Sunday, May 13, 2012

To My Mom.

Taken in Guatemala, 2009
Dear Mom,  Happy Mother's Day! Sorry I can't be there to help you celebrate, so I'm celebrating you on my blog instead. 
Thank you for everything that you've done to support me-always.

 Thank you for traveling to the most remote areas of the world to visit me. Even if that means washing your hair and brushing your teeth in my rain bucket in rural Guatemala when no other water was available...

Guatemala, 2009.

 Thank you for always, and I do mean ALWAYS, encouraging me to follow my dreams. No matter how crazy they seem, or how far away from you they take me.
My mom and her friend Robin, who was fighting breat cancer.

Thank you for showing me how to be a true friend-through thick and thin. The support and love you show to others inspire me. They are so blessed to call you their friend, and so am I.

4th of July, 2011-Back home for a visit!
 Thank you for always encouraging me to fly my freak flag on the 4th of July-there are never enough red, white, and blue accessories you can wear at one time. Never.

Stonehenge, April 2012.

Thank you for making trips of a lifetime possible.  From Ireland, to Hawaii, to England and every beach trip for years and years, these trips have meant so much to me. Amazing memories that noone could ever take away. Thank you for giving me TIME spent with you.
London, April 2012

Thank you (and Dad!) for being an amazing example of a healthy and happy marriage. I know that is hard to come by these days. I only hope that one day I'll be able to say "We've been married 36 years!" like you guys can. (and PS Happy Anniversary!)
The Outer Banks, NC. November 2009
 Thank you for letting me make mistakes and learn from them on my own. You were totally right about the bangs...

July 2011-Great Dane!

Thank you for letting us keep every pet we ever wanted. We have had dogs, cats, rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs, snakes, lizards, fish, and more. Heck-we even took that dead blow-fish home from the beach to use as a science experiment!  Thank you for buying me that hot pink leash and harness to walk my albino bunny. At age 10 I must have been the cool kid on the street-walking a rabbit. Ha!

Oh-and I will always be grateful to you for encouraging me to train llamas. It never ceases to get a laugh or incredulous look when I tell people I took llamas through an obstacle course. I love it!
At Kristin's wedding at UVA, summer 2009.

Thank you for always opening our home to my friends. Our house was always a safe, fun place to hang out and we had the best snacks. :) You've accumulated a lot of adoptive kids over the years and I'm so proud that my friends respect and love both you and Dad. 
Kristin's Wedding, Summer 2009.

  You are the most beautiful woman I know.

London-April 2012.

I love you so much mom!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Clean up, Clean up...Let's Do it Romania!


Today was the national clean-up day here in Romania-or "Let's Do it Romania" to be exact.  Started in 2010, it's a day where almost every county in Romania gathers it's citizens to picks up trash.  

The day started in the park where I met up with around 60 students and some teachers. We split into teams (Team Rockstars here) and walked to different areas to clean.

The entire group before we started cleaning.

Plastic bottles everywhere!

Crazy goat.

Can of beans anyone?

Part of Team Rockstars.

His shirt inspired the team name.

Sweet Marita pickin' up trash.

Silvia, coordinator extraordinaire.

Break time!

Nothing like finding a jaw bone.

Team RockStars with our 35 bags of trash!

It was SO HOT outside but the kids were great, working hard to collect over 125 bags of trash throughout Recas. I was so happy to see that after doing this three times in Recas, the amount of trash we found was significantly smaller than when we started cleaning up 2 years ago. The first year we collected over 400 bags of trash, so 125 bags today-PROGRESS!

Great way to start my weekend.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Friday Phone Booth Fun.

While looking over my pictures today I realized I have quite the "Photo Booth" collection. It all started when I was teaching in Guatemala-I had a few extra minutes at the end of a class and my students and I spent it taking fun pictures with my Mac's Photo Booth.

Double the Trouble in 8th grade.

Nice Teeth. And Chin.

Oh yes--the black glasses/dark hair phase...

When I first arrived in Romania-I introduced Vali to Photo Booth and hilarity ensued. 


This might be my favorite.

Ew. You're basically looking up my nose here...I apologize.

Mouse Mouth.
And recently, I introduced it to my 8th graders. I don't think I've ever heard them laugh so much.

Flavius on the left...those eyes!! Hahaha.
He might be growing horns.

Johnny Bravo? Jay Leno?

They are best friends...clearly.

With a sticker on his head.

I have a horse face on the right. LOOOONG.

Happy Friday Ya'll!

Monday, May 7, 2012


I can't believe I haven't posted in WEEKS. Sorry to all of you who are actually still following me (I wouldn't blame you if you stopped!!) but I'm finally back at site after a whirlwind of a month and I'm ready to update you, pictures and all.

Last you heard from my I was in London with my parents, finishing up our 9 day trip with an Easter Church service. Well, I came back to Romania, re-packed my suitcase and headed to Maramures (northern Romania) for a traditional Romanian Orthodox Easter. Matt came with and we did things like drive a horse carriage, make traditional breads (well, we tried) and dressed up in traditional outfits. It was a great experience and I was happy to finally make it up to that area.

Matt and I driving the "caruta" or horse drawn carriage.

Part of the wooden Monastery in Sapunta, Maramures.

Dressed in traditional clothing from Sapunta.

From Maramures Matt and I met up with two other volunteers, Nick and Jessica, and we set out for an adventure in Austria. We spent a few days in Salzburg (Beautiful!) and then hit up Vienna for two nights. Great company, delicious food, and gorgeous sites=one amazing time.

Olives in Salzburg

Our view for lunch. The Hills are Alive in Salzburg

The famous "pus finger" sausage. Filled with cheese and when you cut it, the cheese runs PUS. Lovely.

Most beautiful mountains I've ever seen.

Jessica and I standing on the Alps.

After Austria we went our separate ways and I headed to Cluj for my LAST Peace Corps conference, the "Close of Service" conference. It was surreal as we attended sessions on "Life after PC". The US Ambassador and his wife were in attendance as well, and at the end of the day we all went to see "Sound of Music" at the Cluj Opera House. On Friday morning we all said a sad goodbye, knowing that the chances we would ever be all together in the same place again were slim.

Mr. Ambassador addressing the group.

Ahh Cluj...I love ya.

The Opera House.

Freya and I getting ready for the Sound of Music

Just some lovely PC ladies ready for the opera!

From COS I headed to Matt's place in Tulghes. We went on a fantastic hike with his counterpart and friends and spent time just relaxing at his site. We had a long weekend (Monday and Tuesday off from school!) and spent it hanging out with his neighbors and playing skip-bo...lots of skip-bo. :)

Matt and his adorable neighbor. Just look at that face.

He was able to try one of my marshmallows for the first time.

Playing Skip-Bo on the front stoop.

At the beginning of our trip up the mountain-these cows were coming home a bit too early. The owner came outside and turned them around so they were heading towards the pasture...ha.

Deep in the forest.

Taking a hot, and so steep.

Making our way to the top-Matt and Alex.

We made it!!

The view from the top.
 From Matt's, I went to work at an English competition for 6th-8th graders deep in Hargita county, whose population is mostly Hungarian. With 6 other volunteers we ran the camp for about 60 kids and it was very successful-who doesn't love old fashioned spelling bees and relay races in English? The village (Ocland) was beautiful and our host was an amazing cook. 

The walk to the competition from our village.

Where we stayed.

Working hard to create stories.

The competition-at least my room.

I then set out on a 12 hour adventure to get back to my site where I arrived last night around 10:00PM. And here I am, exhausted but back.

More to come tomorrow!