29 November 2011


This message pretty much speaks for itself... and warms my heart.

Hi Cate!
My name is Lucia. I'm from Moldova. I moved to US 7 years ago.
I came across your pictures on the Peace Corp website, after having a discussion with my boyfriend about you guys, volunteers, that go to countries like Moldova and teach english, and how much respect you get, especially from locals--i also had the pleasure and honor to meet two teachers during my high school years, but i do not want to elaborate my story here. I just want to express my thanks for what you do: you change the lives of the children you teach, and everyone else's you come across during your assignment. I absolutely loved your pictures and the descriptions. You have a true talent, because you captured all the moments that i could relate to, or any moldovan… It made me cry(the funeral) and laugh(the misspelling on the ruin's wall) because you can find that in every village in Moldova… You made me realize how much i miss and cherish that. Thank you, Cate.

Btw, my birthday is on Sept. 9th also :)

Thank you, Lucia, for your note. It made my day. (And yay for virgos!!!!!)

Mac n' Cheese

I found this amazing recipe for Mac n' Cheese and decided to try it... I mean, how hard can it be? I'm only joking because I seem to mess up everything I try to cook but that is because I always try to add my own ingredients. Oops. Even though I'm lactose intolerant it, I seem to not have problems while in Moldova unless I'm eating something imported from the States... so I can only assume it's due to the preservatives (ha read this if you haven't already about my mix up with this word!).

Well, guess what? This recipe is amazing!! I love it! And I even added some chili pepper and used mustard instead of mustard powder (couldn't find any). YUMMM YUMMM YUMMY!

As of right now I don't have any stomach problems... but I've only had a couple of bites. Back to eating!!!

26 November 2011


It's Thanksgiving at the Peace Corps Headquarters today and I am so excited about it... especially because I felt so lonely on Thursday being away from friends and family. This will be fun... we just finished 2-hand touch football and the North won! Sometimes it is nice to be around everyone.

21 November 2011

Best friends

Today I am thankful for being able to Skype with my best friend, Linda (even if this skyping happened on Sunday).

This photo really marks the time difference. She was having a glass of wine while I was drinking my morning coffee!

Bad-ass host dad

My host dad is pretty bad-ass. We really struggled in the beginning of me living here, but now we get along... most of the time (even if we butt heads sometimes). Something I really admire about him is that he is, in my opinion, the most respected teacher of the entire school (even more respected than the principal). He has absolutely no problems with classroom management and students don't talk back to him. Ever. Students may not always do their homework themselves, but they sure do copy it so they do not arrive at the lesson without their homework because he is not afraid to give them a low grade. They are really afraid of him (in a respectful sort of way) and I highly respect that about him. But I often wonder what my opinion would be of him if I wasn't living here, although I don't even need to think about it because I am happy the way it is. So today I decided to take advantage of the fact that he his not only the most respected (and feared) teaching in the school, but he is also my host dad and teaches next to me. I am covering the classes of my partner teacher because she is really sick and the last lesson of the day was with 11th grade- following 3rd grade- each of which I said I never want to teach again... just my luck. The 3rd grade behaved for the most part, except for a couple of students (girls??!!) who I had stay after so I could speak with them about doing their classwork when I ask them to and listening to me and not getting up out of their seats. As I was doing this two 11th grade boys walked in and when I asked them to leave, they talked back to me and they wouldn't leave. Then they started playing music. They were absolutely terrible and it was not helping matters when I was trying to teach the girls about respect. Finally I sent the girls out and then went to my host dad, who told me to send the boys to him. When I told them that, they wouldn't go. At all. He heard my frustration with them and came out into the hall to scold them. Then as he was walking away he said, "if they act up in class, know that I'll be right here." Needless to say, the lesson (although it was only the 2 boys and 3 girls who speak English very well) went much smoother than usual and the boys behaved... for the most part. Maybe I should start threatening them with the wrath of my host dad more often. It seems to work like magic.

Good news, bad news.

Let's start with the bad news. I think I have carpal tunnel (keep in mind I always think I have lots of problems so we'll find out for sure later) and yesterday I got bit by a little dog when I was trying to give him a treat. It isn't a bad bite... my pinkie finger is just scratched up a bit (on the same arm/hand as the one that is giving me trouble). Wednesday or Thursday I think I'll be going to the doctor to get it all checked out...

But the good news. It's Monday and I don't have the first 2 lessons or the last one. I love having my lessons back-to-back because it makes the day go faster and it keeps moving.

And... and... and...!

It's SUNNY!! I think I'm going to put up Christmas decorations today as I listen to Christmas music.

