30 August 2010

Only child

Ion and his girlfriend just left to go back to Russia- which will make me an only child in this family until next summer. I will miss the constant confusion as to which language is to be spoken to whom at the dinner table and the possibility of a translator for some words here and there when I don't understand, or visa-versa.

Even though my NPG were mad at Ion last night (and even this morning), it apparently got all settled and NMG cried as her son left, unsure of when the next time will be when they talk or when he will be back home. As she was silently crying, Vasile said nu plins (don't cry). Like I said before, he is usually indecipherable... but this we all heard as clear as day.

29 August 2010

Happiness in the World?

I had an interesting discussion with my NFG tonight at dinner. My NPG were arguing with their son about his girlfriend and their dislike of her while I was awkwardly sitting there listening to the whole thing in Romanian as she was sitting there unable to understand anything because she only speaks Russian. Talk about uncomfortable. My NTG later began talking about paradis (Heaven/paradise) and hell (I forget the Romanian word). He was saying in paradise, everything is perfect, everything is beautiful, everything is wonderful, etc. You were in a paradise, you will go to a paradise, but you are not IN a paradise now. Ok, I guess I can work with that. But then he said life is not happy and neither are people. Now, he didn't just mean on a case-to-case basis (I know this because I asked). He meant as a majority, people in this World are not happy. He seemed to blame my age and lack of experience as the reason for why I believe this is not the case. Sure, maybe this is true. But is life really so bad that as you get older you realize life isn't beautiful and there are many reasons not to be happy? Maybe it's my optimistic outlook on life that says otherwise, but I would think there are more people out there that would side with me on this situation... yes? no? Is it possible to be happy when you're "old"? I sure hope so...


This is what I respect most about my NFG at this point: how they treat Vasile.

Vasile is a 70 year old neighbor who "was born sick". When he speaks, it is undecipherable in any language. Supposedly it's Moldovaneste, but who really knows. He talks all the time, has never been married, and never had a family (other than the one that raised him, I suppose). Even though he is "sick", my NMG lets him take the corn off of the cob for the chickens and she gives him food in return for his work. Because of the work I have done with children of special needs, this gives me a great respect for her, especially considering my family told me to stay away from the "sick" people here. I really appreciate her patience with him, and her willingness to give him work and food.

Sometimes actions say more than words.

Weekend recap

This weekend began with Ross venturing to Varatic. It was an interesting series of events (including being overcharged and then told to take a different bus), but 4 hours later he finally made it!
We took a walk to pass some time because, well, there's not much else to do here. On the way to the river passed by one of the 2 cemeteries in the village and I became very curious- so I began to explore. At first I thought it was really small, but boy was I mistaken! It kept going and going. Most of the tombstones from 1996 had pictures of those that had passed on them. Some were just blue crosses with the names and sometimes the dates painted on them, and all were above ground. I couldn't explore as much as I wanted to because, unlike the cemeteries at home, much of it was overgrown. Something else to note about the cemetery is that there are picnic tables all over because Easter is a big celebration that takes place there. Also, all of the flowers that people put on the tombstones are left there (probably because they don't mow like they do at home).
After taking at least 30 minutes on this little excursion, we went to the river, where I met some 4th graders that let me take their pictures as they jumped from the rocks. I bet they slept well that night... they never seemed to stop jumping!
Friday night concluded with a visit with Maria. Friday was the 19th year of Independence for Moldova but nothing exciting happened in Varatic because "it's a new celebration". Regardless, we celebrated with Maria, her husband, 2 daughter-in-laws, and son. The food was great, and the conversation was, once again, humorous. She told us that she would have been born on September 9th (hey- that's a good day!!!) but because of the change of the calendar, her birthday is now September 21st. I'm curious as to what that means- anyone want to fill me in on a little history lesson? She said she didn't know because it happened when she was young...

Yesterday was the day of Saint Maria (Mary). Want to know how it is celebrated? Yes, of course you do! No one works or bathes. Sounds like a heckuva way to celebrate to me! :) So, while we did that, we also went with L and some her family to the Pruit river where we had a bbq of pork and fried tomatoes. I almost felt like I was in America- if only we had some bbq sauce! While it was windy and chilly, it was still a lot of fun and a nice break from, well, the school year that is about to come!

