Tag Archives: training

Recent Happenings

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I’ve been slacking a little when it comes to blogging so I’ll recap what i’ve been up to since my last post which was Easter.

The Romanians celebrate Easter for 3 days which means the second day of Easter we didn’t have school and the third day of Easter (that Tuesday) we kinda had school. I got to school at 8am and realized that only a handful of students were present in each classroom and after seeing that most of their colleagues weren’t even at school they decided to leave after the first hour. All of the professors had planned on having a picnic after the school day had finished but since we ended up having an extra day off, we headed out to “iarba verde” a little bit earlier and spent most of our day in nature. There were about 30 of us that  set up camp and ate, drank, played soccer and frisbee, and just enjoyed each other’s company. It was nice getting together with all of my fellow teachers since it’s a very rare thing.

 

I spent the next day at site as well and then I was off again to another training in the south of the country. This trip ended up being very interesting due to the ridiculousness that is Romanian travel. I had bought my train ticket online two days prior and when I was in the process of looking for the train that goes from my nearest train station to Bucuresti I saw that that train doesn’t exist anymore. The closest train that I could catch to Buc was about an hour’s drive away. One of my friends was nice enough to drive me to the farther train station. When we arrived at that station we were told that the train I was supposed to get on was not running due to a break in the tracks about 100km north. After the news we headed back to Singeorz and I decided to take a route through Cluj/Sibiu that left Singeorz at 5am and finally arrived to Craiova around 9pm.

The next day I met up with Madalina and Carmen, the two wonderful ladies who work at the Craiova American Corners, to deliver my training to a group of talented young adults that plan on holding their own development camps this summer for the elementary kids in their city. The rest of the day Madalina took me around the beautiful and might I add very clean city of Craiova. We finished the night off at her sister-in-law’s place where we attended a dinner party of about 8 people. It was really refreshing being with a group of Romanians close to my own age and discussing everything from their thoughts on the country, why they haven’t left, the economy, and the future of Romania.

Fast forwarding to last night-

The Balul Majoratului or Senior prom, organized by the 11th grade, took place at the Huka Club and, as always, was a great time. Those of you that know me really well know that I love large groups of people because I can wander. I love being able to hang out with many different groups all within the same environment. We had fun, danced, laughed, and even cried. A few of my friends and students made me cry throughout the night when they kept on telling me how much they are going to miss me with which they reminded me that I only have a short time left in Romania. One of my students even told me that one of the main reasons he transferred into the philology profile was because he wanted me to be his English teacher. That absolutely melted my heart and instantly made me tear up.

Thats the recap of the last two weeks.

On deck:

meeting with a group of Moldovans to talk about PC next weekend along with my first ever Romanian wedding.

Until next time, va pup!

CLICK HERE FOR PICTURES

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Teamwork and Communication Workshop

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This past weekend I did something that, even a year ago, I never thought I would be able to do. I facilitated a weekend long training workshop IN ROMANIAN! I’m not gonna lie i’m pretty proud of myself and ecstatic that it went so much better than I had planned.

About 2 months ago, Loredana approached me with the idea of creating a weekend long getaway for all of the county inspectors to help them develop their teamwork skills while also giving them something they can take back to the classroom. I was a little skeptical at first since it was going to be all in Romanian and it would just be me presenting about 90% of the time. After a few more “please”s I caved and agreed to do it.

The inspectors couldn’t work out a good weekend to attend since they are in the midst of all of the academic olympics competitions so we got the school psychologists to come instead. Matt and Megan were kind enough to offer their help for the training so I had them come up as well.

Friday after school, the psychological county director picked the 4 of us up and we headed to a secluded cabin in the even more secluded village of Fiad which is just over a mountain to the west of me. After dinner, we did some basic introductions and then just had a very relaxed social meet and greet hang out. Around 10pm is when things started getting very interesting. I was working upstairs in my room with Loredana and prepping for the following day when I hear the very distinct “w0oo”s of Megan and Matt. I go downstairs to check out what is going out and it is a full on dance party. Every single person was dancing and singing at the top of their lungs. At that moment I knew this was going to be a fun group to work with.

Saturday started off a little rocky since some last minute changes had to be made to the agenda but since no one knew the agenda except for me, all things were good! We talked about being a team and grouped them off into teams that would compete with each other for the rest of the weekend doing various exercises to earn points. The day was followed by some American football taught by Matt which they got REALLY into. Matt brought all of his flag football gear but that did not stop the group of mainly women to tackle each other into the snow as if they had full pads on. After lunch we had an egg drop activity, jeopardy, and we ended the day with a dance competition which Loredana and I judged.