18 November 2011


Today I did a one-eye wink at a little girl (probably 3 or 4 years old) as she was walking past me on the street. Then she turned around and attempted her own one-eye wink, which was a double-eye wink. Adorable.

17 November 2011


Let me just start things off right by saying today was a FABULOUS day.

I woke up to clear skies and sunshine (well, almost. The sun was still coming out when I woke up). When I left for school I noticed that Jack Frost had made an appearance, covering everything... which sparkled in the sun.

Then I arrived at school early to help begin the celebration of our Director's birthday. The kids brought her flowers, sang her songs, and made her cry. It was beautiful. And the highlight- classes were cut short so we could have a masa (party) after classes with the teachers, which included all kinds of food (and of course alcohol... what's a Moldovan party without that?).

After the masa I went home and relaxed for a couple of hours before I headed back to school for the "Ball Bobocilor" which was awesome and so well done. The 10th grade put together dances and skits to short clips from songs. It was hilarious, and I loved the inclusion of "Pretty Woman" and "Sandman". They even pulled me up on stage to dance with them... which I failed miserably at because 1. I have no rhythm and 2. I can't dance and 3. I need a lot of practice to get the steps right, no matter how easy they may seem. This monkey sees and can't do.

When I left the performance it was dark outside and the sky was full of stars, and the air was nice and crisp. It warmed up a bit today so it really wasn't that cold (although it was still cold... trust me). I joked (in seriousness) with the boys saying "no smoking" while the joked (in non seriousness) that they weren't smoking. Minor detail. Then they tried to convince me to stay for the disco, which, if you paid attention to what I said earlier, that's not really my thing. So I started to head home and they said I need to wait to have a couple of the boys walk me home since it's dark. I insisted I was fine but they wouldn't have it. They found me a ride with one of the 2 cars that were there, which was with someone I didn't know but one of the friends of the kids or brothers or something. As he started to drive off the boys told him to drive slowly and carefully.

While the kids may drive me nuts during lessons, I love them outside of school. They're really great kids and very protective of me and appreciative... as long as I'm not teaching them.

16 November 2011

Home early

Today I'm thankful because I got to come home 2 hours early.

15 November 2011

Cat fight

Today I heard about a cat fight turned brutal. It reminds me of the videos that were shown on the news of girls beating each other up and then posting it online, although this time no one filmed it. You know why? It involves 3rd graders. Word on the street is that one of the girls pushed another one down in the street and started throwing rocks at her and kicking her and hitting her with sticks. The girl that was attacked came to school today all scratched up, and the attacker didn't show up. Apparently when the victim went to the mother of the attacker the mother didn't care. UGH it's just so sad. In all honesty, while I don't think what the attacker did was right by any means, I do hope she is ok because I can only assume she learned this from home (having a father who I have never seen sober, and a mother who drinks, too) and I'm sure the mother was embarrassed and didn't know what to say to the little girl that was hurt... and I'm afraid the attacker was then beat by her parents. Again, all of this is word on the street and my assumptions, but I also don't doubt that it happened. :(


My students really know how to test my patience... sometimes I just really can't handle it. As of right now I'm counting down the days until Christmas break: 37 days, 8 hours, and 44 minutes. Ugh.

Where, outside?

I woke up this morning feeling like I've been hit with a train. I don't feel sick, just extremely exhausted. My host mom came in just shortly after my alarm went off to make sure I was awake (I wasn't really) in case I had the first lesson (I don't). I took that as a sign to get up anyways since I do have the second lesson. So, I got up, got dressed, and then went for breakfast. She came in and this is how the conversation went:

Host mom: Good morning, Sleeping Beauty.

Me: Good morning.

HM: Did you see it snowed a little bit last night?

Me: Where... outside?

HM: No, in the house.

Me: DOH. Good morning.

I think I need to go back to bed.

14 November 2011


I now have Internet again! It's not DSL (still installing...??!!) and it's not much... but it's better than nothing. So hopefully I'll get some blog posts going again tomorrow. I was asked to photograph the Marine's Ball on Saturday night and of course I was happy to oblige... and I'd love to share the photographs but I need to ask permission first. It was a lot of fun and I loved seeing everyone all dressed up! It's always hard photographing an event where I know a lot of the people, though, because I miss out on the fun- the socializing, the eating in groups (instead of at a table by myself), and the dancing. But it was still a lot of fun and I met some new people!

11 November 2011

Happy day

It's 11:11 on 11/11/11. Happy day! Lucky day!

... but it did start snowing. Not cool

10 November 2011

Baking Cookies

My neighbor, Marin, helped me bake chocolate chip peanut butter M&M cookies tonight.

We burnt the last batch :( But the others are good!