Tag Archives: staging

Welcome to Târgovişte!


Pronounced Trgovishte – This city of around 100K will be our training site for the next few months! Here are some fun facts about the city from none other than Wikipedia.

  • Dâmboviţa County Capitol
  • About 40miles north of Bucharest
  • First Attested in 1396
  • Trial and execution site of  Nicolae Ceaușescu
  • Twin city of Miami, FL
  • Known for its PC gamers? WTF?! They even have counter strike dedicated server?!?!

And now some of my self discovered facts:

  • The roads are awful…I was told that this can be said for most of the country. It is rare to find a local road without a stretch of potholes every 100 feet or so.
  • There are more dogs than people. Romania is known for its stray dog population. some dogs have tags on them that the city is using to track but there are still many more out there.
  • The dogs are not bilingual and therefore will not respond if you yell at them in english.
  • Property value is non-existant. on 1 street, you can see anything from mansions to shacks all build side by side.
  • Huge range of old vs. new world. There are horse drawn carriages along with bmws



After the group spent most of the day sitting inside the hotel’s meeting room participating in orientation, we got to wander around the city for the rest of the night. The majority of the group decided to visit one of the local bar/restaurant/cafes while about 5 of us decided to walk around and see the city first. The city is small but very quaint. There is a nice amount of greenery with a cellphone shop on every corner. We took a walk through the park and got to know each other a little better as well.

The "Metropolitan" church

Nick (looking like a fool) Meg and Lindsey


The day started off with an hour and a half language lesson that actually went much better than I had anticipated. We went over money, numbers, and basic greetings. After our lesson we had a short meeting about our homestay experience. We were given the basic do’s and don’ts when it came to living with our host family and what the expectations were from us and from them as well.


After lunch, we went back into the meeting room where we waited for our host families to come and pick us up. I was extremely nervous and hoping that someone in my family would at least know a few basic sentences in English. A lady and two teenage girls came up to me and introduced themselves as my host mom and sisters..IN ENGLISH! I was ecstatic! Maria, the mom, doesn’t know much English but can understand a lot more. Denisa(19) and Izabela(12) were more conversational. Denisa is fluent in English and Izabela is conversational. They told me how I am their 3rd volunteer so they are very familiar with the homestay program.


When we got to their house, we hung out in the kitchen a little bit, talked, and I got to meet their dog Bijou.  Bijou is a feisty chihuahua/jack russell mix that loves to bark and you gnaw on your fingers and toes. After about a few hours of attempting to befriend, Bijou, he finally accepted me and stopped trying to bite my toes off. When my gazda(landlord) dad came home, we ate dinner and I was told there was a “surpriza” in store for me. It was a cake that Maria had made that had “WELCOME!” written on it and tasted chocolate and fruit mixed heaven in my mouth.  When dinner was over I told my host mom “Sera muna pentru masa” which literally means I kiss your hand for the meal which is a HUGE compliment. She was so surprised that I knew what that meant and went on to wish that I grow even taller and more beautiful.  Thanks to one of the PCVLs (PC volunteer leaders) Zach, for teaching me how to kiss ass 🙂 While talking with the family, I learned that Denisa is graduating highschool in about a month and has applied to go to college in the U.K. and Denmark. She goes to the bi-lingual highschool in the center and knows French and Latin as well. Here are a few pictures of my accommodations:


My gazda family's apartment


My room



After dinner, Denisa and I picked up her friend Diana and we went to the center for some coffee and then for a walk around. Denisa showed me her highschool and the places where the PCVs like to hangout. During one of our conversations I learned the Romanian equivalent of a “Guido”. Denisa was telling me how men (usually older than our typical guidos) listen to a certain genre of gypsy music called Mandele. She was telling me about a type of men that wear very thick chains, dress in expensive clothing, flaunt their wealth, and essentially make it rain with money on these gypsy performers called cocolari. The girl equivalent are called pitzipoance. They are known to take pictures with the “duck” face. I guess some things are the same, no matter where you go.


Today we really didn’t do much other than go to the “countryside” where Maria’s mom lives to visit with Denisa’s cousin “Johnny” that flew in from London this morning. We spent the day hanging out and ate an amazingly tasty lunch. Denisa and I came back to the house a little bit ago and are just hanging out for the rest of the day. Tomorrow is my first day at training. Our host families are required to walk us to and from school with the hopes of being able to find our own way to school Tuesday like big kids 🙂
Until next time, love and miss you all! and my texting app is in order so if you want to text me (for free, or so it says) the number is 740-651-4703

Staging: Complete!


First off, I would like to thank every single one of my friends and family that came to my going away party on Friday. I had a blast seeing all of you and I hope you all had fun as well! I know my dad had fun too since he always ends up being the life of the party with my friends and stealing my thunder! haha

I spent this past weekend hanging out with my best friends as much as I could. Visitors came and went all day Saturday and then again on Monday. My closest friends ended up dropping by again on Monday and I hosted a little “dinner party” catered Chela’s. What else would I want to have as my last meal in the United States other than the best Mexican food ever with the world’s most amazing salsa (yes I am aware for those of you who eat at Chela’s that you don’t enjoy the food nearly as much as I do and you think I’m crazy for liking it so much.) I said some of my hardest and most tear filled goodbyes Monday night which made my last night at home that much more special.  Kevin ended up being the last one to leave around 2:30. After double checking all of my paperwork, packing my backpack, and showering I finally fell asleep at 4am only to wake up an hour later and head for the airport.

