Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Sick Day

My first sick day here in Recas...sigh... I look and feel like this:

Thanks to my wonderful neighbor who brought me tea, homemade honey and a lemon.  And thank you to Mandi and Mike for the Kraft macaroni and cheese--it made my day today. :)

Back to bed...

Sunday, September 26, 2010

A Romanian Wedding-An All Night Affair

So after cleaning up trash all morning it was time to get ready for my first Romanian wedding. Now I had heard plenty about what to expect-the bride is stolen in the middle of the reception, the dancing, partying and eating continues until 4, 5, or 6 in the morning. You cannot leave until the cake is brought out and cut...etc etc etc. Well i was pretty excited to see firsthand what the wedding business was all about here. I decided just to give you a play by play with pictures...enjoy.

5:00PM-All ready to go to the Church service (Catholic) for that part of the wedding.

This part of the wedding takes place after the civil ceremony at the Mayor's office. So first civil, then religious, then reception.
The religious service was just like any other Catholic wedding i've seen except that it was 1. In Romanian, and 2. At the end, we all had to line up, walk up to the alter, and kiss a cross that the Priest was holding. When in Romania, right? Here is a picture of the bridal party and guests exiting the Church.

7:00PM-Everyone walks (yes walks) from the Church to the reception hall which was actually held in my sports gym of my school. Everyone walks in, gets a glass of wine, and greets the bride and groom with kisses and "casa de piatra" greeting which means "house of rock". (a reference from the Bible of building your house upon the rocks instead of sand). We found our seats and sat down. Here are some pictures from the sala, or hall.

8:03PM-The FIRST course comes out-I meat and cheese platter which was delicious.

There are six courses (or 5) at the wedding, and each course if followed by an hour or so of dancing, then another course and so on.

9:30PM-My mentor and friend Silvia informs me that we will be heading back to her house now so that she can change into her "evening dress" for the rest of the reception. I suddenly feel underdressed as I don't have my hair in an updo nor do I have a second dress to change into. She assures me I'm fine though, but her husband says "well next wedding you can be more glamorous." THANKS CATALAN! :)

10:00PM-We arrive back at the wedding despite rain and high winds. We are greeting by the second course which is a soup (kind of like chicken broth) and bread. It is welcome after running through the cold and the rain. Speaking of cold and rain--here is a picture of me at 2:30AM OUTSIDE in the cold just so that I can wake up a little. Check out that face.

10:00-4AM DANCING DANCING DANCING! Oh, but first some more eating at the table..

Then Dancing with Silvia's father as well as with my students!

11:30-More food, this time Sarmale, which is cabbage leaves wrapped up with meat and served with a sour cream. After that mean (1.5 hours later) there was chicken, more cabbage and mashed potatoes.

1:30AM Still dancing, coffee is flowing as well as coke, water, alcohol, anything to keep you awake and hydrated to DANCE.

1:45AM-This was interesting. Traditional gypsy dancers came out and the women started dancing behind men in the hall, lifting their skirts until the men put money into their clothes...

2:00AM-I am sitting at the table and get called outside by my students for an im-prontu judging-they want to know who the fastest runner is and I am to be the judge. At 2:00AM, in the middle of the night, with wet pavement. I ask them if they are sure and they are, so I take my position seriously and just laugh it off.

3:00AM-Back inside, dancing, drinking coffee, literally almost falling asleep with I hear that the cake is coming out!!! Sure enough, I finally see the cake which mean we are allowed to leave.

3:30AM-I finally get my slice of cake, I'm tired, happy, craving my own bed and a good night's sleep.

Saturday, September 25, 2010


Today I picked up trash in Recas with a team of students, Brittany (she came to help from up north) and another older volunteer, Vladi. There were 14 of us in total and we were assigned to a section of road that has been used as a dump of sorts for some time. Equipped with bags, gloves, water, food and good spirits, we set out to clean!

The kids were amazing, they worked hard and really seemed to love being a part of this special day for Romania. There was no complaining, no arguing, just smiles and hard work all around. I was so proud of them.

Big thanks to Brittany for coming down from her site to help us!

Enjoy some pictures :)

My wonderful team of 14!

Brittany with some students riding to our designated trash site.

Ready to pick up some trash!

Some of my older HS students came out to help too. Thanks guys!

Surveying the damage and work to be done..

YEAH...there were some suspect smells...

Success after a long days work. :)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Hiking in Carasova

This weekend I left my town for the great outdoors in Carasova. The teachers from my school had a hiking weekend together so of course I went with. Like I said, we were in Carasova, a small predominately Croatian village about 2.5 hours from Recas. The following pictures are from our "6 Hour Hike" on Saturday...6 hours which turned into 7...8....you get the idea. :) Enjoy!

A beautiful view of crystal clear water in the forest...

One of the many butterflies that landed on/near me...

Traversing over one of the coolest bridges I've ever seen...

Caves! And Vali and Roxana..English Teachers

A beautiful view of Carasova

At the top! The grass is as tall as I am...

The view from up high...

Drinking water from the river...

More crystal clear water...

The biggest Thistles I've ever seen..

Beautiful caves...

Taking a break with Aries...

Standing on a 17th century Turkish Fortress...no big deal! :)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

amazing treats from afar.