Today it's a cool and rainy day, which is a perfect day for me to watch Pretty Woman and get some work done. Can't wait!

28 August 2010

Morning view

I awoke this morning after tossing and turning all night (due to difficulty breathing... thankfully I'm feeling a little better now) and I went outside to head to the veceu. As soon as I walked out the door I saw the rising sun to my left, and to the right I saw the moon. The sun was in the exact same place as the moon when I walked in to the house last night- very cool. It had also started to sprinkle a bit which was very refreshing (because I can't even tell you the last time I saw rain here).

26 August 2010

180º turnaround

I can't even begin to explain the turnaround that happened yesterday. Tuesday was a battle that turned into a great night, but I was not expecting a day like I had yesterday.

When I woke up in the morning, I went to get some breakfast (which is usually some coffee and a piece of bread with jam... or something similarly simple). NTG met me in the bucateria (kitchen) and told me there was piine cu oua (bread with eggs aka french toast minus the syrup) and jam, plus a hard-boiled egg, salt, and coffee. He was being so accommodating and very friendly. I'm not saying he wasn't like this in the past... well, kind of... but I definitely felt some tension up until this point. So, I ate breakfast then headed to school, and I didn't see him until I got home later in the afternoon (after attempting to make sugar cookies, but they were an epic fail. I guess I'm not as "domestic" as Ross though LOL!).

NTG asked my FGs GF and me to help him make dinner because NMG and FG were in Riscani all day. He showed me exactly what he was doing as he made a tomato/carrot sauce for the rabbit. I wasn't much help, but he kept telling me to sit. So I did. Then, after it was done, he sat down with me at the table. We started having a discussion about how my day was and then we began talking about the last few days and the "battles" (so to speak) that we'd been having. We talked through every detail of it and resolved everything! Then we just talked about a lot of things. He told me if I didn't have such a handsome boyfriend, he'd like me to date his son (who, btw, goes back to Russia with his girlfriend on Monday). He'd like someone more beautiful and intelligent and hardworking for his son- and supposedly I fit that description. While I totally appreciate his kind words (I take this as a sign that NTG likes me), I'm very happy with Ross. Luckily NTG won't be pushing this in any direction- he learned quickly I don't work like that. Whew!

Speaking of people trying to "set me up" with Moldovans, it's a constant topic of conversation here in Moldova. When someone meets me for the first time, they ask 2 questions:
1. Do you like Moldova?
2. Are you married?

Then they say, "You know, there is a legend here that if you drink water out of the well then you will find your love and stay in Varatic forever." Maybe this is why Peace Corps won't let us drink water straight from the well... lol.

So... with all of this said... life took a 180º in the right direction yesterday. The night concluded with lots of house wine with dinner, a few house guests (including 2 cats and a dog and some neighbors), and a game of Uno. With some time I really think I'm going to like it here.

25 August 2010

Birthday Party

Yesterday I was strongly advised against going to a birthday party, of which I was invited, because I did not know the woman. However, she is the mother of my partner teacher, and she had asked that I come. But in Moldova, especially in the villages, one does not go to a birthday party if they are not friends (CLOSE friends) with the birthday person. So, for me to come along would not have been seen respectful, my NTG says, and people will talk and laugh at me for it, and I would then not have a good reputation in the village. Oh boy.

After much discussion with my NTG, NMG, and Peace Corps, I decided it was OK if I went to this party- that ended up being a normal dinner that just so happened to fall on the birthday of L’s mom, and so L just so happened to bring flowers, and I just so happened to bring my camera (go figure).

We met her father in the street who, for some reason, only wants to speak Russian to me. He speaks Moldovaneste to the family, but claims I understand Russian completely, so it is better. That’s very kind of him, but I really don’t understand a thing. LOL. He’d lived in Russia for 10 years so I guess it’s more natural to him, or something. No worries. At least I know who to go to if I want a Russian teacher!

