Sunday, July 8, 2012

My Week at Camp: Focuri Style.

I spent last week volunteering at a summer camp for another volunteer's students. I traveled to the complete opposite of the country and stayed in a small, small village called Focuri. When I say small I'm talking "carutas (horse carriages) outnumbered the cars" small.  And the HEAT-lord I think I sweated out 5 lbs. One of the highlights of the week was when all six of us Peace Corps volunteers enjoyed a dip in our ten dollar kiddie pool after long mornings of sports, crafts, songs, and games. 

Enjoy some pictures! 

{WARNING some of the pictures involve skinning an animal for dinner, so-you've been warned.}
Taking a walk at Matt's site and run into this cow. Love me some wandering cows.

Matt's feet after a morning at camp. The DUST in this small village was unreal.

The final item on my Romanian Bucket List DONE!!! I milked a cow...finally!

It's a lot harder than it looks.

After the six of us milked her, we let her baby get in on the action. :)

FARMLIFE. See the piglets?!

Oh the cuteness. Bunnies.


How could we leave without climbing to the top of a haystack?

Our 4th of July. The hosts wanted to kill some rabbits to serve us for dinner, so that is exactly what they did. I watched in amazement. {Here, our host is about to string up the freshly killed rabbit to be skinned}


One Lean Rabbit.

Grant and I, smiling in the midst of the skinning. KEEPIN' IT TOGETHER.

Matt and Kelly, holding victim number two.

Just another day in the village...see the foal??

A view of the lake in Focuri.

Good peeps. Grant (pcv), Nick (Romanian who volunteered with us) and Theron (pcv)

Grant herding the geese home.

After the camp, we ventured into the big city of Iasi because we had heard a subway existed there. We were NOT disappointed.

First Subway sammie in over 2 years!! HEAVEN.

I am off to officially close my Peace Corps service in Bucharest, then Matt and I are off to Greece for 9 days!!

Santorini, here we come. 

{most pictures taken by Matt, all with his camera}

Friday, June 29, 2012

Last Week at Site.

There are a thousand words I could write about my two years here in Recas. 

Words about how I arrived in this town expecting to change lives and inspire kids, when in return, they were the ones who taught me so much.

Words about how I have a second family here now.  Friends for life.

Words about how I will miss them all, more than they know...

So for now, until I can really wrap my head around leaving this amazing place, I will simply say,

Thank you...for everything.

{Here are some snapshots of my last week at site, in no particular order. }

Matt and I at my friend Silvia's house. This was the spread for dinner (not picture, another HUGE bowl of meat and the many desserts...) let's just say it was delicious.

My friend Danny and I at a newly discovered pool in Timisoara. Think lots of man speedos, and lots of topless women. But damn, that water was refreshing. More on Danny in a later post-fate basically brought us together in Sibiu and you'll want to stay tuned. The story is magical.

Last wine tasting at the winery in Recas. Bittersweet.

This is the winery owner's son, who just HAPPENED to pick Matt and I up as we were hitchhiking for the tasting. We ended up getting a VIP tour of the vineyards and inside the place, along with a free tasting. Win. Check out Matt's blog for the full story with Narcis Georgiu. {}

Finally getting (and paying off) all the bills for my apartment since December. We celebrated with some champagne...because why not?

Our last night with Vali and Ionela started out at this great outdoors store, where the policy is "try is before you buy it." Yes, we razor scooter-ed around the store, played ping pong, and even volleyball. I also found Gatorade, which I haven't seen in two years.

Vali and Matt, testing out the scooters.

Our last night in Recas...we shared some wine and watched the sun go down behind the Catholic church. Still hasn't hit me that I've left...

Everything that I own is in those bags. This was the scene last night before we started our 14 hour adventure to Matt's site. Thank GOD he was there to help me with my things. The journey=30 minute car ride to the station, then an 8 hour train ride, then switching trains and another 3 hour train right, then a 1 hour hitchhiking ride to Matt's site.

At 3:20AM waiting for our second train.

During the last week of school-these are some of my 6th grade students. The sign is hard to read but it says "Goodbye I love you" <3

Last day of school-with Cristi, the history teacher and my Romanian tutor.

Just some of the loot from my students for graduation. Perks of living in wine country!!

Hanging out with the 6th graders on our last day.

Sammies for the 10A goodbye party.

Vali and I at the teacher's BBQ.

Vali and the new volunteer that will be at my site, Aron. MAKE ME PROUD ARON.

Saying goodbye to 10A. :(

Getting a special award/price from the student counsel. The woman in the middle is my principal, Mirela, and of course, Vali.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

To my Dad.

Hanging out in San Cristobal, Guatemala.

To the man who taught me how to ride a bike, roller skate, and control a Flyer sled down a steep hill...

...thank you for always encouraging me to pick myself back up when I fell, no matter how big the wipeout.

Oh just Harold on a boat.

To the man who taught me the value of money and the importance of hard work...

....thank you for making me buy my own car and cell phone at age 16. I felt so proud of myself as I drove that Pontiac Sunfire off the lot.

Budapest, Hungary

To the man who taught me to NEVER settle and to accept ONLY respect from a man...

...thank you.
After we lost our bus tickets and were chastised by the tour guide. Budpest, Hungary.

