30 April 2012

I've moved!

I have a new website! 

You can find me via:




I'm still in the process of organizing it. For some reason all of the posts and images were not transferred, and some posts are there multiple times. But don't worry, as I work on getting that fixed I will still be making new posts!

I look forward to seeing you on the other side :)

23 April 2012


There really are not words to go with this photo, at least for me. My host mom colored her hair last week, and here she is relaxing against a tree as the Priest is doing the traditional Day of the Dead blessings. We waited about 4 hours for him to get to us- but he'd been going for 2 additional hours and had about one more to go.

My host mom is awesome. That's all.

01 April 2012

Baba's and computers

The Internet coming to Varatic has been the topic of discussion in the street (yes, the only street) lately. All of the Babas (aka old women) have been talking about who has already had their Internet installed, who is still waiting for the phone, who has Internet AND TV, how much everything costs, why did this baba get Internet if she doesn't have anyone to talk to and doesn't know how to use a computer...

Oh, wait. That last one. Let's go back.

She doesn't know how to use a computer.

Honestly I do not even remember learning how to use a computer. I know we had a really old one we played games on and made cards with and we had a printer with that paper that was folded like an accordion with perforated edges... and then I remember learning to type in school... and getting our first home computer in 3rd grade for Christmas and Mom had it hidden under the dining room table (not a very good hiding place for snooping kids) and my Aunt spent all Christmas morning programming it... then creating an email account and getting email addresses from my friends (aka their parents) and spending 45 minutes typing a paragraph to a children's author, then learning properly how to type and then becom
ing the master at it through AIM (AOL Instant Messenger)... and then the rest is history. I don't remember it. Not sure how I learned but I just did. Maybe it's because I was a kid and I just absorbed everything... who knows. But I just don't remember.

Most of the villagers in Varatic, though? No idea. I have not seen one person that knows how to properly place their hands on a keyboard and type. The Internet is for finding videos, chatting on Russian Facebook, Skyping with relatives abroad, looking up the weather, poorly translating homework assignments into English, and copy+pasting articles found online and calling it a properly written paper by the student. This is what the KI
DS know. But most of the parents... and grandparents? Nimic.

Apparently today the Internet was supposed to run out with it being the first of the Month and all. There has been quite a bit of confusion, however, because we had to go into the city to pay for the Internet but didn't get it for a few days and then it wasn't really clear just exactly what we were paying for in the end and if the month of April is
covered or not. Apparently it's not. The reason I know this is because our neighbor's Internet stopped working and she called the city and they told her this (although mine still works?). This is how her conversation apparently went:

Baba: Why isn't my internet isn't working?
Internet company: I don't know.
Baba: How can you find out?
IC: Do this, then this then...
Baba: Slow down.
IC: Do this... and type in 1... 34...
Baba: (quietly, away from the phone) Do this... and type in 1... 34...
IC: Who are you talking to?
Baba: My little granddaughter. I don't have any idea what you're saying!

Somehow kids are learning here, too, what to do.

The first day we had the Internet, these 3 girls (one has her head turned) called me to tell me goodnight. Made my day!

Computer lesson: showing off

Just as soon as my host dad had taken his last bite of dinner he was already out of his chair and walking to grab his laptop to go sit on the bed. This was the dialogue as he did so, and then showed off his computer knowledge:

Host Dad: Look! I'm going to tell you the weather for the next 10 days!
(sits on bed and turns the computer on)
Host Mom: It's going to be -2 tomorrow night.
HD: Leave me alone. You don't know that.
HM: Yes I do.
(HD opens up the weather page using the star I taught him)
Me: BRAVO! Look at you using what I taught you.
HD: Yes, and look. (presses on the down arrow). The page moves without the mouse.
Me: Very good.
HD: Ok... Tomorrow it will get to 10 degrees and tomorrow night it will be -2, Tuesday will be...
HM: (interrupting). See. I told you it will be -2. And I didn't even need the computer to tell you that.
HD: (continues with just a slight pause) 13 ... (and continues to say the predicted forecast for the next 9 days.

When I finished bathing, he had pulled up traditional Romanian music videos, had made them full screen, and they were also watching TV. My host parents are turning into the ultimate multitasks.

29 March 2012

Behind closed doors: pt 2

This video is from my favorite duo on YouTube. As soon as I started watching it I immediately thought of my post on "behind closed doors". This little girl wrote this song... so it is from a child's standpoint.

Please don't cry. I'm sorry for what I did. Please don't cry. I'm with you and it's alright.

27 March 2012

Computer lesson #4: Social Networking

When I entered my host parent's house for dinner tonight, my host dad was already searching for music videos online and they'd already successfully Skyped with their daughter and her kids in Cambodia... all without me! I was very impressed! But HD had forgotten all about going to the star (favorites) button.

Me: Why aren't you using the site I showed you for music?
HD: I forgot how.
Me: You go to the star, remember?
HD: But the star is just a star. It doesn't mean anything.
Me: except all of the websites you're going to use. All in one place. Doamne.

Then they wanted to create a Russian Facebook account so they could see photos of their daughter and her kids and they didn't want to keep using my login... when we tried to do it it did not work because you need a cellphone so they can text an activation code and someone (aka one of my students, I assume) apparently used my number to create their own account. So we made a Facebook strictly for the sole purpose of them being able to look through photos of their kids... and me, of course, because they agreed to invite me to be their friend and, of course, I accepted. We took a quick photo using their computer and I absolutely LOVE it. (Students: PLEASE DO NOT FIND THEM ON FACEBOOK!!!!! THEY DON'T WANT TO SEE WHAT YOU DO IN YOUR FREE TIME... AND THEY DON'T CARE)

I'm really going to miss them.