This made my day...ok..my week. perhaps my month. I LOVE YOU MOM, DAD, MIKE, MANDI, BIANCA, KIM, CAROLYN, CARLA, AND DEEANN!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Feeling the Wind

I am riding my bike in the outskirts of town, feeling the wind whipping my hair out of my face and actually enjoying the burn of the muscles in my legs. I feel alive, I feel free, I feel unstoppable. I breathe deeply, taking in the sights, sounds, and smells of my town. The sunflowers are almost gone for the year, but the vineyards in front of me are begging to be harvested of the grapes that will be made into wonderful wine.

I am alive.

Even being the "people person" that I am, I crave these moments when I am walking alone through the sunflower fields, or like now, riding my bike with the vineyards in front of me and the fields on grain to my right. Tonight there are some puppies who have decided to follow--but they lose interest after a few minutes and I am alone again. The beauty of this place cannot even be seen in a picture, and there is no way I can explain it to you so that you can fully comprehend the sights and sounds, or the smells-fresh flowers, the occasionally whiff of sheep or horses, and then the intoxicating smell of the bread stores.

I ran across this quote the other day and I love it.

"The minute you choose to do what you really want to do it's a different kind of life."
R. Buckminster Fuller

So I am here, living, breathing, teaching, and working. There are good days, and there are bad ones. There are days where I am completely happy and busy and then there are days that drag by and where homesickness blankets me in sadness for a short time.

Your reading of my blogs and emails, your love, and your support keep me going in those times. I love you all and I miss you. Thank you for believing in me as I follow my dreams.

"Look at everything as though you were seeing it for the first time or the last time. Then your time on earth will be filled with glory." Betty Smith

Monday, September 13, 2010

And So It Begins!

Whew---sorry it has been so long since my last post. The past week has been a whirlwind of preparing for school, then going to the town of Ineu for a PCV weekend with those on the West side, and then the first day of school today! I'll sum it up from the beginning...

The few weeks before school were spent with Vali in the teacher's lounge meeting with the other professors, director and vice director. We got to know each other over coffee and salata de vinete. They told me which classes to look out for and which students might give me some trouble, and I told them that I would be starting English classes for the teachers which they are really excited about.

This past weekend I spent time in Ineu with 11 other volunteers from the West. We spent time checking out Justin's town, his school, and spent a fabulous time in the country with a good ol Romanian bbq.

One of the highlights of the weekend was investigating an abandoned orphanage next to Justin's school. It was in use until 1998 and walking through it you would think it was 1889...it is in horrible shape but still so beautiful. You can imagine the condition it was in when they finally shut it down years ago.

It was great to see everyone and relax a bit before school started. The older (more experienced!) volunteers gave us advice (start off stern and strict!) and assured us that we would be alright. We planned our next weekend together for Halloween-80's prom theme! Good thing the thrift stores here are stocked with horribly awesome dresses with my name on it.

Shoutout to Clela, Breanna, Elizabeth, Brittany, Katie, Shaneka, Justin, Connie, Mat, and Marissa and Tom...what a great weekend together. Thank you for being my family on the Westside! Here's to prom night 2010. Haha.

More to come later on the first day of school...

Friday, September 3, 2010

Clean up and Cadavers?

I can't figure out the weather right now. For the last few days, I have been FREEEZING. It has been downright cold. I don't have my winter clothes yet (thanks for sending them mom and dad!) so I have been layering up, but it is not enough. My friends here say this isn't right-it is too soon to be this cold. Well, just as I was about to go buy a huge jacket I wake up this morning and its downright hot again. Not warm, hot. What is going on!? Hah I have no idea but I'll take it, at least until my box of winter clothes arrive.

But I digress. This post is not about the weather, its about cleaning up and cadavers. Some background info first: On September 25th, Romania is having a national "Clean Up" day, called "Let's Do It Romania!". Teams from allll over the country are being formed and on that day, some serious trash pick up is going to happen. If you are interested, here is the website-in English! "http://www.letsdoitromania.ro/en/"

Anyways, I am working with one of my mentors, Silvia, on organizing the event here in Recas. Tomorrow, I will be biking around the village to take pictures of trash and will be writing descriptions on each site such as how many bags/people/manpower we will need. There is a lot of work to be done and I'm excited to be included in this project-my first one as a PCV!

SO you're still wondering about the title of this blog. Ok-I was reading the manual for the event, in romanian, and I stumbled on this little number: "Cadavru Uman: In cazul in care se descopera un dadavru uman, se va suna la numarul pentru urgente 112 si se va astepta echipajul de politie undeva in vecinatatea locului respectiv. De asemenea, va fi informat si un reprezentant al echipei LDIR. Pentru echipa respectiva, activitatea de cartare probabil ca su va incheid"

I stopped. I re-read, then I re-read again. Basically this is saying "Human Cadavers: In the case that you discover a human cadaver, you will call the number for emergencies, 112, and you will wait for the police team from the respective town. Also, a representative from the LDIR team will also be informed. For the respective cleaning team, cleaning activities will probably be shut down (closed)."

PROBABLY be shut down?! I'm going to go out on a limb and say that if my cleaning team came across a human cadaver, we would be paying for therapy, not just giving them the day off. :) Oohh I love it. Just when you think you're reading another informational and potentially boring manual, you find a gem like this.

Bring it on Romania, bring it on....

Oh yeah, and thats going to be me on the left.