Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

New Place, New People, Same Tradition

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Since the Irish do not celebrate Thanksgiving Day (obvi) Katrina and I decided to host one ourselves and have some of our friends over to join in on the festivities. The menu consisted of turkey, stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, corn bread, brussel sprouts, mac n cheese, a ridiculously sized cheese ball, hummus, pumpkin pie, berry crumble, vegan banana and chocolate cake, and copious amounts of libations.

Although adjusting to Ireland and school was difficult at first, these friends have definitely made it much easier and a lot more fun and that is what I am thankful for this year.

 

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My List

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I have so much to be thankful for this year I don’t even know where to start.

 

1. I am thankful for the amazing opportunities that I have received since being in the Peace Corps.

2. I am thankful for all of the AMAZING people that I have met throughout all of my adventures.

3. I am thankful for the PC staff in Bucharest that has been there for me every single time.

4. I am thankful for my PC family. I love every single one of you so much!

5. I am thankful for all of my friends at site, you truly make Singeorz the best place on earth!

6. I am thankful for my students. I absolutely adore them and they make school so much fun for me.

7. I am thankful for all of my friends back at home. Even though we don’t talk very much, I know that you are always with me and have my back.

8. I am thankful for my family especially my parents. My mom and dad are beyond awesome and really look out for me in every aspect of my life and I am so grateful that I have such loving and caring parents.

9. I am thankful for the wonderful Thanksgiving meal I’m going to get to enjoy on Saturday night even though I will have to travel about 12 hours one way to get to it!

10. Finally, I am thankful for my mental and physical health. I’m happy that I have yet to go crazy, fully!

On a separate note, today I, with the help of Mary, held a 4 hour long workshop about project design and management and my county inspector’s office to about 25 English teachers from within the county. I was extremely nervous at first but it all turned out to be great and I think they learned a lot from it. I have yet to go through the formal evaluations but the ones that I did skim, looked fairly positive.

I am glad this stressful week of hell is over with. I am done with giving out term papers, grading stuff, planning for this presentation, and all of the above. Friday is looking to be a fairly easy day at school with only one class, I have a birthday party friday night for one of my favorite students and then Saturday bright and early I am off to Odorheiu Secuiesc to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with my amazing fellow volunteers.

Once again,

Happy Thanksgiving to you all and I am very thankful for each and every one of you.

 

La Sfârşitul Lumii

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La sfarsitul lumii means at the end of the world and that is exactly where I went to celebrate my Thanksgiving weekend. Kelly lives in a little village called Focuri which literally means fires. She is about 45km outside of Iasi, the second largest city in Romania. I left for my adventure immediately after school on Thursday. With my backpack in tow, I headed to the main corner where one picks up rides that are leaving the city. I found a ride within 10 minutes and headed to the train station in Ilva Mica. After waiting for about 40 minutes for the train to Pascani, I finally got on the train and then proceeded to defrost my body for the next hour or so. Nothing unusual came out of the train ride, random bunicas (grandmas) talking to me and inquiring where i’m going, why i’m going then finding out i’m not a native speaker which just opens the floodgates to even more follow up questions. Since I was not going to be able to make it to Kelly’s site in one travel day, my stop, 5.5 hours later was Pascani, the home of two very wonderful volunteers that would also be attending our Thanksgiving feast name Theron and Sarah.

The following morning, the three of us got up around 8 and headed for the train station to meet the others in Iasi. Our train arrived 1.5 hours later and we were greeted on the platform by Kelly and another volunteer Matt. Our first order of business was getting a little taste of America by patroning the McDonald’s that is right next to the train station. The rest of our time spent in Iasi was shopping at the ginormous grocery store that Carrefour has made at the edge of the city and being astonished that they actually carried sweet potatoes since no one knows what sweet potatoes are and they assume they are regular potatoes you just put sugar on. We caught the last bus out of Iasi at 5pm and headed to Focuri. After about half an hour on the bus, the asphalt stopped and we knew we had officially entered no man’s land. The last hour of the bus ride was spent bobbing up and down and trying to figure our exact location based on the minimal outside lighting.

Saturday rolled around and the last two members of our Thanksgiving Day Extravaganza arrived which brought our party’s total to 9 PCVs in a house that was built for far less and for hobbits under 5ft tall. Since the kitchen we were to use was a very cozy 6×6 foot space, and the stove could only accommodate about 1 item at a time, we had to start cooking fairly early. at 11am, we started off with the apple pie to get it out of the way. When we started our cooking, we did not anticipate that we would be cooking until 8pm ish. After the turkey had been taken out of the oven and the side dishes were underway, we were graced by the wonderful Thanksgiving Gods and the power went out on the whole street. Since we didn’t really have a choice and Kelly’s host’s oven/stove runs on gas, we continued cooking, mainly in the dark with the only light being from the flashlights on our cheap first generation Nokia phones. We managed to carve the Turkey, set the table, finish all the sides, and dish out the food all in the dark and we finally sat down to dinner around 8pm. Eating in the dark was definitely an interesting experience.

I don’t know if it was because of the lack of light, the fact that we all missed our friends and family back home, or the fact that we actually made delicious meals, but the food was extrodinary. Everything was made from absolute scratch and every bite tasted even better than the last. We went around the table and said what we are thankful for and I shared with the group that this was my first real American Thanksgiving. Being foreign and what not, my family doesn’t really celebrate Thanksgiving that much. The reason why we started eating a turkey for the holiday was because my dad would get them free from work. Every Thanksgiving that I have been to was never a dinner but more of a lunch, which to me, just didn’t seem quite authentic. On top of that, every single one had at least one Serbian dish that just didn’t fit the typical Thanksgiving menu.

Travelling a total of 24 hours within a 3 day span was quite exhausting but so worth it. I’m so happy I got to spend the holiday with such great people that have become my Romanian family.

 

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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!