 To the man who has accepted my friends as family, and who is lovingly referred to as "Harold T" by each and every one...

...thank you for being the coolest Dad. Ever.

Should have bought it-Budapest, Hungary
 To the man who has shown me over the last 26 years what it means to be a LEADER...

...but also taught me the importance of sometimes just shutting one's mouth and following instead.

Riding the Harley. New Market, VA
 To the man who has never, ever doubted me or my dreams...

...thank you for traveling to the ends of the earth to meet me and be a part of my life, no matter how far away from America those dreams have taken me.
Cooking the Thanksgiving turkey! Outer Banks, NC
To the man who has impacted my life more than he will ever, ever know. For his wisdom, continuous support and love, and sense of humor. 

I love you dad. Thank you for being the most amazing dad a girl could ask for.

Happy Father's Day!!

Skydiving, 2010.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

From the Delinquent Blogger.

Hello from (again!) the worst blogger in the history of blogging. I promised you another post almost a week ago, and here I am just now.  Ma scutati, ya’ll.
Things have been crazy here at site, as you can imagine! The school year is winding down, all tests have been passed out, grades have been given, and tears have been shed. Nah-just kidding. I was lenient in my last semester…you’re welcome copiiiii!! I have been to 8th and 12th grade graduations and dances, taken numerous pictures with my students so I can remember those sweet faces forever, and finally-started to pack up my apartment.
Speaking of my students-this is what my 7th grade surprised me with last Wednesday! So sweet!

I don’t think it has really hit me-I’m leaving this town in 2 weeks. TWO WEEKS. Where did my service go? Where has 27 months gone? Some days it seems like I’ve been gone forever, but mostly, it feels like time has flown by. I’ve experienced things I never thought I would (hello pig killing), learned how to cook, learned a third language, and have changed in so many ways that I know I will could never come back the same person…and those are all good things.
So my next two weeks are packed. Next week is the last week of school, then, we have a teacher’s bbq and end of the year celebration. There will be a third year volunteer (Aron) coming to my site this coming year, and he’ll be here to drop off his things and meet the teachers.  Matt is coming to hang out for the last week and help me pack, hang out with my Romanian friends non-stop, and visit the winery for one last tasting. Then we’re off to work an English camp in Iasi the first week of July. After that, it’s down to Bucharest for my CLOSE OF SERVICE! July 11th I will officially be a RETURNED Peace Corps Volunteer, instead of a PCV. Unreal.
And July 12th, I will be on the beach in Santorini, where I start of a month-long vacation which includes Greece, Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland.
But for now-I will cherish every day in Recas, which after 2 years, has very much become my second home.
I will miss you all so much.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Thank you Mr. Congressman.

This made my day.

I've been super busy finishing up the year, going to senior prom, and getting life after Peace Corps worked out. More to come tomorrow with a long post and pictures!!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

To My Mom.

Taken in Guatemala, 2009
Dear Mom,  Happy Mother's Day! Sorry I can't be there to help you celebrate, so I'm celebrating you on my blog instead. 
Thank you for everything that you've done to support me-always.

 Thank you for traveling to the most remote areas of the world to visit me. Even if that means washing your hair and brushing your teeth in my rain bucket in rural Guatemala when no other water was available...

Guatemala, 2009.

 Thank you for always, and I do mean ALWAYS, encouraging me to follow my dreams. No matter how crazy they seem, or how far away from you they take me.
My mom and her friend Robin, who was fighting breat cancer.

Thank you for showing me how to be a true friend-through thick and thin. The support and love you show to others inspire me. They are so blessed to call you their friend, and so am I.

4th of July, 2011-Back home for a visit!
 Thank you for always encouraging me to fly my freak flag on the 4th of July-there are never enough red, white, and blue accessories you can wear at one time. Never.

Stonehenge, April 2012.

Thank you for making trips of a lifetime possible.  From Ireland, to Hawaii, to England and every beach trip for years and years, these trips have meant so much to me. Amazing memories that noone could ever take away. Thank you for giving me TIME spent with you.
London, April 2012

Thank you (and Dad!) for being an amazing example of a healthy and happy marriage. I know that is hard to come by these days. I only hope that one day I'll be able to say "We've been married 36 years!" like you guys can. (and PS Happy Anniversary!)
The Outer Banks, NC. November 2009
 Thank you for letting me make mistakes and learn from them on my own. You were totally right about the bangs...

July 2011-Great Dane!

Thank you for letting us keep every pet we ever wanted. We have had dogs, cats, rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs, snakes, lizards, fish, and more. Heck-we even took that dead blow-fish home from the beach to use as a science experiment!  Thank you for buying me that hot pink leash and harness to walk my albino bunny. At age 10 I must have been the cool kid on the street-walking a rabbit. Ha!

Oh-and I will always be grateful to you for encouraging me to train llamas. It never ceases to get a laugh or incredulous look when I tell people I took llamas through an obstacle course. I love it!
At Kristin's wedding at UVA, summer 2009.

Thank you for always opening our home to my friends. Our house was always a safe, fun place to hang out and we had the best snacks. :) You've accumulated a lot of adoptive kids over the years and I'm so proud that my friends respect and love both you and Dad. 
Kristin's Wedding, Summer 2009.

  You are the most beautiful woman I know.

London-April 2012.

I love you so much mom!