Buna din Romania!
Hello again from Romania. ☺ I wanted to answer the questions I received after my last blog and update you all on my training and activities over here. It’s 10:14PM here (a mere 7 hours ahead of most of you!) and the dogs are barking/fighting in the street, the confused rooster is still crowing-I find that he likes the hours of 6AM, 7AM, 5:30PM and any other hour of the evening that he fancies that day. So with roosters, dogs, and my lady gaga playing in the background, its time to blog!
So my dear Aunt Mary asked me what the typical food was-what I eat on an average day. Well I will tell you all what I ate this very day to give you an idea. I’ll also include my schedule for the day so you know what I’m up to.
6:45AM-Usually wake up to the rooster crowing, the dogs barking, and sometimes the occasional cat fight outside my window. None of these things bother me as I ALWAYS wake up to a nice sunny morning-so bring on the animal noises.
7:15AM-My house sister knocks and asks me if I’m coming to the table for breakfast. Obviously I say “da!” and I head to the kitchen where my host mama has laid out meal for us. This morning I had these chocolate corn flakes-now here is where it gets interesting. They pour the milk (lapte) into the bowl BEFORE the cereal, and they heat it in the microwave-warm milk ready for some cereal. I had to eventually tell them that I preferred my milk cold. ☺ Anyways-I had chocolate corn flake cereal, and cut up potatoes with cheese sprinkled over them and sliced tomato. Tomato is almost always at every meal, and I now happen to love the tomatoes for breakfast.
8:00AM-I meet my friend and “blocmate” (I live in an old communist bloc apartment) Freya to walk to school. This usually takes about 30 minutes and we meet other PC volunteers along the way. Tomorrow we are determined to stop and buy a pastry from this bakery we pass every day. We can put it off no longer! The smells are amazing and since it’ll be Friday-we’re going to treat ourselves.
8:40-12:30PM: ROMANIAN LANGUAGE CLASSES. Let me tell you-they are intense. Today alone we received and went over 82 vocabulary words and there are 7 more verbs to learn and conjugate in the lesson. The classes however are wonderful—I only have 6 volunteers in my class so the small, one on one attention helps us to learn even faster. For example today we learned fruits and vegetables. We all had to bring in a fruit or veggie because after we learned all the names, we prepared a fruit and veggie salad-all the while learning the verbs for “wash, peel, cut, put in (the bowl) and eat. The Peace Corps does a great job of creating fun activities to get the lesson across-activities I’ll have to use in my own classes soon!
12:30-1:30PM: Lunch. This is when I usually check my email (none of you are up yet at this point! Haha) Lunch is a sandwich made by my mother, with yogurt, an apple, or some other type of fruit and usually a small dessert made by her. Let me explain lunch time because its hilarious. The Romanian host mothers think we don’t eat enough, and every day we take out our lunches to see how many sandwiches have been packed for us-the record right now is five. FIVE! Haha I told my mother that one was plenty so luckily I haven’t had to ration any off. On my sandwiches is usually a cheese spread with cut up cucumbers-sounds interesting but its very good. I will sometimes have ham and cheese with cucumbers-something that I’m definitely brining back to the states!
1:30-5:00PM: PC technical training. These afternoon sessions are where we learn more about teaching English as volunteers, safety and security issues in Romania, Medical information such as information about the pin worms we have a 75% chance of getting during service (look them up!). Today we had a current volunteer come and speak to us about teaching techniques for speaking and listening activities. Always good information and a nice way to end the day- the training instead of conjugating verbs. ☺
5:30-8:00PM: Sometimes I hang out with other trainees after school, doing homework and chatting before we head home. We’ve found some great cafes and bars with CHEAP prices (less than 75 cents for a beer) and so we usually hang out a bit before we part ways for the evening. When I walk to my bloc and walk the numerous flights up the stairs to my apartment, my house mom usually greats me with plenty of questions about my day at school. She then ushers me into the kitchen to feed me dinner. Tonight I had a meatball soup for an appetizer, then a plate of this cabbage mixture with a thick bacon-like meat on the side. She served it with a tea she makes from a flower from Romania-its AMAZING. I’ll get the name and tell you. She always has fresh fruit too, which I love. Strawberries are her favorite so I get plenty of those. Also she likes kiwi so I find the occasional kiwi surprise in my lunch. Yum!
8:30-11:30PM: During this time I’m either playing cards with my host sister and her bf who is over every night for dinner, or doing homework and studying. I’ve learned to play this card game called “Macowa” it’s very similar to Uno in the states. They have also taught me the names of each card in Romanian (hearts, clubs) which is cool. When I can’t keep my eyes open any more-I go to bed and sleep like a baby!
SO to answer your question Aunt Mary-the food is actually pretty amazing. I love the breakfasts of cheeses, cucumber, tomato and a bit of meat with bread. I have also found some amazing hamburgers (ok they call it a hamburger-it’s a chicken patty) for only TWO RON. That is less that 75 cents for a huge burger. They also put French fries right on the burger-which I’m bringing back to the states too. Ha! I find they use a lot of potatoes as well as make a lot of different kinds of soups. Cabbage is also widely used. I haven’t seen a lot of red meat, but we’ve had chicken a few nights.
This weekend should be fun. The house sister is taking me to a salsa dance night tomorrow and then Saturday I’ll be in the park with the rest of the volunteers for Kyle’s b-day party. (Another volunteer). Sunday my house momma asked me to cook dinner sooo I need to figure out what to make—they wanted something American but then I started talking about tacos and now they want Mexican. Go figure.
I wanted to tell you about a dog I’ve befriended on my walk to school. He is ADORABLE-looks a bit like a beagle but definitely has pointer in him or something. Anyways, he always has his tongue sticking outside the right side of his mouth and I asked my host sister why it was like that. She said when he was a puppy he chewed through an electric cord and got electrocuted! Hence the tongue always flopping around outside of his mouth. I will get a picture soon!!
I am also adding some pictures on here of the Romanian countryside. I went with my friend Freya to her family’s country home. We played with LITTLE kittens, and picked poppies on the side of the road, and met a family of geese. Amazing.
Before I sign off-weather: It is beautiful here right now, probably high seventies or low eighties, sunny, and gorgeous! However it is supposed to get VERY hot in the near future, so I anticipate we’ll be sweating all the way to school each morning. Luckily I have hot water at my place so showers are no problem! Once I get to site…that could be a different story… ☺
Miss you all. Love you!