Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Highway to Hell


Thank you to those who commented on my blog and sent me emails in response-I love getting comments. I wanted to answer some more questions that you all had.

I am not supposed to be specific as far as exact location of where I live. However, I am about an hour south of the capital city-Bucharest. It is a fairly large town and there are no mountains around me. Mostly flat land, some small hills and forests but mostly flat and at the moment-HOT. My walk to school is about 30 minutes in the morning, and I’m sweating by the time I walk into class..lovely right? It is insanely hot and let me explain something interesting about this country…they do not believe in opening doors and windows at the same time because of the “curent” (or flow of air) that will make you sick. Everything is blamed on the curent.

For example-when you are in a hot, sticky bus traveling for a long (or short) distance, you might be sweltering but no one is going to open a window because the air flow will make you sick. Sick as in ear aches, headaches, a cold, the flu, you name it-it’s the “curent’s” fault.

Another example-when in class, it is perfectly fine to open our window and let the air in, but if the window is open, the door is shut, or vice versa. Lastly-this is true in my house as well. I can sit on my bed, windows open with a nice breeze keeping me cool but I MUST have my bedroom door shut. Interesting, right?

I had a pretty amazing weekend and I wanted to tell you all about it. Friday night I went with my friend Freya and her host sister to a club on the outskirts of town. Now, this was my first Romanian club experience and I didn’t know what to expect-but I definitely was shocked when I walked into the place. This club was AMAZING. Huge, beautiful, ornate, loud music, crowded-a typical American club! However, this had an extra little addition-a LION. Now animal rights people-you know that I’m the biggest animal hugger around, but something about having a caged lion in a beautiful club while in Romania was UNREAL. It was definitely a “first” for me and I’m sure it won’t be the last time I frequent the “lion club” as the volunteers have named it. And did I mention that it was built to resemble a castle?? Lions, castles, Romania-ha!

Saturday was a great day as well. One of our volunteers (Kyle from DC-woot!) celebrated his 25th birthday so all 44 of us headed to a large park to spend the day in the sun together. We played (the boys played) Ultimate frisbee, we sang, ate good food, played cards, and just spent time together. It was surreal to be playing games in this huge field and not 200 yards away from us was a tower that DRACULA used to live in. Amazing. I have pictures and I’ll post them soon. My host mom was concerned about me being gone all afternoon without lunch. I tried to explain in my broken Romanian that we were all bringing food and I would be ok but it sounded like.. “uh….mergem la parc…nu am nevoie mancare ta rog…” and I don’t think it was clear because she packed me a sandwich anyways. And a drink. And a chocolate bar. And an apple. Our host families love to feed us! (Tangent-just tonight, I walked in from school and my momma said “Hungry?” I said yes, thinking I would get a snack and she ushered me into the kitchen where there was a HUGE spread of food. I had a chunk of fish (watch the bones-Lauren…Espana??) I had a huge heap of rice with a mysterious but amazing green sauce over it. Then there was a bowl of salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, black olives and feta cheese. When I thought I was done she pulls out from the microwave some cabbage rolls stuffed with rice and seasoning (typical Romanian dish) AND finally, some mamaliga, another traditional dish which is a corn meal bread thing with a white cheese mixed in…picture will come soon. To make a long story short-I have learned to say “I’m full” pretty quickly so fewer courses come out!)

Sunday was going to be a lazy day for me-I had planned to watch a movie with my house sister “P.S. I Love You” and do homework, but around 12:30 she gets a call from her boyfriend asking if we want to go to the country for a BBQ and of course we said yes. We got ready and her boyfriend and 4 other friends picked us up for a drive into the country. I had SO MUCH FUN. We drove to a site about 20 minutes from my town and parked the car right in the forest. Everyone started pulling out blankets and food. Knowing that this was a bbq, I figured I would see some hot dogs, or hamburgers, or maybe even sandwiches but this is Romania and of course they don’t have American BBQs. It was even better- fresh cheese, bread, tomato and cucumber salad, hard boiled eggs, salami, Coke, and popcorn! We sat around and ate, played cards (I’m learning more Romanian card games!) and then set off into the forest to pick wild strawberries. They actually aren’t strawberries they are much tinier and look like our strawberries but I don’t know the Romanian word for them yet so for now-that’s what I’ll call them. J The whole time we’re eating and picking berries the car stereo is on and I feel like I’m in the twilight zone because all that is coming out of that car is American rock and roll or hip hop. As I’m in the forest searching for elusive berries and surrounded by amazing flowers and trees-“Highway to Hell” is blasting and I can’t help but laugh. Most Romanians might not know how to speak in English, but they can sing every word to every American song that plays here. It’s amazing! After Highway to Hell we had some Little John and the Eastside Boys. Then some “Dream On” by Aerosmith. I taught the boys how to shuffle cards and they taught me how to play Romanian Rummey. We stayed until around 7:30 then drove home, exhausted, eaten alive (still hurtin!) by mosquitos, but I now have 4 new Romanian friends have experienced my very first Romanian BBQ!

This week at training is going well. We’ve had some current volunteers come speak to us about teaching English to multi-level classes and ways to teach English to beginners. We’re all excited because Saturday we leave for a four day trip to visit a current volunteer at their site somewhere in Romania! We will be traveling with our language classes (I have 5 in my class) and with our professor. We’re not sure where we’re going yet but we find out on Thursday! It will be great to see a current PCV and to see his/her site and how they live. More info for you when I find out more myself!

Ok time for some studying and HW. The plural masculine and feminine are killing me. Oh-and the adjectives. Whereas in English we have one adjective for everything (the ball is red, the balls are red, that ball is red, those balls are red) in Romanian you have to say the adjective in four different ways depending on the noun you’re describing. FUN! La revedere for now. Love & Miss you all. Pa!

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