Saturday, May 29, 2010

I week in Romania: Stray Dogs, Language Training, & HEAT!

Hello All!!

Sorry it has taken me over a week to update you can imagine I've been going going going since I arrived! The internet at my house is sporadic as well so getting a blog post up has been put on hold...UNTIL NOW! Let me update you on what has been happening here the last week...

I have school every day from 8:30AM to 5:00PM. This consists of Romanian classes all morning, lunch, then PC technical training. We have safety and security training, cultural training, further site information-anything and everything you could possibly think of! Yesterday we had medical training with our PC doctor, Dr. Dan. The thing that stood out most to us trainees was the part where we discussed the inevitable PIN WORMS. Apparently, we will all (most like all) get pin worms at least once during our service. Small, white worms that look like rice. Fun huh?? Dr. Dan had pictures and everything to let us know what to expect. We have a bet going-"who is going to get the worms first?" We shall see :)

The language classes are going well-it is amazing what I have learned in 1 week of language training with the Corps. I can introduce myself and others, tell time, use the possesive, explain and describe my house here in Romania (every room, the furniture in the room too), count to 100 and write the numbers as well, describe my mood (happy, well, sad, bad), ask someone to give me something in the formal and informal, as well as using "here & there" and this & that. The training is given by some amazing teachers. I also have been keeping a list of vocabulary words and i have tons of notecards to help me study!

So Romania=amazing. So different than other countries I have been too. And yes-the stray dogs are bad. We had a volunteer who was bit last weekend and he's now on rabies! Honestly, I have never had a problem with them but forget trying to jog or run through the streets..that will get all their attention and you will have a pack following you before you know it.

We walk everywhere. My host family (who is amazing-a mother and older daughter) do not own a car so I walk to school, market, center, EVERYWHERE. its great exercize and I need it because they feed us 4-5 courses each meal! Its really amazing that the people are still so tiny. My host mom makes me a bag lunch for school and some mothers send 4-5 sandwhiches with some volunteers!!

The people are so hospitable and they love it when you try to speak the language. I have found that here in the bigger city a large percentage can speak basic English. I'm sure I won't find that once I'm at site!

Will post more later...everything is going well and I hope to get more pictures up here soon! Please leave questions in the comment area and I would be happy to answer them. Anything and everything ask away!! That will help me with blog posting too--knowing what you all want to know. :) Miss you all. La revedere!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

I've Arrived!!

I'm in Targoviste!! This is the view from my hotel. Which ironically, is located next to "Hotel Dracula". So appropriate.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Staging in Chicago!

Hi All!

I have made it to Chicago and survived my first day of staging with Peace Corps. :) My day started out a little rocky-saying goodbye to my family and Michael was harder than I could have imagined it would be. We took plenty of pictures (I'm sure I'm crying in each one) and said farewell for good around 7:30AM. I walked to my gate, sat down, and promptly fell asleep for the next 1.5 hours. I think I was emotionally drained as well as physically tired...good thing I woke up when boarding started! We all boarded the flight, and the next thing I know (I was sitting at a window seat), there are mechanics walking all around the plane, looking at the wing and scratching their heads-NOT something you want to see before take off. Long story short, there was an issue with the flaps on the wing getting stuck (still not something you want to see or hear before take off) and luckily everything was worked out. We ended up getting to Chicago on time and I slept for most of the flight.

I arrived at the Hotel and started to see all the faces I had seen for months on Facebook-it was really great to meet everyone finally! We settled in for Staging which was from 12:30-7:00PM. The Staging consisted of turning in forms, playing some ice breaker games, and learning about what is expected from us during our service as well as what we should expect in Romania. Overall there was alot of information but we ended up doing several group activites as well as skits so it went by fast. We finished up and went to dinner--I got a nice, juicy burger for my last dinner, appropriate American meal right? Right now I'm back at the hotel, getting ready for bed. Tomorrow we leave at 10:45AM for the airport and then at 3:40PM-off to Romania!! 8.5 hour flight to Frankfurt, then 2.5 hours more to Bucharest, Romania.

I miss you all already...This past week of goodbyes was so hard but I am so appreciative of all of you who are so incredbily supportive. Love you, will post as soon as I can from ROMANIA!!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Staging Schedule

Well, Here is my schedule starting NEXT TUESDAY, MAY 18TH!!

May 18
9:41 Depart from Dulles to fly to O'Hare, Chicago
10:41 am. arrive in chicago
12:30 pm. check into the hotel for staging events
2:00-7:00 pm. seminars
May 19
10:15 am. check out of hotel
10:45 am. bus to O'hare
3:40 pm. board plane in Chicago
May 20
6:50 am. after an 8 hr 10 min flight arrive in Frankfurt, Germany
10:30 am. Board plane in Frankfurt
1:45 pm. after a 2 hr 15 min flight arrive in Bucharest, Romania

More to come... :)

Monday, May 10, 2010

Packing List.