26 March 2012

Computer lesson #3

"Tonight you'll sleep with Irina," said my host mom as I introduced my host dad to grooveshark, which is how we get Pandora to work over here in Moldova. I should have started this thread of blog posts on Saturday, when we began our first computer lesson. The first two lessons went pretty much like this:

Day 1-
Host dad (HD): How do you turn on the thing?
Me: With this button.
HD: How do you turn it off?
Me: You close it.
HD: But it's not off. How do you turn it off?
(side note: he was the technology teacher at school for awhile, in which he taught himself how to use a computer using a book as he was teaching the students at the same time)
Me: Oh, off. This button... click...
HD: (interrupting) OH! SHUT.DOWN. I remember!
Me: Great, yes, shutdown.
HD: Now, I want to call my Elena. How do I do that?
Me: Skype. I already downloaded it. Here is your login and your password. She hasn't accepted your request to talk to her yet, so you can't talk to her. You'll know she's on the computer when it's green.
HD: But can't I call her?
Me: No, not till it's green. But, look, I'm here. You can call me. Here's how you write a message. Click here, write.
HD: Where?

... and it went on.


Day 2:
(Host Mom -HM- comes to my room)
HM: Catusa, Nicolai needs your help.
Me: Ok, five minutes.
(go to their house)
Me: What happened?
HD: How do I call my Elena?
Me: You can't. It's not green. Plus, it's too late.
HM: I TOLD him! See, it needs to be GREEN. That's what I said. I should have taught the technology classes, not you.
HD: Leave me alone.
HD: Ok, I want to go to a site.
Me: What site?
HM: Odnoklassniki [Russian/Moldovan equivalent to Facebook]
HD: Yes, Odnoklassniki
Me: Oh, boy. Ok. It's in Russian so I don't know how to use it, but, sure. Let's go. Do you want to create an account?
HD: You need an account?
HM: I TOLD you that you need an account!
HD: Leave me alone. No, I don't want an account.
Me: Ok, fine. We'll log into mine. (log in). Now we're here. What do you want to do?
HD/HM: I don't know.
Me: Let's find Elena.
(we find her then look through pictures)

Me: Now what?
HD: let's look... oh! Solitare.
Me: You know how to play Solitare?
HD: Yes. Watch, Antonina. (struggles with moving the touchpad mouse)...
... there is a 6 that goes on the 7... a 2 that goes on the 3... now nothing. Why are there 3 cards here?
Me: Let me change the setting for you.
Me: Have fun. I'm going to bed.
HD: No, I'm done now. How do I close it?

Now we're at Day 3. My host dad came into my room this afternoon as he had some students that were waiting to begin their lessons and sat next to me asking me what I was doing (I was watching a video review on a new camera). Side note: my host mom does this all the time... but my host dad never does. He sat there for a minute then went to begin his lessons. Two minutes later he left, then came back. Just after that, I was packing up to leave and he seemed rather frantic when saying, "Please go look at my computer. I don't know what happened, but something happened and it won't close. Then please come back and tell me what happened." When I went to look at it, I saw that it was installing updates (it's a new computer and this is only the 3rd day it's been used). "So, I should just leave it there until it's done?" "Yes, HD," I said, "Leave it there until the screen is black. Then turn it back on." "But how do I do that?" oh boy...

HM: Cate, he is busy? (in English)
Me: What?
HM: He is busy?
Me: I don't understand.
HM: Are you busy? (In Romanian)
Me: Oh, no. Not really.
HM: Ok, good. HD needs your help.
HM: How do you say 'busy'?
Me: busy.
HM: He is not busy?
Me: Haha. No, She is not busy.
HM: Ok, I'll tell him. He is not busy.
... doamne.

I go in for dinner and my HD asked me if I wanted mamaliga (a traditional cornmeal dish). I said sure, whatever, I don't care. Then my HM informed me that she didn't want to make it but my HD informed her that I wanted it and so did he. I guess we're bff now. About halfway into dinner and a couple of shots of wine in, my host dad tells me he would like for me to show him how to listen to music on the computer. Of course this isn't a problem... except they don't have any music on their computer. So instead of choosing youtube, I decided on grooveshark, which, like I said in the beginning, is the European version of Pandora. I wanted to take a bath so I went to get the water started then took the computer to sit on the bed because there wasn't room on the table.

HD: You don't need the cable?
Me: No.
HD: But it won't work without it.
HM: It's a battery.
Me: Yup, she's right. It's a battery. It will work for a few hours without the cable.
HD: Oh. Ok.
(I tested to find the easiest way to use the site, then added it to the favorites bar so it's easy to find)
HD: That was too complicated. How does it work?
Me: I haven't shown you yet. Go to the star... then click where it says "search" and type in the name of an artist you like... etc
HD: I don't know where the letters are
Me: Find them
HD: I...r....i...n...a...space...L...o...g...h...i...n
HD: Oh! Look! Irina Loghin
Me: Yes, click there. Here you can watch a video and here you can just listen to the music
(he seems to get of the hang of it so I stand up to go get in the tub)
HD: Where are you going? It doesn't matter when you go to bed. It's all the same.
Me: To take a bath
HD: (looks at HM) she's taking a bath? Is the water ready? Is it stopped? Is it hot?
HM: You've had too much wine and now you're going to sleep with Irina tonight.
Me: I'm taking my bath now. Have fun.

(I take my bath then come out to see my HD has figured out how to change the videos on grooveshark)

Me: Ok, do you have any more questions?
HD: Yes, I have thousands of questions.
Me: Ok, what are they?
HD: How do you do this again?

... good thing I still have 2 1/2 months. We have lots of computer lessons ahead of us!