I then met her mother and grandmother at the house. L left me alone with the grandmother while she helped her mother prepare dinner. Although she is 77, I was able to understand almost every word she said (aka we kept the conversation going). She was also funny and the life of the party. She absolutely loved having her picture taken (I see where L’s daughter gets it), and she also likes to go to bed without telling anyone. :P

L’s mom, the birthday girl, was also very sweet. She, contrary to her mother and granddaughter, does not like to have her picture taken. Regardless, she agreed to pose for a few pictures. She works at a magazin toward the entrance to town, and asked me to come over whenever I want. Olga and I are going to make cookies to night to bring to the teachers tomorrow (great way to meet them!), and she said we must bring some to her. No problem. I’d be HAPPY to do so!

Unfortunately these posts are going to come in groups because, like I’ve said before, the Internet (of which Maria had no idea what that is!) doesn’t work well. Supposedly in September that will change and I will finally be able to Skype and post pictures again. I spent all day yesterday working on pictures, so I’ll have a few slideshows ready for ya’ll soon.

An Angel?

I had logged in to blogspot to write a post about how much I’ve been struggling these last few days and how this has been the hardest part about being in Moldova thus far- when I got a knock on my door. It was my NTG telling me a guest had arrived. Her name was Maria (and she introduced herself as Mary) and she must have been an Angel sent from Heaven. Seriously, I am not kidding.

She had her lightly colored red hair in a loose bun on top of her head. She was short. She looked like a grandmother coming out of the movies. Her voice was slightly high pitched, and she spoke English so well- and without an accent- that I would have assumed she was a native speaker. We talked for a couple of minutes before we reached a point where you couldn’t stop us even if you wanted to.

I eventually got to a point where I brought up my host family situation and how I wasn’t feeling like they wanted me here and I wasn’t feeling a bond with them, and how I felt like I was being restricted from integrating into the community. She said my NTG is strict (I figured that one out pretty quick). But she also said to take what he said with a grain of salt because this is my life and I need to enjoy my time here. He says what he does all with good intentions- which wasn’t something I was able to see before. After 3 days in a row of lectures about how I wanted to do something incorrectly, I felt like he didn’t want me to know anyone, when, in fact, he doesn’t want me to make a mistake or to get hurt. Now I can appreciate that (been there, done that). But there also comes a point when I need to make a mistake to learn from it. And, who knows… even if I do what they suggest against, maybe it won’t be a mistake after all.

Maria also told me something no one has admitted to yet- Romanian and Moldovaneste are COMPLETELY different languages. Everyone has tried to tell me that they are basically one in the same, just with some different words here and there. But she said absolutely not. Her granddaughter married a Romanian and they came to stay with them last week. The grandson-in-law could not understand them, and they could not understand him. Maria teaches Romanian, therefore she knows it, but it was still completely different. Moldovaneste, she says, has a lot more Russian influence than most people will admit (due to the Soviet past). Now this all makes complete sense why I could understand every word the Romanian teacher was saying the other day when she was talking to other teachers (not to me, therefore talking in her normal speed)… and why I can’t understand most of what my new host family is saying. So, Daddyo made a good point here- why are we taught perfect Romanian and not Moldovaneste? That is a good question…

The quote that probably made my week, though, was this from Maria:Me: Putin, putin (referring to me only wanting a LITTLE bit of wine in my glass instead of a full one)Maria: A little, a little. A little bit of Monica by my side.

Get it? It’s a song from in the last 90’s or early 2000’s I believe… A little bit of Monica by my side. A little Mary all night long… a little bit of Jessica (I forget the rest…). She said it not in the tune of the song, but as if it was a part of every day conversation. I about died from laughter once I finally realized what she said. It was SO funny.

After this, I had to excuse myself to go to a birthday dinner (the topic of lecture for the day)… and a story of which I will write about for another post.

OH! I almost forgot. Maria is THE reason L wanted to become an English teacher. I think I’ve found my official tutor (and lifeline) here in Varatic. What is also great about her is clearly my family respects her and we also understand each other. So I know if I ever have a misunderstanding with them again, that I can contact her and we can all work it out together. What a relief.

21 August 2010

Feels like fall

It feels like fall here in Moldova...

Here's a pic of my mom taking a walk with my sister and me... missing her a lot today.

20 August 2010

still on a roll

In the 15 minutes I've been on this rutiera, the guy behind me had to tell me to be careful because my internet stick was going to break if it kept pressing on the arm rest and also that my notebook had slid in the aisle a few seats in front of me.

