer camps, I’m trying to get myself organized to write some grants and just continue updating activity ideas and then there is the Junior Achievement trip to Latvia that Loredana (The econ teacher) and I are planning. I really hope it does work out since it isn’t going to be the cheapest trip but I know that if we actually get the students out there, it will be a great benefit for them. I guess I’m just nervous that everything is going to bomb and nothing will actually get done. I know, I know, I’m off my rocker.

 

Luckily, I have great friends and family that have made my day better. The main one was this wonderful picture of the newest edition to the Balac family that Vlado sent me ūüôā

Baby Balac

 

Well tomorrow is a new day and I have some fun things planned for this week so hopefully things will look up. Most of my activities this week will be revolving around Halloween. I have planned a pumpkin carving activity after school on Thursday so hopefully I get a decent turn out and Friday is the Balul Bobocilor (Freshman Ball) so I’m anticipating how that will go.

Let’s hope the next post won’t be another rant, until next time, va pup!