Tag Archives: English camp

English Summer Camp A Luat Sfarșit!!!!!

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I can safely say that my first ever English camp was a success! I’m extremely happy that it went so well and i’m just as happy that its over. This time last week, I was freaking out and trying to lesson plan and think of creative activities to do with the kids. Now i’m sitting in an empty apartment procrastinating the cleaning that needs to be done. Continuing where I left off with my last post, Thursday, we started out at the school and went around town to verify the written directions the groups had made to various locations throughout the town. After finishing up that, the real fun started. We headed out on a short 45 hike to a local hilltop with an amazing view of the city and it’s surroundings. We stopped mid way, did the banana song, then continued up the hill. When we got to the top, the kids were blown away by the view and spent the next half an hour pointing out their houses and other places of interest. I found it interesting that most of the kids, even though they have spent their entire lives here, had never been on this hill. Click here for more pictures from the hike.

After the camp was done, we (the counselors) went grocery shopping, and headed home. While Jeremy was making an absolutely amazing dinner, we busted out my newly purchased Monopoly set and started playing and planning for Friday’s activities. During our dinner conversation, Melissa and I decided on creating a scavenger hunt for the groups that would take them throughout the entire city. We amazingly completed everything within 2 hours. We devided the group up into 4 teams and had each of them go to a total of 6 locations.  Here is the list of clues that each team had to figure out. Scavenger Hunt Clues We woke up Friday morning at 6am and headed out to hide the clues. Imagine 3 Americans running around at the break of dawn taping things under benches, tables, and statues. I’m sure the locals that were out were wondering what the hell we were up to.

Friday was a sports/field day where we just did a bunch of relay races and we even taught the kids how to play ultimate frisbee. We started the day off with the scavenger hunt. I’m going to be honest and say that I definitely had my qualms about this event. I expected the kids to think it was too hard and give up or to screw around and not do it or to leave and not come back. Much to my surprise, 40 minutes later, the first team came back singing Queen’s “We are the Champions”. I verified all the pictures they took on their phone and asked them the 1 question they had to answer and that was when does train 15157 arrive into Sangeorz-Bai. Unfortunately, the team was in such a rush to finish that they totally skipped that part of the clue. The second team arrived about 5 minutes after and the first thing they said to me was 11:30!!!!!! This was the time the train got into the station. They were so worried that they would forget, they made sure to tell me immediately. Since this team knew the time, they were awarded with first place and got the prize which were bags of candy. All the teams did a great job and from what some of the locals told me, the teams took the competitive nature of the hunt to heart and were running around the entire city not even bothering to stop and say hello to their elders.

When all the teams got back, I asked them what games from this week they wanted to play and it was a unanimous vote for Mafia. We played mafia twice and then we moved on to the more physical activities. Jeremy taught them a cool game called trophy, we did some relay races where they had to create their own teams and they called themselves Team Bananas and Team Apples. The last and final game we did was ultimate frisbee. It took a while for them to understand how it worked and it didn’t help that they kept on trying to throw it as far as they could so the frisbee would inevitably role down the hill. After about 20 minutes of play, the first goal was scored and we decided to call it a day. I handed out all the diplomas and asked the kids for some feedback.

I can’t even begin to describe how much of a high I am on right now. I’m still in shock that I managed to pull this off and I know I could not have done it without the help and support of the PCVs that came in(some as far as 12 hours on an overnight train).

Below are more pictures and videos from the camp. Enjoy!

Click here for pictures from the entire week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I would also like to mention that ( if you don’t included prizes which were my choice to by) we spent a total of 10 Lei on the camp. That works out to about $3.25 American Dollars. I think that is fairly amazing!

English Camp Continued

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As of now, we have successfully finished 3 days of English Camp. The second day involved teaching the kids directional words such as left, right, forward, back, in front of, behind, etc…We started the day off by playing ship and sailors which they really got a kick out of and so did I watching them. We moved then moved onto another teamwork activity which was call toe-to-toe. The point of this activity was to have all the students stand up at the same time with their toes touching one another. The students fell down many times before we gave them a hint and they figured out how to accomplish the goal. We had the students do the community mapping project that I mentioned in the previous post. We divided the students up into 3 groups and they each had to draw a map of Sangeorz and then explain it to the class and tell us about the points of interest. We then had the students  participate in some blind relay races. We, as counselors, even challenged the kids and said we could do the course faster in Romanian than they could in English. We were wrong. Melissa was blindfolded and I was giving directions and we ended up in 3rd place (out of 4). The winning team had a time of 5:22. After they had some more practice of giving very precise directions, we had them each write out specific directions from 1 of their points of interest to another. Since we didn’t have enough time at the end of the day to see how valid the directions were, we will be doing this tomorrow.