Saying bye to my parents was much harder than I anticipated. I expected my mom to cry and me to cry along with her which we did but when my dad’s face turned red and tears started streaming down his face I lost it.  I know it’s never easy leaving family but I feel like my situation is a little bit different from most. Being and only child and what my parents consider “a miracle baby” has naturally made our family extremely close-knit.  They aren’t fluent English speakers and they depend on me for a lot of things. I know I have plenty of family and family friends around that will help my parents when I’m away but knowing that I am personally not there helping them with various issues doesn’t give me much peace of mind. 

My flight was supposed to depart from O’hare at 8:35 am but didn’t leave until 10:05 due to late crew members coming from connecting flights and then a mechanical issue that did not allow us to take off. Coincidentally enough, I ended up sitting next to a girl who was headed to staging for PC Guatemala at the same hotel ours was being held at. We talked for a while and it was interesting to learn about some of the similar and different anxieties we have about our service.

Staging officially started at 2pm and lasted until 7pm. Within that 5 hour time frame, all 40 PCRO trainees introduced themselves to the group and told us where they came from. We played some icebreaker games, learned a lot about our country and found out A LOT of new information that we were not aware about before.  Since the country’s initiative this year is to enter into smaller, more rural areas, there is a chance that I may not have constant internet access once I move into my post like most of the current volunteers do. It seems like everything will be up in the air for a few days until we meet our host families on Saturday.

I want to finish this post by sending out a few shout outs and letting my favorite people know how much they mean to me:

Danijela: You are my family and my friend. I could have never asked for a better person to have in my life than you. It is next to impossible for me to even put into words how much love, respect, and admiration I have for you. You are such an amazing and strong individual in so many different ways. You have always been there for me and I have shared my best memories with you.  You know the perfect things to say in every situation and you are truly irreplaceable. I can’t wait until you finish up your graduate degree and hopefully head on over to my part of the world!

Kevin: There is so much history between us and that is why you hold a special place in my heart. You have been such a wonderful friend to me and have supported me in everything that I have ever taken on. Thank you for always being there for me and consistently offering a shoulder to cry on.  You are such a strong person and I know no matter what curve balls life throws at you, you will always come out on top and be the victor.

Vedrana: You are my most…unique friend :). Good luck in the corporate world now that you have realized it isn’t all that it is cracked up to be and I hope one day you get those business cards you deserve!

Ro/Luis: Your letter was beautiful and it spoke the truth. Even though we sometimes go extended periods of time without talking, we both know that the other is always there for her no matter what. Good luck on your CPA and no babies until I return. I love the both of you and Rosie, take care of Luis.

Danny and Kimmie: You two are such a great couple and I am so heartbroken I won’t be able to attend your wedding, well in person at least 🙂 Danny you always know how to put a smile on my face and I am so happy that you picked such a sweet and wonderful girl to be your wife.

Stefi: I plan on you being one of the main people who goes and hangs out with Branka at the pool during the weekends. I can’t wait until you come visit my “village” so I can find you a cigan.

Joanna: You are a lot stronger than you think! I wish you luck in finding another class of eager little ones to teach for the fall and don’t forget to start saving that 2.87 a day so you can have enough for next summer!

Darc: You will be the most passionate guidance counselor Indiana has ever seen! I believe in you! Just remember to LOCK IT UP!

Davey/Matt: Yes even though you two are your own person, since you are twins, you get to share a shout out.  I consider the two of you my brothers and love you, and your entire family so much. Dave: Go Hawks!

Star: Remember; everything comes down to poo 🙂 I love you and will miss your blondeness.

Sinki: don’t get married until I get back! If you do, have the wedding in Srbija. K thanks.

Lil: Even though I won’t have my phone on all the time, you are still more than welcome to give me a call and vent to my voicemail. I’ll listen to them eventually 🙂 Good luck with whichever direction you end up going and don’t stress over stuff too much.



So i received an email from staging about two days ago explaining the staging process and what not. I just got a chance to call Sato travel and set up my ticket from O’Hare. I fly out of Chicago at 8:35am on the 26th to arrive in Philadelphia by 11 something to be at the hotel no later than 12:30pm. We were told that we are to dress business casual for staging and that we will basically have a mini orientation at the hotel on the 26th. Hmmm….wearing business casual while attempting to lug a rolling duffel, a 70L backpack, a 45L backpack, AND a carry-on will be almost impossible.

We are then scheduled to leave for JFK on the 27th with the entire group and I can’t wait to meet everyone. I’ve talked to a few fellow trainees and some current PCVs and can’t wait to finally meet and not just chat via FBim.

The countdown is at 27 days…and it is absolutely petrifying. Everything is coming together. My flight is planned, everything I need is bought and I have slowly started packing up the things that I don’t use on a regular basis. Most of my days are already getting booked and I’m trying to pack in as many last moments with my friends as I possibly can!