So here I am, sitting at my kitchen table listening to Prince, and waiting for my pasta to boil in the apartment where I will spend the next two years of my life. Looking back on since the last time I posted, so many amazing things have happened! I left off telling you all about swear in and how fun that whole event was. I returned to Targoviste Friday afternoon hung out, napped, and packed. I treated my host family to a goodbye and thank you dinner that night. I let them pick where they wanted to go and we went to a restaurant called Panorama which is up on very large hill that overlooks the entire city. The view was phenomenal and I felt like a local when I ran into Jeremy’s host sister who is a waitress there. When we got back, they came into my room and gave me a goodbye present and that is when the waterworks started flowing. To think, three months ago, a family took a random American stranger into their house in hopes that she will somehow benefit their country. During my time with the Ionescu family, I have experienced a great deal within the city and southern region of Romania. They have taught me so much and I consider them my Romanian family.
My host parents, Ion and Mariana dropped me off at the train station at 4am and I, along with Ester, Nick, and Jessica set out on our train ride to Ploiesti. After about a 2 hour train ride, Ester and I got off at Ploiesti sud and there we waiting for our train that was going to take us to the GLOW camp. We had a blast riding the various trains that were constructed most likely during the 60s or 70s. After a total of 11 hours of traveling, we finally made it to Simbrea where we had Miha, one of the amazing host country nationals that organized this camp along with Gretchen, a 26er pick us up.
The next week was spent with some of the most amazing girls I have ever gotten the privilege to meet and work with. The girls came from all over the country and it was so refreshing to see such energy and potential in all of them. Throughout the week we worked on things one would work on in a leadership camp; girl power, communication, leadership skills, sex education, teamwork, and project development. Sheila, our Country Director, and Libby, the U.S. Ambassador’s wife joined us for two days to work on our community project (mosaic in front of the local high school and sprucing up the main hall) and teach the girls about project development and how to implement what they have learned. By the time Friday night came around, and the girls were having to say bye to each other, everyone was sad to go, including the counselors. I am so glad to have met Gretchen and Chelsea, the group 26ers which are on their way out and wish we could have been able to work together more. I did get to know Miha, and her friend Ale which are both very creative and are the backbone of the GLOW camp. I hope to work with them so we can have a repeat next summer.
After another 11 hour train ride, I arrived in Ilva Mica at 4:09am where my community counterpart’s husband picked me up. As soon as my made it through my apartment door I crashed. When I woke up I started to unpack and take care of some housekeeping. I learned that I did not have a gas tank for my stove yet, and only had water in the kitchen sink. I finally found the valve for the bathroom water and as i turned it on, i heard a loud ::whoosh:: and got soaked. Apparently, the random little faucet that sticks out of the wall that was used for the previous tenants’ washing machine does not close all the way and not only did I get a surprise shower, my entire bathroom, floor to ceiling, and part of my hallway did too. After 3 days, I finally got it fixed so i was able to take a proper shower yesterday which was the most glorious thing I have experienced in the past 2 weeks. Today I finally got someone to help me with hooking up the butane tank to my stove and I was able to cook my first real meal! No more bread and zacusca (ajvar for you serbs) for me!
I am slowly but surely starting to move get aquainted with my town. Tonight, if the rain lets up, my community counterpart, Loredana, and I have a date to take a walk around the town away from the 2 main streets that I have already learned. Below you’ll find some pictures from swear in and camp.
Until next time,