After camp, the 4 of us went back to my apartment, made lunch and spent the rest of the day planning today’s lesson which was the most challenging to plan and to facilitate. Around 3pm we headed to the museum with Mary and Loredana which i absolutely love. My town definitely has a hippie/artsy vibe to it and the Museum of Contemporary Art is probably the staple of that  aura.

Today’s lesson was about Gender Roles and Stereotypes. It was a little bit harder than the previous days but the kids did a great job. Melissa started off with a lesson on media and showing how much information she dug up on some of the students through facebook. We then facilitated a discussion about colors, toys, and games. What colors are for boys, girls, same went for toys and games. This conversation brought up some interesting view points. We continued with this lesson and went into stereotypes. We had the students write what they think a stereotype is or an example of one. We got a lot of great responses which facilitated even more conversation. The next activity the students did was a collage. Each group was given a piece of paper that listed some things that a specific person liked to do and that group had to draw a collage about that person and then write if they thought the person was a male or female.  Within the 4 groups of students, 3 groups thought they were drawing things for a male and 1 group thought they were drawing things for a female. We talked about why the students thought they were drawing for a male or female and then we revealed that each one of those lists belonged to one of the counselors. When each counselor stood next to his/her collage, the students noticed they were only correct 25% of the time. Jeremy’s collage said that it depicted a male which included things like soccer, tennis, cooking, and apple products. Anthony’s collage said that it depicted a female which included philosophy, talking, playing the saxophone, poetry, and soccer. Melissa’s collage said it depicted a male because she liked things like fixing cars, watching baseball, reading, wearing tall socks, and baking. My collage was for a male because the things I liked included watching baseball, playing Ultimate Frisbee, watching star wars, fixing things, and traveling. Even though our collages that things that were both typically “masculine” and “feminine” it was interesting to see that the groups decided to err on the side of masculine. The next item on the agenda was an “agree and disagree” exercise where the students would stand to one side if they agreed with the written comment or disagreed. Some of the statements that were presented for this was “I would date a gypsy”, “It is okay for 2 men to kiss in public”, “It is okay for 2 women to kiss in public” It is okay for a man to hit a woman”, “It is okay for a man to cheat on a woman”, “It is okay for a woman to cheat on a man” and etc. Some of the thoughts were very interesting and definitely sparked conversations and debates about the subjects which was very nice to see. We ended the day off with a role play. We had two boy/girl pairs that had to act like the opposite sex in a specific scenario. They had 3 different lines written on pieces of paper with them and when instructed, were told to read the lines out loud and to continue to use them within the conversation. This was a good and humorous way to end the day.

There are a few things that I will do differently next time but for the most part, it was a very educational day. The students left with a lot of food for thought and I’m hoping I got them thinking about gender roles and how large of a part they play in everyone’s lives.

I haven’t been taking any pictures or videos of the camp but luckily the other PCVs have so, thanks to Jeremy and Anthony, we have proof that this camp has been taking place 🙂 Below you will find some videos of the activities and the link to the album. I would like to point out that if you watch the blind obstacle race with Melissa and I, i should drept inapoi at the end which actually means straight backwards…I meant to say straight forwards but I apparently don’t work well in Romanian under pressure. At least the kids got a kick out of my lack of Romanian skills.

Click Here for Pictures!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

Company

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This week as flown by thanks to my gazda family visiting. As the very nice man from Romtelecom was setting up my phone and wireless, my host family called me and said they were in town and to give them directions. After them asking around my complex for my bloc for 10 minutes they moved on to asking specifically for me and then being shocked when people didn’t know who I was. 20 minutes later they finally made it to my bloc and came up with multiple bags in toe. To my surprise, they brought me fresh fruits, vegetables, a 2 liter plastic bottle of home-made white wine and a little bottle of tuica which my host father immediately opened.

We hung out for a bit at my place, my host mom yelled at me because i didn’t tell her things I still needed for the apartment so she could buy them for me, and we made dinner. We hung out some more and went on a walk around town, stopped for some ice cream and just had an all around great time. I feel like my Romanian is 10 times better when I’m speaking with my host family because they have no expectations of me, they know exactly where I’m at when it comes to my speaking level, and I am extremely comfortable with them therefore we can have legitimate conversations and I always get my point across fairly easily. We ended the night by figuring out our sleeping arrangements and Denisa, Iza, and myself took the pull out couch and squished ourselves like sardines while my host parents got my bed.

The next day we woke up fairly early, ate breakfast and headed off to Bistrita.  Bistrita is the county seat and it has the nearest Kaufland (50km) to my site. We stocked up on stuff that I need at the Kaufland and I spent an exorbitant amount of money on imported spices and sauces like soy, teriyaki, sweet and sour, and such. My family dropped Denisa and me off at the bus station while they headed out on their way back to Targoviste. Densia and I got back, cooked, and spent the rest of the day just hanging out.

