Tag Archives: balul bobocilor

Romania Trip

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On Monday, October 28th, we here in Ireland celebrated a bank holiday which meant no school for me on Monday OR Tuesday. Taking advantage of a solid week of no classes I hopped on a plane last Thursday night and headed to Romania. Lore and Teo had invited me a little while ago to be their son Andrei’s god mother and I initially thought I wasn’t going to be able to find a free time in my schedule that would be able to work for all of us until I found out about this holiday. I skyped with Lore and they were okay with the idea of having the christening on the 27th of October so I could attend as well.

After spending the night in London by Denisa’s I arrived to Cluj around 1:30pm local time where I found Teo waiting for me. We headed straight for Singeorz-Bai and after a quick pitstop in Bistrita, arrived to Lore and Teo’s apartment around 4pm.  After hanging out for a little bit, catching up, and snuggling the baby, Lore and I got read to head to the Freshman Ball that was taking place that night.  We arrived shortly after the competition had started and after being greeted and hugged by every former student and friend that we passed while walking in, we finally made it to our seats. We spent the rest of the night  hanging out with the professors and students and catching up with friends that I hadn’t seen in several months.

Most of my day Saturday was spent at the some sort of cafe drinking tea, coffee, lemonade, you name it. I spent the greater part of the day hanging out and catching up with friends and even got to see some of them that came home from college for the weekend. Sunday morning we all woke  up and imediately started getting ready for the christening. At about 11am, all of Lore and Teo’s family started arriving into the small apartment. A little after noon we all headed towards the church for the wonderful event of turning little Andrei into an Orthodox Christian. The christening in and of itself was fairly short, about half an hour and was very similar to what a Serbian Orthodox christening is like. Following the church we all headed across the street to the restaurant where we had our meal ready and waiting for us.

Monday I spent the greater part of the morning and early afternoon at school disrupting classes and substituting for a sick teacher. I visited every class that I taught last year and made it a point to hang out a little more with the 12th graders. After school, I headed out to lunch with my friend Paul where we finally got to have a nice conversation and catch up in private and not be bothered by random loud music like we were at the ball. Monday night Vasi and Dana invited us over to their house for dinner where we spent most of the evening eating, drinking, and just having a great time. These random little get togethers that I had throughout my visit only amplified the amount I miss Romania and Singeorz-Bai.

Tuesday was my last day in Romania as well as my travel day in Cluj. Lore insisted that they would drive me to Cluj we so bundled up the little one and headed out on Andrei’s first road trip. They dropped me off in Cluj around 4pm where I headed off to my hostel to settle in. Shortly after I called up Ioana and headed over to her apartment to meet up with her and her roommates (all my former students). That night I took Ioana, Popishor, and Tudor out to dinner at none other than Klausen Burger. It was what I consider the best restaurant in Romania with the best beer as well.

This trip could not have come at a better time. Before Romania I was beyond stressed out with school work and there didn’t seem to be an end in sight. As soon as I landed, all my problems faded and I barely thought about school during the week I was there. I enjoyed chatting and catching up with everyone even though there are still many people that I wish I could have seen. I’m back in Ireland ready to face the second half of the semester. I just turned in one major paper and have 5 more to write by the time the semester is over. Hopefully I can manage my time well enough to get it all done and leave for my Christmas vacation back home in 6 weeks.

 

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Balul Bobocilor

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School has started, supplies have been bought, textbooks have been passed out, we have gotten used to waking up before the sun yet again, and the only thing left on everyone’s list was to welcome the new freshmen class, (the boboci). Every year in mid October, the sophomore class organizes a freshman dance to not only welcome the new class but also to see who’s got the most talent. This year I was lucky enough to be on the jury for the pageant contest and got to grade some of my students on other stuff that isn’t English. I didn’t get a chance to take many pictures, unfortunately, but I did get some videos of all of the awesome acts that took place during the intermissions of the contest. Here are all the videos below:

Schimb de Experiență

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Nothing really exciting has been happening this week other than the buzz about the Balul Bobocilor (freshman prom) that the 10th grades put on for all of the students from the 9th grade to welcome them into the high school. I gave some tests this week to the classes that I haven’t been splitting and they all fared decently well. Today, while with my 12A class, I jokingly said “who wants to in to 9B next hour and teach for me? A bunch of them jumped up at the opportunity and even though I wasn’t serious at first, it got me thinking. Since we had about 20 minutes to kill after going over their test papers and I didn’t want to start a new lesson in that short period of time, I decided to let them  plan out a lesson for my next 9B class. I let the two most eager students come with me and participate in an “experience exchange” to teach which were Daniel and Toader. We went over what the book had planned we laid out what they would go over, how they would conduct the class, all well knowing that I would be there just in case anything were to happen.