Sunday morning was more communication activities and the last event was a scavenger hung with a list of 20 things the teams were to find around the cabin/area. Some of them got very creative such as finding pictures of a cow in a newspaper while others wanted to be as authentic as possible and went out into the village searching for a cow they could take a picture with.

After all of the activities we debriefed about the entire weekend and I was really glad to see that some of the participants were very reflective and realized the issues that presented themselves throughout the weekend in regards to functioning as a team and that they were discussing way to incorporate all of the activities into the classroom.

I would not have been able to do this without my amazing fellow PCVs Megan and Matt and I thank them so much for being the social butterflies they are and hanging out when I needed to plan or just recharge.

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.

 

Back To The Grind

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After an amazing week at site, the last thing any of us wanted to do was go back to technical and language sessions. Luckily, the PC Staff was already very well aware of this and took it easy on us. We had a site visit debrief in the morning and then the self picked language/cultural sessions started after lunch. These types of sessions are so much easier to handle than regular classes because we get to choose what we get to learn and when talking about the cultural aspects, the classes are all in English so it’s a nice break from being forced to speak Romanian. Friday night was filled with the usual activities of  getting dinner and then hanging out in the center.

Saturday was one of my favorite days so far. I spent the early afternoon having a picnic in the park, eating avocado and cheese sandwiches and listening to music. The picnic was followed by a peer support session which was for the two new peer support people of our group and anyone else who wanted to join. Peer support is basically just like it sounds. These people are the ones that the groups elects as the people whom the individuals of the group feel the most comfortable contacting about any issues we may be having. The session was followed by a group dinner and then a night spent in the park. It was so nice to just sit in the park and hang out with the volunteers in my group and the many others that came into town for the weekend.

Sunday I woke up fairly early and got ready for a new adventure. Theron and Sarah’s host dad offered to take them and two of their friends up to the Bran Castle outside of Brasov. For those of you that are not aware, Bran Castle was the alleged home of none other than the famous Dracula. The 3 hour car ride was absolutely beautiful and when we got to Bran I was stunned. The castle is MUCH bigger than I expected it to be and we had a lot of fun trying to figured out the layout of it and what floor we were on at any given point in time. After getting very little sleep all weekend, I was ready to crash as soon as I got home. Unfortunately, or fortunately, depends on how you look at it, this country has a spell on me and I can’t fall asleep until very late and I still manage to wake up very early. I decided to head to the center and meet up with a friend. We hung out a little bit and then went to one of the cafe’s where I met up with my host family. Coincidentally enough, the PCVLs were sitting at a table right next to them so it was nice to hang out with them and get to know the PCVLs a little bit better.

Hopefully I rest up this week because my host family already planned out most of the upcoming weekend for me!

Until next time, VA PUP! (ljubim vas/kisses to you all)

Romania, FINALLY!

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I have lost all sense of time. I have no clue what day it is, my body doesn’t know the time, and I can’t recall the last time I’ve slept…

The journey to get here was definitely a long and tiring one. Starting off at our hotel in Philly, we left for JFK at 9:30am. After checking in and getting through security, we sat around at our gate for hours upon hours until our plane was ready to board at 5:15. When I got to my seat, I literally yelped! Why, might you ask? Well, because I got an exit row seat aka a crap load of leg room! We sat on the tarmac for about an hour or so after we boarded and we never really got to find out why but once we were up in the air it was smooth sailing. I sat next to Grant which is one of my fellow volunteers and talking to him made the trip MUCH shorter. We landed in Munich around 8:50am local time and an hour late. Our flight to Bucharest was supposed to take off at 9:25 but luckily, was also delayed due to heavy fog. We ended up sitting on the tarmac with this second flight as well and all in all made it to Bucharest about an hour later than we were scheduled to. My luggage made the trip through but two other volunteers were not as lucky. One persons luggage got sent to Vienna and another person’s luggage was MIA so  hopefully theirs ends up here soon. After we were so kindly greeted by a very large PC staff, we hopped on another bus and drove about two hours to the small city of Targoviste which will be the site of our training.

Here are a few pictures of the countryside from the airplane and the view out of my hotel window.

We’ve got about an hour to kill before we have to meet back down to fill out more paperwork but just wanted to give everyone a quick update and to let you know that I made it to Romania is one piece!