So there are 9 days left until my departure and I figured now is as good a time as any to actually start packing. Now- I have been buying things (as you know--ice gripping boot) and I think that I have everything I need, it is just a matter of putting everything into my luggage. Peace Corps allows us to have two check-in bags, no more than 50 pounds each. Now here is my list...buckle yourself in.

1. Underpants/undershirts/bras-10 sets (yes--they say to bring only 10 sets!!)
2. Socks-10 pairs
3. Winter Socks-4 pairs
4. T-shirts/Casual tops-5
5. Short sleeved shirts-5
6. Long sleeved shirts-4
7. Sweatshirt-1
8. Medium weight pants-3 pairs
9. Belt-1
10.Capris/summer pants-4 pairs
11. Gortex fleece jacket-1
12. Hiking boots-1
13. Sneakers-1
14. Walking shoes-1
15. Sandals-2 pairs
16. Dress shoes-1 pair
17. Dress skirts/Dress-3
18. Dress shirts-2
19. business jacket-1
20. Swimsuit-1
21. Warm slippers-1
22. Long underwear-2 pairs
23. Pajamas-2
24. Jeans-3 pairs
25. Sweater-2
26. Winter Coat-1
27. Durable backpack-1
28. Hat-1
29. Glasses-2 pair
30. Jewelry-handful
31. Toothbrush/toothpaste
32. travel soap
33. Lip Balm-3
34. Razor/blades
35. Make-Up
36. More Toiletries
37. Ear Plugs-1
38. Swiss Army Knife-1
39. Leatherman-1
40. Duct Tape-1 roll
41. Batteries-a ton.
42. Digital Camera-2
43. Laptop-1
44. Flash Drive-1
45. Adapter for laptop-1
46. Sleeping bag-1
47. Purell hand sanitizer-3
48. Ziploc Bags (they don't exist there)-10
49. Gift for host family
50. Photo Album
51. Playing Cards
52. Alarm Clock-1
53. Ipod
54. Index Cards (they don't exist there)

Sooo...all of 2 bags...100 pounds total. LET THE TRIAL AND ERROR BEGIN!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Training Site!

I know several of you have asked me where I'll be training for the first 11 weeks in Romania...well, I just received an email saying I will be in....Targoviste!! More to come later about this beautiful city. :)

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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Becoming so real.

All of a sudden, everything has become insanely real. I quit work in two days. I leave for staging in Chicago in 14 days. I will be in Romania in 16 days. Woah. I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t freaking out right now. It’s 11:30PM and I cannot go to sleep. My mind is racing—things to do, people to see, goodbyes to start and I’m sure tears to come. This is happening and it’s happening fast. All of a sudden I realize I don’t have THAT much time to spend with my family and my friends. Literally…this experience is two weeks away.

I started this whole process in August of 2009. I knew coming back from Guatemala that I was going to apply for the Peace Corps. It had been a dream of mine for years-I remember learning about it in High School and knew I had to do this. Originally, I thought a two year commitment was just too long-I wanted to try a year or less first. So off I went to Guatemala to teach English in the small village of San Cristobal. After 6 months there, I returned to the states and realized how fast the months flew by. I knew that I could give the Corps a solid two year (actually 27 month!) commitment. I applied (the application process is no joke!) and had my interview with my Peace Corps Recruiter in DC. I was nominated in September to teach English in Central America. Being fluent in Spanish, I was almost positive they would send me to a Spanish speaking country. PEACE CORPS LESSON # 1-BE FLEXIBLE!! When I heard I was going to Romania EVERYTHING changed. My departure date, my packing list (I all of a sudden had to think ICE GRIPPING BOOTS instead of mosquito nets and malaria pills), and my little sense of security I had thinking I was going to a country where I knew the language. Truly everything will be new, the language, the customs, the sights-its exciting and yet scary at the same time.

I am so grateful for the amazing fellow volunteers I have met in person and on Facebook. Everyone is so helpful, so excited, and its comforting to know that I’ll have 47 American friends all experiencing the same things I am experiencing. I think our youngest volunteer is 21, and there are a few in their 50s and 60s.

I am most grateful for my friends and family here. You all have been so supportive, so encouraging, so amazing-I am going to have such a hard time saying goodbye. How can you say how my life, or how your life will change in the next few years? I will inevitably miss weddings, births, perhaps deaths, and other important events in all of your lives. I know that some friends will drift away, and some relationships will only become stronger. Some people are questioning why I would do this, and those who know me well knew this was coming all along. ☺

As my time here in the states comes to a close, please know that saying goodbye to all of you is not and will not be easy for me. I will miss you all more than you know, and I hope that you will stay in touch and continue to follow my blog. One of my fears is that life here with you all will continue on and I’ll somehow be forgotten in the mountains of Eastern Europe…silly but true. Please continue to tell me what you’re up to—even if it seems silly to you it will mean everything to me. Knowing that I have people supporting me, praying for me, and believing in me means more than you know.