Tag Archives: Vlad Tepes

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)

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Jovankai îi Plac Lei și Vodca

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Once again, the weekend came and went in the blink of an eye but it was thoroughly enjoyed nonetheless. Friday was our last day of practicum at our current high school and it was definitely bittersweet. I really enjoyed teaching our classes and getting to know the students and of course our mentor teacher Monica. It was a great experience to watch her teach because you can see that she truly cares for her students and is very passionate about teaching.  Since the normal school schedule was altered this Friday due to an appearance by the mayor of the city along with a creative writing awards ceremony, we didn’t teach. While the mayor was giving his speech to the teachers, my teacher was telling me some interesting facts about our practicum school and how after communism the population dropped and now many high schools are starting to consolidate and close down due to the smaller number of classes. With this, there are many jobs that will be cut and so on. I never really thought about these types of changes that the end of communism caused and how, 20 years later, they are finally starting to come forth.I also experienced my first form of culture shock at the school that day. My training group and I were standing out side of our classroom admiring some of the students artistic abilities. Kevin and i were discussing something while 2 of our freshman walked by us. As they walked by, they both stared right into Kevin’s eyes and said “Kiss, Kiss…te pup!” Our mouths dropped…. Yes Kevin is a young teacher and our school has mainly girls in it. I never expected any of the students to have that much courage to so blatantly hit on a teacher. We were both left speechless for several minutes after that and it was just another reminder that we are definitely not in Kansas anymore.

After language class we did the typical PCT thing of going to the blue bar and then heading out to dinner after that. I was fairly tired so Jeremy-WB and I walked home around 10pm. When I got to my house, I was very excited to get into bed and just relax but naturally, that didn’t happen. Denisa was in the process of getting ready to go out to a Romanian hip/hop concert at a local club that was made to resemble a castle. She ended up talking me into joining so i quickly changed, put on some make up, and headed out the door. When we pulled up to the club, I was definitely amazed. I wish i would have gotten a picture of it but it was pretty remarkable. The outside was designed to look like a castle, towers, doors, armor and all.  The inside was beautifully decorated. The walls were made of stone and made to look like the inside of a dungeon. There were 3 floors with very posh looking tables and couches as far as the eye could see.

Most of my night was spent sipping on my drink and people watching. If you have seen the movie Euro Trip, you can picture what this very typical Eastern European club looked like. There were topless dancers, whom no one really paid attention to that also baffled my mind. My favorite aspect of this club was the music selection. Before the main act came on, the DJ mainly played what sounded like Romanian techno. About 20 minutes before the rapper came on stage, the DJ switched to American music and I couldn’t help but laugh. The selection started off with songs from the 80s/90s with Ice, Ice, Baby and Hammertime. It then progressed into some Missy Elliot and Not wanting to lose your love tonight. The last song right before the main act was, I kid you not, Carl Orf’s Carmina Burana. For those of you that are not aware. carmina Burana is one of my favorite musical pieces. It is centuries old and was originally written and performed by Benedictine Monks. Anyways, this song came on…it is a very deep and ominous piece and i was so shocked I didn’t know whether to laugh out loud or cry. The crowd went wild. Everyone threw their hands up in the air and jammed to, not a techno remix, but the original song. Listen to the song below and picture myself along with 500 Romanian youth, rocking out at a rap concert to this song. Priceless.