Seriously. On. a. roll.

Only 1 1/2 hours to go...

Faster internet

So, I'm on a rutiera heading to see Ross for the weekend and my internet is incredibly fast. Note to self: Have all photos prepared and ready for a blog update as I'm driving. Space may be cramped, but at least I don't wait forever for internet!!!

Speaking of internet...

This morning I woke up early to have a much-needed skype call with Bee. When I went to bed last night, I had put my laptop on the bed next to mine so I could just roll over and turn it on and get to talking. But when I woke up, my internet stick was gone! I looked ALL over. After about 30 minutes of looking everywhere, I gave up and decided to get some breakfast since I had to catch a rutiera in a bit, and I also figured the stick was right under my nose and I just couldn't see it because I was looking for it. When I went for breakfast I told NMG about it and she thought it was hilarious, but decided to help me look for it. We go to my room and look ALL over for about 10 minutes. I had gotten to the point where I was pretty sure I woke up in the middle of the night and hid it just to make a funny story. Subconsciously, of course. Finally she started shaking my duvet, of which I had folded neatly because that seems to be the routine here. All of a sudden I felt something hit me. The stick had somehow gotten INSIDE the duvet and was at the bottom corner. Way to make things complicated, Cate.

... butter me up because I'm on a roll here in Varatic. This weekend NEW VILLAGE = new ways to embarrass myself.

19 August 2010

Lost in Translation

Well, here I am in Varatic. I made it! Yahoo! Swearing in was an experience, and I even got to say the same oath that the President of the United States says as he gets sworn in. The hour drive with the principal of my school and her husband, the Mayor, was rather interesting, and got spiced up when Mr Mayor got hot so pulled over to the side of the road and changed into a t-shirt and basketball shorts. But, hey, he made up for his being informal by surprising me by taking me to Pelenia for a few minutes to surprise Ross for his birthday and drop off his present. It had been 3 weeks, I missed my family in Razeni, and I was heading to a new place. That was EXACTLY what I needed. So, they got on my good side by that amazing surprise, and I got on their good side by offering them beef jerky and American gum from my care package (thanks Bette!), right? Of COURSE! :)

Due to the incredibly slow internet I have here, pictures will unfortunately be few and far between. I went on a walk and got some INCREDIBLE shots of Varatic- but you are going to have to wait.... so much for that "photo of the day"!

But this walk does lead me to a very funny story involving being lost in translation. So, it was a beautiful day here in Varatic. Definitely not too hot, and definitely not cold. There was a nice breeze... it felt like one of the first days of fall. Because I had some time before dinner would be ready, this seemed to be the best time for a photo walk. I tell my NTG (=New Tata Gazda) which, by the way, NTG and NMG think it is hilarious that I refer to my family in Razeni as my Mom, Dad Ion, and sisters...) that I am going for a walk, and I'll be back in a couple of hours. His response: Alone?!
NMG's response 2 minutes later: ALONE?!
My response: Is that okay?
Their response: no.
I guess after only being here 1 day, that isn't a good idea because there are people in this village and there are people in this village. The people are okay to talk to, but the people are not. So, I learned that in a town of 2200 people (and people) that I should not walk around when I do not know anyone. Ok, I respect their wishes (after all, they have lived here their whole lives) and I let NTG join me in my now not so relaxing and stress-relieving stroll.
We start walking in the opposite direction of the "city center" and instead toward the next closest village. At this point I have no idea where we are going. No worries, though. He had a plan.
He took me on a trail off of the main road after walking a couple of minutes, we had a beautiful view of the river. (This is where I'd love to insert a picture if it wouldn't take all night to upload). He then said he was going to leave me there, and I needed to be back in an hour and a half (getting me back at 7:30 for dinner). Perfect! So I walk, I explore, I take a bazillion pictures, I have some "me" time, I have some phone time, and I have a great time. I didn't see any other people or people except for the ones swimming in the river, or paddling their boat. I'm pretty sure this is the way he wanted it.
I stop by the church, then the stadium on the way back because I heard a lot of students and figured this would be a great time to make my presence known. When I was about 1 minute from home I saw my NMG talking with some neighbors. She was holding a knife and saying a word to me that I didn't understand (which has become a recurring theme here), and she seemed unhappy with me. She asked a neighbor to translate for me, and from what she was saying, I thought it meant "worried", even though she didn't know the exact word (which would have been helpful here). So I went with it- feeling really guilty. She also said she brought a knife with her because she was afraid something had happened to me and she might have needed to hurt somebody with it (at least she was looking after me!). They said NTG had gone to where I was and couldn't find me. We went home- me feeling incredibly guilty, and her explaining that I shouldn't have been gone so long because I don't know anyone, even though NTG said that was the time I should be home (PS, I was arriving on time).
When I got home I sat NTG down to apologize. He seemed a bit confused as I was trying to explain why NMG had a knife. Finally we go find her. Apparently she had the knife to open the shell of fresh walnuts... not to protect me from the people in Varatic.

