Sorry it has been so long since I’ve updated! Things have been crazy-the last two weeks I had Practicum and I barely had a minute to sleep much less update. So here goes!
Practicum was amazing-like I said the first week I had 5th grade and the second was 8th. My kids were wonderful, attentive and willing to learn which made teaching them very fun! Some highlights were when one of my fifth graders asked if I was coming back next year, because I was her “most favorite” teacher. J In the 8th grade, one of my favorite memories was when I taught a whole lesson on Stereotyping. I wasn’t sure how the kids were going to take it but the lesson went amazingly well and as they were walking out at the end of the day, one of my more rambunctious boys said “That was a fun lesson! It was a great day!” Nothing like getting the stamp of approval from a student who is one of the most difficult to entertain! On the last day both weeks I received bouquets of flowers, chocolate, a cute coffee mug, and a little religious artwork from Targoviste. While it was a hard and tiring experience (creating lesson plans and the pressure of being observed by PC, all while continuing language lessons in Romanian and homework from language class), I am so grateful for the experience and will miss my kids! I learned a lot, got to observe some other trainees, and received great feedback from the PC staff. Another PST milestone-ACHIEVED!
NEXT STEP IS SITE PLACEMENT! Throughout PST, we’ve had interviews with the Country Director and the Site Placement Officers to determine where we will be placed for the next two years. We’ve been asked questions like “would you rather teach Highschool or Middle School?” and “If you had to choose, would you like a small village or a middle-sized town?” I’ve tried to come into the interviews with no expectations or specifications for a site, or even special requests, because I know we cannot always get what we want. I trust in the system and trust that I’ll be placed where I need to be and make the best of wherever that may be! So we find out our sites on WEDNESDAY! There is a ceremony here at our school; the Ambassador and his family are coming-I can’t wait to meet them! I’ve told my parents to call me at 3:00 sharp when it’s over to share the good news. I’m so excited I think that Tuesday is going to DRAGGG by.
Hope you all had a Happy 4th of July!! It was surreal to be here for such an American Holiday, and I have to admit I missed seeing fireworks, but we ended up having a GREAT bbq with our gazdas (host families). We trainees organized an American 4th of July Party for our families complete with face painting and an egg toss! We made American salads such as potato and macaroni salad, and the apple crisp was a sweet success-thanks Ryan! Meat for hamburgers is incredibly expensive here, and honestly REALLLLY not the same as in the US, so we grilled chicken and mici-a Romanian meat that looks like a hamburger/hotdog but is actually a mixture of different kinds of meat formed into sausage like shapes. Delicious with mustard, mici is my favorite meat here. Although Maria-it is no Churasco from Guatemala! J
After the gazdas left, we cleaned up and went to a fellow volunteer’s house to have our “American” party! Her gazda has a beautiful home, and we filled the guest house (yes, guest house-it was huge), eating, drinking, dancing, and just enjoying being together. We played mafia, danced to Cotton-Eyed Joe, sang other American songs and around 11PM left to finish all the homework we had put off all weekend. Haha. It was a great 4th of July-one of three that I will spend in Romania!
Side note-I did go to Bucharest Sunday morning to get my stitches removed. Picture to come soon. All is well!
On a personal note-I am loving my time here in Romania. There are moments, just like in the states, when I am frustrated, tired, and lonely for my friends and family. However, I truly love what I am doing and am so honored to be in this place. Every day I fall a little more in love with the people here, the food, the customs, and the language. My fellow trainees are inspiring and we really have a wonderful network of support and friendship. Learning new ways each day to be a successful volunteer is rewarding and exciting. Learning the differences (and similarities!) between Americans and Romanians is hilarious and at times, downright puzzling. I did a lesson with my kids on Superstitions: America v. Romania. Here are some of the Romanian Superstitions I thought you might be interested in:
1. Do not whistle in the house-it is bad luck.
2. When you leave the house, make sure you step out with your right foot first. If you leave with your left, you will have bad luck all day.
3. If someone steps on your foot, you must step on his or your mother will die. (Similar to our-step on a crack and break your mother’s back??)
4. It is bad luck to own a rabbit, a fish, or a bird.
5. If you sit at the corner of a table, you will never marry.
Lastly-I want to say Happy Birthday (or La Multi Ani!) to my wonderful sister, Mary. Happy 20th girl! You are an inspiration to me and I hope that you have an amazing day across the pond. I love you and miss you-maybe you could be here for your 21st? J
Hope you all are happy, healthy and well. Continue to live with passion, embrace the unknown, and get out there and experience LIFE!