After English class, I went and spoke with their head teacher and he let them come with me. When we entered the classroom, the freshman class was beyond confused as to why there were two seniors coming into the class with me. I presented them to the class and told them that the boys would be their teachers for the day. As talkative and energetic as the boys are normally in class, they were a little bit more reserved as teachers. I could tell that they were a little bit nervous to not only teach to a class that they don’t really know, but also teach a subject in a foreign language. Even though they were very rocky to start off with and it was a little bit difficult for them to keep the 30 some students quiet the whole time, they did a pretty good job. They reviewed some past simple and past continuous grammar rules, did some exercises, and did some speaking and reading activities as well. When the class was over with, the first thing one of the boys said to me was “Wow, i now know teaching is much more difficult than learning.”

All in all I’m very proud of the boys and I was really impressed to see how well they were able to help the 9th graders with words and phrases that they were not familiar with.

I leave you with this; I was talking to the school psychologist yesterday about a project we plan on doing and she showed me this quote with which I couldn’t agree more:

„Am ajuns la concluzia înspăimântătoare că sunt elementul decisiv în clasă. Starea mea de spirit dă tonul. Ca profesor am puterea incredibilă de a face viața unui copil nefericită sau veselă. Pot fi o unealtă de tortură sau o inspirație. Pot să umilesc sau să binedispun, să rănesc sau să vindec. În orice situație eu sunt cel care decide dacă o criză se va amplifica sau se va liniști sau dacă un copil ca va fi umanizat sau dezumanizat.”

-Haim Ginott

I found it in English as well:

“I’ve come to a frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element in the classroom. It’s my personal approach that creates the climate. It’s my daily mood that makes the weather. As a teacher, I possess a tremendous power to make a child’s life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated and a child humanized or dehumanized.”
― Haim G. Ginott

Balul Bobocilor

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The invitation

Or in English, the Freshman ball is an annual event held in highschools throughout Romania. The upper class-men (in my school’s case, the 10th grade) put on a dance welcoming the freshman into the school. A Miss and mister are selected based on various tasks they perform throughout the contest part such as answer intelligence questions, general knowledge questions, peeling potatoes, tying ties, and finally a dance contest.

Last night was one of the funnest nights I’ve had in country. Picture around 400 students, dressed in their best clothes, hair, make-up, cologne, the whole 9 yards, descending on the local hotel and surrounding areas. There were girls running to each other, checking out each others outfits, other taking group pictures of this magical night and some even squeeling with excitement.

The festivities were supposed to start at 7pm but, on this side of the hemisphere, that is a mere suggestion. The lights were dimmed and first cake was brought out with the largest amount of sparklers atop it that my eyes had ever seen. La multi ani (to many years) was played followed by the happy birthday song?!?! This is were I couldn’t help but laugh. For my readers back home, la multi ani is the happy birthday song but it is also sung for almost any occasion therefore, I’m assuming the DJ must have assumed that the happy birthday song was the same way??

After the introduction, the professors, judges, and students took their places for the show. The first item on the agenda were the speeches. My mayor, vice mayor, high school director, and director adjunct were asked to say a few words to the 9th grades. Then the 5 groups of contestants were presented to the judges and the competition began. The first thing the kids had to do was answer intelligence questions, followed by general knowledge questions. Then came the event that would separate the boys from the men. While being timed, the boys were required to clean a potato as fast as they could while the girls were required to tie a tie. This was the most amusing to watch since some of the boys “cleaned” the potato so well, that there was nothing left to it. The last and final event was a dance competition. The DJ played a mash-up of songs that ranged from slow, to hip-hop, to dance, to folklori, and finally manele (music created by gypsys). After about 20 minutes of deliberation, the judges came back and it was time to announce a winner. The winners were announced in the normal pageant competition style were 2nd place and runner up were announced first.

By the time the competition was over, it was already pushing 9 o’clock. The chairs were moved out of the way and the hall was transformed into your typical Romanian night club. Kids, smoking, drinking, dancing with each other as far as the eye can see. Yes, there really isn’t a drinking age in this country so there was a bar. The one thing I have noticed about Romanian dances and clubs in general is that they are much more tame than in the States. I remember my high school dances and how we were all grind up on each other like a cat using a scratching post. Here, it was much more PG and most of the dancing was two-step and twirling with some stylistic moves thrown in from time to time.

From talking with other volunteers, they mentioned how they usually went home by the time the kids got rowdy but that was not the case for me. All of the professors mixed in with the kids and we ended up dancing all night long. In some instances, the professors were more fun than the kids. 2am rolled around and we had decided it was time to get going. We left the kids to their own on the dance floor and headed home.

This was a great experience for me and I’m so happy I got to hang out with my students outside of school to get to know their individual personalities better. Can’t wait for next year!

 

Potato Peeling

 

Dance Contest

 

Some of my girls performing


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