Joke is on me now. I have a feeling this story will never go away. I can't wait until I can tell it in Romanian.

(PS- I also met a woman today who is 69 and both of her parents, in their 90's, are alive. With the average age of death being 65 here, that is incredible. My NMG also has both of her grandparents still alive, in their 90's, although her parents have passed on. I would like to know their secret).

Now it's time for bed. Big weekend ahead to celebrate Ross's birthday! I can't wait to FINALLY cook something!

17 August 2010

Almost done

Wow, I can't believe how fast the time has flown. It's already been over 2 months, and tomorrow i leave for my permanent site. Vica (the middle child) arrived tonight after studying the last 4 months in Switzerland. We had been introduced via Skype, but it's great to finally meet her in person! She is super nice, and it really is crazy how much we look alike. I totally feel like part of this family- and so, now that everyone is here, it's hard to be leaving.

It's been raining most of the day- helping us prepare for a super muddy walk to the school with all of our luggage...

I know I know I know that pictures are needed. They will be coming very soon. I promise!!!!!!

Last day in Razeni

It's my last day in Razeni. I didn't have any classes today- only a REALLY short meeting in the afternoon with the big guys to make sure everything is going well and I'm still happy here and this, that, and the other.

Lucky for me I had a lot to do: aka laundry and packing. Due to a really busy last few days (well, weeks, but in particular last few days), I took advantage of this free day to sleep in until 9:45. When I woke up, I was the only person home, which is what I was expecting because MG said she was going to be gone for a bit in Chisinau. Fine, no worries. That gave me time to get things done so I could be free for the rest of the afternoon. But now it's 6:15pm and she's still not home, and she's not coming home until around 8:30 tonight (or later) because she's waiting for one of her daughters to arrive from Switzerland. I just wished I could have spent the day with her :(

13 August 2010

Star gazing

Ok, so photo of the day failed today because I went to sleep super early in order to wake up at 3am. I did take the picture- but I'll post it tomorrow.

Why did I wake up at 3 am is probably what you are asking yourself... and why am I updating my blog at 4:30am. Here's my answer: meteor shower. You wouldn't believe how many stars you can see here! When I drove from Kansas to Colorado one night I thought I saw a lot of stars- but it's nothing compared to this. Then when you add the shooting stars to it- WOW! What a scene!

So, I set my alarm for 3am and text Mandy and Raymond to see if they were still up for it. Much to my disbelief, Mandy was already out there with her family looking for the shooting stars. Raymond was basically in the same boat as me... if you're going, sure, I'll come too. It wasn't that we didn't want to see the shooting stars... it's that it was 3am. But boy oh boy am I thankful that I got out of bed!

Mandy and her MG and SG were standing outside their gate looking up at the sky. I thought ahead and brought a blanket to lay on- of which Mandy was thankful for because her neck was beginning to hurt. After an hour and a half of this star gazing, I'm sure she would have been really sore tomorrow if I wouldn't have brought the blanket! Either that, or she would have missed a lot!

We saw some tiny shooting stars out of the corners of our eyes, some that were super bright and left tails, and some that even seemed as if someone had thrown a rock to skip across the top of the water. We found the little dipper (of which Mandy kept calling a "cluster" of stars), the big dipper, and the North star. Even after that online astronomy class, I have to be honest- I can't locate any more constellations. There was this belt of stars stretching across the sky- looking much like that of the Milky Way, but that's not possible since we are in the Milky Way... correct? And we saw some airplanes, and some what we think are satellites, and some of what were too far away to be airplanes but to bright to be satellites...? That will take some looking in to...