Saturday was a lot more tame. It was Jeremy-WB’s 31st birthday and since he is one of the people that I consider myself the closest to within our group I decided to make him a birthday cake, with the help of my Gazda mom, naturally. Since I apparently lack the creative ability and soft touch to make a cake look pretty, I was given the grunt work. I cut up the fruit aranged it within the cake and frosted the inside of the cake. Basically I did everything that would not be seen. Luckily my host mom is very creative and together, with my cutting skills, and her creative imagination, we successfully made a quite tasty cake.  Since the weather this weekend was nothing but sunny, we decided to head to the park again and just hang out. There was about 15 of us and we played uno, soccer, talked, listened to music, and just had a great time. After many hours in the sun, a smaller group of us decided to stop by a local restaurant and get some dinner. We found their wine list, saw how cheap bottles of wine here and noticed that this particular restaurant carried my favorite type of wine which made me that much happier.  The wine in this country is usually arranged by color and sweetness, no names. If you know exactly what you like and what you don’t you can go about ordering a glass of wine but it is very rare that you will get the same rose semi-sweet wine at different restaurants. After dinner we took a stroll to the park where we hung out and eventually got serenaded by some locals with a guitar. Below is the video (actually more like audio) of the PCTs and Romanians singing along.

This morning, I was woken up by my host father screaming which I assumed to be profanities and I had no idea why. Denisa came running into the house and grabbed something and said “I need this for the chickens, the dog bit one of them”…..WHAT?!?!?!?! Apparently Ion, my host dad bought who I call Mamasita, my host grandmother a bunch of chickens. I assumed he bought some to take with us when we went to go visit her to cook on the grill. When I get into the car….I hear something moving and realize that the chickens Ion bought were still alive….the story was finally pieced together. The whole 20 minute ride I kept on hearing the chickens squawking and flapping around in the trunk. Wow…

The rest of the day was spent in the country side at gma’s house hanging out in the sun and walking through the garden. Now it’s off to do more Romanian homework! Until next time, te pup!

Probably the Best Pub in The World

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The Tower

This weekend was filled with lots of fun and even more sun! SLAVA DOMNOLUI (Thank god) After all of those rains it was nice to see the sun come out and stay out all weekend long! Friday after class almost the entire PCT group along with the PCVLs (volunteer leaders) and PCV group 26 and 27’s came out to what we refer to as “The Blue Bar” which is basically a very basic old man bar that we and previous PCV groups have taken over on fridays and unintentionally kicked the old men out. We went to the bar and had a drink and just enjoyed each other’s company. A PCV from group 27 was in town this weekend and it was nice to meet him since we have been talking via FB for a few months now. After the blue bar a smaller group of us headed to what we like to refer to as “Our Bar” which is this cute little patio cafe/bar right next to the gorgeous Metropolitan Orthodox Church in the center of the city. We got some dinner there and just hung out for the rest of the night talking and playing games.

Since Saturday was so beautiful a fairly large group of us met up at Chindia park which is located right behind the Tower that Vlad Tepeș (Vlad the Impaler), Dracula, built himself. One could have not asked for a better day. We found a nice grassy spot and hung out, talked, threw around a frisbee, and such for most of the afternoon. After the park, some of us decided to stop by a place just because of its name. This place calls itself “Probably the Best Pub in the World” so naturally we had to go and see what was so great about it. When we sat down and started looking at the menu we realized it was called “Tower Pub” and “Our Bar” is called “Tower Garden” Basically the garden is owned by the pub and since we do think the garden is the best pub in the world (or at least in Targoviste) the slogan sufficed for the Tower pub. The rest of the Saturday was spent walking around the city center with Denisa and Izabela.

Today my language/teaching group met up with our practicum counterpart so we can just get to know each other better and discuss our lesson plans for the upcoming week. I have the 10th grade this week and have to think about what I will be teaching them for an entire hour…wish me luck!

On a side note…I will be having to call Dr. Dan(one of our PC doctors) tomorrow due to a certain…rather funny condition I have developed. Lets just say the bathroom has been my best friend recently and the funny part about this is that it started the day after I ate the dinner I prepared for my family. My host dad thinks the meat didn’t sit well with my stomach because I wasn’t used to it. So basically my own cooking go me sick and no one else…Way to go Jovanka…

Check out some pictures from the park and our meeting today. There are more from the Blue Bar on another PCTs camera that I need to steal soon.

Toodles!

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