Today was a day of getting things done. Mary showed up around 11 and we discussed the English camp that I am putting together for next week. We went over what I have put together so far and we talked about how people are finding out about the camp and what not. I hope people actually show up to this thing! I have 4 PCVs coming in for this shindig. Jeremy and Anthony come in on Sunday, Sara H on Monday and Melissa will round out the group on Tuesday. I am petrified of putting on my first camp when I don’t even know the kids yet or know their language levels.

After our planning session, Mary left and we decided to meet up later to go around town looking for more supplies I still needed. around 1:30 Denisa and I met up with Mary at her house and were off on our mission to find me a curtain rod and a shower curtain. Luckily we found both of these things and more very easily. Mary had an extra curtain rod lying around which is now holding up my very orange shower curtain that matches my even more orange bathroom. When I walk into my bathroom it feels like I’m on an acid trip.

We met up with Mary one more time today at 6. We first walked to the field where she plans on having the camp and it’s such a beautiful spot that overlooks most of the city. We then met up with Loredana and the four of us headed to the local restaurant for some pizza. After sitting at the table for a good 20 minutes, the waitress informed us that they were in fact not cooking pizzas tonight for some reason…they decided to go to the next option for pizza which was the Presbyterian family owned diner attached to a gas station and car wash at the very begging of town. This was definitely a very interesting place. The inside looks like a very nice restaurant but unfortunately, no alcohol is served so I couldn’t get my cold beer that I had been craving all day. Dammit. While listening to Christian churchy music in Romanian, we ate our pizzas which didn’t compare to the ones I had during my site visit and were on our merry way.

Denisa leaves tomorrow morning so that means I will be doing a lot of cleaning and laundry (hand washing) tomorrow to prepare for the arrival of the PCVs. I’m looking forward to having two days by myself.

Aside

My first week at site has passed in a flash. Starting from day one when i nearly flooded my apartment, I feel as though I have already come a long way. I’ve been hanging out with both of my counterparts quite a bit and they have definitely been amazing when it comes to welcoming me into the city.

Thursday night I went for a walk with Loredana (my community counterpart that knows no English) and she showed me throughout the city. Despite our obvious language barrier, we have hit it off from the beginning and get along very well.

Friday, my English teaching counterpart, Mary showed me around town a little bit. She showed me where the police station was, the post office, bank, and where the Friday market takes place. After my errands with Mary, Loredana and her husband (whom is the gym teacher) had me over for an amazing lunch that consisted of baked chicken, mashed potatoes, and roasted carrots. The appetizer was vișinata (cherry brandy) and the desert was beer. Couldn’t have asked for a better meal! The company was fabulous and we talked a lot about mainly me, my past, why I chose to be a volunteer. Ya know, the usual questions I expect to get asked at least 1,000 times more.

Saturday I planned to just hang out in my PJs all day since the morning was very gloomy and my power was going in and out. Around 3pm, Mary called me and asked if I wanted to go on a bike ride with her, since I will refuse no invitation that is within my control, I naturally obliged.  Mary, her boyfriend Danny, his neighbor and I headed north on our journey. After an extremely bumpy yet picturesque bike ride, we ended up at a little picnic site where we joined a handful of their friends. We hung out at the site, grilling, talking, and shooting bows and arrows (which proved to be very difficult for my finger tips). When we were about to leave, the group put one last thing on the grill so naturally, when I found out it was rabbit, we had to stay and wait till the meat was done so I could taste it. After what seemed like an hour, the rabbit was finally done and I got a chance to try this adorable, fluffy, and EXTREMELY tasty creature. All I have to say is thank god the meat was already prepared and cut up so I didn’t have to witness the gory stuff.

Today was my official be a bum day. Once again, it rained and I didn’t do much of anything. Mary came over around 5pm to discuss the English day camp that we will be holding for the high school students during the first week of August. I have the next week to plan a whole day camp from scratch, hopefully I think of something! I’ve already gotten about 4 volunteers to commit to helping out at my camp so I’m happy that I’ll be able to see my friends and if it crashes and burns, at least I’ll have some people with me 🙂

In other news, my gazda family called me up the other day and told me that they will be visiting some family in Târgu Mureș, which is about 2 hours south of me and planned to stop by Sangeorz for a day to visit me. I am so ecstatic and that is a HUGE gesture that they are coming to visit. I guess I must have left at least somewhat of a good impression. Denisa plans on staying with me for the remainder of the week which im very excited about and have already started planning what we will do and where we will go.

Starting tomorrow, the rest of my summer will be quite busy and I’m so excited about it!  I haven’t done much this week and although it was a nice change of pace, i’m over it. I can’t sit around for too long with nothing to do so even though planning the summer camp will be hectic, i’m ready for it!

Until next time,

Va pup!

One Week Down