Now it's 4:40 and I'm going to go back to bed. I hope. But this was the first time I have ever seen a meteor shower and it was an awesome experience, and I'm glad my friends got me out of bed. We even got some nunta bread (wedding bread... it's tradition) as someone stopped to see if we were ok, as they were just getting home from a wedding (this is another post in the making...)

noapte buna


12 August 2010

Photo of the day....

I'm going to bring back the "photo of the day" that I started awhile back. I've gotten to a point in my service here where things no longer seem "new", so the stories are becoming few and far between... it's 7am, so I will start this when I get back tonight. If there's something you'd like to read about, let me know. Or if you have questions- send them this way!

11 August 2010

One week left

Well, I have one more week left in Razeni! I cannot believe how fast the time has flown! I'm going to miss my current family so much, but I am also very excited for what lay ahead of me.

This has been my schedule for the last 2 weeks:
6am: Wake up, plug in my heater to have hot water by 7
6-7am: work on lessons
7-8:15am: shower, eat breakfast, more work on lessons
8:30-11am: Romanian class
11-1pm: Practice school (teaching 9th form this time!)
1-2pm: Lunch
2-5pm: Lesson planning
5-6:30pm: Dance class
6:30-10pm: de-brief, chat on skype, watch Glee, eat dinner, talk with family, work, etc.

Then it starts all over again.

I'm not complaining in the least bit. It's great having a set schedule like this! It makes the days go by really fast and there is never any question about what is going to happen next. After Saturday- all of that is going to change. We have a farewell party, meeting with our future families, meetings, and swearing-in (have I mentioned I'm not technically an official PCV yet? I'm still a trainee until Wednesday)... Then, it's off to Varatic on Wednesday! Once I get there I really have no idea what will happen.

I really am getting anxious about the move- anxious in a good way. Like I said, I'm going to miss my current family a lot. But I feel like a lot of time is being wasted as we finish up PST and I'm ready to just get started. It's almost like PST is a working vacation because I'm not at my official site, but I'm working. It will be really nice to get in the full swing of things...

On a super up side- the country director contacted me and asked for me to give him some photos to send to Washington for a press release! I have to choose 12-24 and write captions. I'm so excited for this opportunity! Maybe, after my 2 years of service, I can get a job to be an official photographer for the PC and travel from country to country taking pictures for everyone for press releases and such. That would be awesome.

Time for another Glee episode and some more typing of the lesson plans...

O zi buna! (Have a good day!)


10 August 2010

In need of a major update

I know, I know, I know. Here I was complaining about people not reading my blog, and then I fail to update it. Goal: Make progress.

Of course I am once again just about to run out the door. That seems to be a recurring theme lately. It's not that I'm waking up just in time to throw on some clothes- I wake up 2 hours before I have to leave. It's just that I have been so ridiculously busy and I've had so much to do that I don't much time for anything else (except the occasional facebook check-up and skype chat with family and friends). I will admit- I am also becoming hooked to Glee, but thankfully I can multitask and watch it as I'm getting things done. If you like music you should check it out! I wonder what took me so long...

Anyways... time is just flying by. I can't believe I've already been in Moldova for 2 months as of today. I'm speaking the language enough to get around, and understanding even more. I've found myself an incredible guy, made friends that I know I will have for a lifetime. I've also realized that although traveling is an incredible thing, it's nice to stick around home every once in awhile. Before I left for Moldova I made a list of what all I'd done in the previous 27 months: in which almost every month included at least one vacation. I may be kicking myself for saying all of this later, but it really is nice to actually stay put for awhile...

Now I REALLY need to run out the door... but thanks for reading!!!


05 August 2010

Evening thunder

As I was eating dinner with the MG and having our normal catch up/story time, the wind began to pick up FULL FORCE. The lights weren't on in the kitchen (the window faces the setting sun- it's perfect at dinner time!), and all of a sudden it got really dark. I could still see the sun out the window, but out the door it had become almost green. Had I been in Kansas I would have thought tornado sirens would have been sounding at any minute. MG took me outside and told me that it wasn't going to rain because the sun was still shining on the honeysuckles. Well, it's currently raining so I call false on that idea. It was a good try on her part. But the rain is perfect- really light with a light roll of thunder in the background. The sun is now completely set, I am (finally) clean, and I look forward to passing out to the sound of the rain and thunder. Bring it on, Mother Nature!

