Tuesday, June 17, 2014

A Day in the Life of a PCT

I walk about a mile and a half to get to school every day. Some of it is on paved roads, and some of it isn't (today it rained, and I walked through mud for the not-paved part - it took much longer than it usually does). Another PCT (Peace Corps Trainee) lives about 3 houses down from me, so we generally walk to and from together, unless we leave the bar at different times after school.

Romanian lessons start at 8:30. There are 14 of us taking Romanian at the school in town, all in the same job sector (Community Organizational Development, or COD), but we have three language instructors so we are split into three rooms, and we rotate our teacher each week. This week my group of 5 has Liliana! She does not let us speak English in class, so I don't say as much as I might. But this is good! Then we will learn. The lessons go until 12:30 and then we have a break for lunch. Some people walk home for lunch, but my host mother packs a lunch for me (this is true of the majority of us) so I sit with the others and eat. Usually we eat outside, but today it was raining, so we stayed inside and learned how to play Euchre!

Then at 2:00 we have Tech, which is training for COD. Sometimes we have guest speakers or presentations from locals or current PCVs, but today it was just our Program Manager with us. We had a project due today: a community map, which we had been working on in groups for a few days. We work in small groups a lot and switch the groups for different activities. So today we had an activity to do where we discussed different site placement situations and we presented our map. Friday we are taking a field trip in two groups. One group will visit a Mayor's office and another will visit an NGO. These are the two places we will eventually work in, and though I'm not sure which I would prefer or which I would be more qualified for, I decided to sign up for the NGO visit. She mentioned that the visit would also include a short trip to the Mayor's office, which sounds good to me since I want to know more about both, AND my mentor is the one taking us around the NGO she works at, so I will get to see her again!

Tech lasts until 4:30 or 5, and then usually a bunch of us go to a wedding hall that is a bar when it's not being used for weddings. Sometimes we get a drink, but the main draw of the bar is its Wifi. A lot of us don't have Internet at our houses (I am lucky! No toilet but I can blog.) and even though I do, I go so I can hang out with my friends! There are 3 CODs that do not live in our village because they are studying Russian rather than Romanian, so sometimes they will stay and hang out for a while.

Then I walk another mile and a half to my house! Dinner is ready pretty much whenever I get back, so I eat with 1-3 members of the family. Today we had soup with potatoes and some kind of meat, and fancy Italian wine that they were proud to have with me (supă cu cartofi și carne - today's lesson was about food). Then I'll do my homework, or play with little host niece, or both at the same time... Sometimes I hang out with my host sisters while they dance around and sing American songs (and songs in Romanian that I don't understand). Occasionally there will be a second dinner later, and sometimes a relative or neighbor will join for that. Everyone's favorite "phrase" to say to me (family, relatives, neighbors... EVERYONE) is "Puțin, puțin!" because I have to say this all the time if they ask if I want shots of liquor or if they have me eat a second dinner when I'm not hungry - it means, a little, a little! I'll take a shower, do some reading or writing or cross-stitching, and then go to bed!

It's kind of a busy day, and a long day, so I'm often very tired - obosită is another word I say a lot. I go to bed even before the 4 year old, and way before the rest of the family! And mama gazdă wakes up even before I do to do way more work than I do... But I can talk about that later. She's currently in my room watering the plants and cleaning stuff. I look so freaking lazy right now. I hope she thinks I'm doing homework. Congratulations to you if you read all the way through this - it was as long as my day!

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