Goal setting

A friend of mine had a link to this article on his facebook. I found it to be of particularly good timing for a couple of reasons. First, we have 1 1/2 weeks left of practice school, and 2 weeks until the official departure to Varatic. Then there's 2 weeks until class begins. Time is just flying, and I feel it is important to set some goals. Also, I sometimes I feel like my blog isn't read. Through google analytics I can see that it is- but then I remember that while I am writing for you, I am also writing for me. I'm not keeping a personal journal (except for the notes I make in my moleskin throughout the day) so these posts are what I will have to look back on and remember my trip.

What I learned with this article when it comes to setting goals:
Getting rich doesn't have to be fast. While you may think the writer was talking about making money, that wasn't necessarily the case. What he means is that in order to accomplish a goal, it has to be realistic, and it doesn't have to happen as fast as possible. When I am teaching, I can't expect the students to understand my style of teaching or my dialect immediately. Nor can I expect them to understand a grammar concept immediately. It takes times. When they do understand (finally), it will be great. But it may take an entire until, an entire semester, or maybe even the entire year. Learning takes time. Accomplishing goals takes time. You have to take baby steps to get there- it can't just be done overnight.

Building a foundation. This totally relates to my blogging. Even if I know that no one is reading my blog, I still need to keep going. If I stay in the habit of it, it won't be a fail. My goal before I left was to update it everyday. While I now realize that was unrealistic, as long as I am able to post every few days, I am building that foundation. He says, " I write because writing is the foundation of my work, and it comes before everything else." While writing is not the foundation of my work, it is helping build my foundation for remembering stories in the future. And sharing my stories with you now, and also my photographs. He states that it is important to figure out what you want to do every day of the week in order to maintain the main goal. I can apply this when working with my students... what do I want them to get out of learning for the week- and more specific, for each day (yay 4MAT lesson plans).

Aggressive goals with realistic deadlines. I think this is one of my favorites. It goes with not getting rich fast because he encourages us to set huge goals- lifetime goals- and deadlines to achieve them. But it's not just about lifetime goals and deadlines. It's also about taking that leap to set a goal that you know will take you a long time to achieve. Something I have learned through working with children is how important it is to have patience. If you set a goal (a realistic one) but you know it will take decades to achieve it, take your time when pushing forward with it. Be patient- because one day the goal will be achieved and it will be a wonderful feeling. (Think makes me think of the Dennis the Menace movie for some reason when Mr. Wilson is waiting forever for this plant to bloom because it only blooms once in "x"amount of years- and unfortunately in his case, Dennis messed it all up. But that's besides the point- the point is he was patiently waiting for this!)

Be fully committed. Don't commit to a goal if you're not willing to let the time pass in order to achieve it. I think this will come to play when I work on my secondary projects. I tend to like to start doing things and then when it takes longer than I think it will, I stop. This won't be possible with my secondary projects. I will need to keep trucking, and realize it will take time.

With all of this said, it is important to not forget that there are such things as short-term goals and daily goals- this is just focusing on the long-term goals and realizing long-term sometimes means a few months, years, decades.

Short term goal for tonight: think of some long term goals. ;)

03 August 2010

My 5th grade Practice form class

Today I wrapped up my first 7 days of Practice School with the 5th form class. They took their test yesterday and for the most part did a not-so-great job. I'm not sure if it was my teaching or the fact that I was teaching these kids as if they had been studying English for 3 years, when they had actually never studied it. I'm going to lean to the latter strictly for the reason that I'm pretty sure that was the case.
Regardless, today we wrapped up. We went over the test, played hangman, played musical chairs, UNO, and a snowball game (with the encouragement from my resource teacher who said the games needed to be productive). Overall the week finished up well. I am much more comfortable in the classroom and teaching by myself, I finally understand the 4MAT lesson plan, and I learned more ways to teach to get all of the students active and involved.

After lessons (and lunch!) we also talked about Academic dishonesty in the classrooms. It was fascinating to talk about what exactly happens when a test (or homework) is given. The kids get more and more creative as the teacher gets more observant and strict about copying. In fact, the teachers here even tend to turn a head when cheating is going on because the students (and schools) need to look good in order to receive funding. This goes so far as the kids even cheat on the baccalaureate- which therefore causes Universities in other countries to turn a head when they see a good score on this exam because they don't know if the students got that score in a legit façon, or they cheated their way through it.

I'm not going to write more about this now because I'm not sure if it's ok, so I will find that out and then continue this post if I can...

In the meantime, check out the pics of my kiddos!

01 August 2010


After a full day of working (and making my FIRST classroom visual), I got home and found out I could not open my gate... You see, THIS is the lock. Yes, you see that correct. It is a screw tied to a piece of yarn!
It goes through a hole and keeps the gate shut.

However, it works REALLY well. So well, in fact, that I got locked out of the house! I could not get the gate open, and neither could our neighbor, Vera. She tried, I tried, and it eventually came down to me jumping the fence and opening the ”garage”. What makes this story even more humorous is that my host sister was home the whole time- sunbathing in the garden.

Hehe. At least I know it works!
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Much needed weekend

After working 13 out of 14 days 8:30-5, this weekend was much needed. As soon as language class was finished on Monday I went home, changed my clothes, and met up with Mandy to find our way to Mileștii Mici.
The ride was quick- only 30 minutes, compared to the usual 2 hours if we were to take the long way. We met a nice man who grew up in Răzeni but moved his family to Chișinău so he could work. I would venture to guess he was in his 60s, but I really have become awful at guessing the age of people here. At one point in his life he moved to France to work, but he moved back after 16 months because he felt it was more important to be by his family than to be making more money. As I got out of the car I told him ”Voi aveți o enima mare” which means ”You all have a large heart when I really meant to say he had a large heart. When his response was I know, no wonder I was a bit confused! Haha. Oops!

Anyways, the weekend ended up being perfect. Ross and I took a long walk up this huge hill and had an incredible view of MM and also Chișinău in the background. It was hot but the view was definitely worth it. When we got back we took a nice 2 hour nap- with a fan- which was also very necessary.

The evening consisted of meeting up with fellow PCVs at the local magazin (bar) and getting locked out of the house, which was fun, especially at midnight. I guess we left and the family did not realize it so they locked up for the night. What was the funny part was we saw his host brother at the magazin- so he must have left quietly, too. Lucky for him, we left the door unlocked.

Today consisted of a lot of time in the Capital. Mandy and I printed our bazillion and one pages of the lesson plans we made for the past week, and then we ate at OPA- a greek restaurant in Chișinău. It is not only really good, but they have a reputation for being really friendly with Americans and every staff member speaks English really will. This was great at first, but now as we are getting more proficient in our Romanian, it would be nice to practice. But, regardless, it was delicious.

We then spent the next couple of hours walking around the Central Piața, where the boys were determined to buy tank tops so they can wear them to class tomorrow and be ”Moldovan”. I do not really understand their reasoning, but it was still funny to see two 6 foot 3 inch men trying to find tank tops that would fit. Ross was the only lucky one, other than Matt, but Matt is closer in height to the Moldovans than Ross or Nkosi.

Now that I am home, it sure feels good. I feel like I actually had a full weekend to myself (the first one in a long time) and I feel relaxed and ready to begin week 2 of Practice School. The first 2 days consist of reviewing for the test, the test, analyzing the test, and wrapping up. Then my partner teacher from Varatic comes and we begin another week of classes- this time with 9th graders. Should be fun! And tiring...

off to bed now. feeling pretty good, though!


(sorry the photos are so unorganized- I cannot figure out how to get them arranged correctly. And it is late and I am tired. So maybe tomorrow!)

This was an awesome woman who got on the bus. She had 3 kittens in this basket and she just had this smile plastered on her face!
Not sure what this is, but it is in Chișinău!
This is a crosswalk on one of the main streets in Chișinău. Do you see the keyboard? LOVE it!

This is a building in MM- no one really knows what it is. Was it supposed to be a hospital? Or a kindergarten? Good questions. Regardless, they no longer have any money so construction has been stopped.

This is the view from Rosss room! Is it not awesome?