Saturday, July 5, 2014

Site Announcements

I know that I was pretty clear on the site announcement being on July 2, and that it is now July 5, so if you were just sitting here waiting for my update, sorry for the wait. It's like my life is busy or something; weird. I also wasn't quite ready to share everything right away.

On the day of site announcement, we had a full day of other sessions and things prior to the big reveal, which gave me all day to get more nervous about it.

We all went outside to a parking lot that had a huge chalk drawing of Moldova with 71 numbers on it to show the places we would be living/working. Current volunteers stood on it where they live and the parking lot was just full of people. The Country Director read out our names one by one (randomly, I assume) from a kind of jar. Each slip with your name and number was color-coded - blue for north, yellow for central, and red for south. We got ribbons to tie on our wrists in these colors, too. 

I went to stand by my friend, and then her name was called. I moved to stand by another friend, and her name was called.. So I figured if I did it again it would happen again and I just waited by myself. My name was called and they said the name of a town that I had obviously never heard of, and my Program Director took me to my spot on the map. She handed me an envelope with information about my work, the names of my host parents, and a welcome letter from my future partner - of course, it is all in Romanian. So I have yet to figure it all out. 

I continued to be nervous and didn't actually even open my envelope because I just wanted to see where everyone was going, and when my current closest friends were nowhere near me, I began to get relatively upset. The current volunteers near me on the map didn't seem like they really wanted to talk and I didn't know any of the PCTs that were coming over to stand near me, which didn't help either.. 

Two girls that I know and like eventually were placed near me, but then everyone was placed and people started walking around.. My closest friend came up to me and said, we're about 4 hours+ from each other, and obviously I just started crying. Which I did for the next decade, in front of everyone, naturally. Again, the only one crying (I mean I'm 99% sure on that). It's very hard to talk to people when you're crying, did you know this? 

We were having a mixer afterward, which I did not want to go to, but I went anyway and everyone tried to make me feel better. It was difficult to explain why I was upset because I wasn't even sure what my job was or anything; I think I was mostly overwhelmed at everything and at being so far from my friends. 

But luckily those friends are pretty great, and multiple people talked to me about it, mostly while I cried but I did get to have at least one conversation where I was cheered up without tears (the perks of being friends with guys - pretty sure they aren't fond of crying) and by the end of the night I could talk to people WITHOUT crying. My mentor bought me a beer and I ended up having a little bit of fun, even. 

After I got home, I looked at my Romanian job description and from what I can gather, it seems like this will be a good fit. I'm going to be in Căplani, a village of 3500 in the southeast. It's in a raion (like a county, I think?) called Ștefan Vodă and I could probably throw a stone to Ukraine and watch it hit the ground. Very close to Odessa and such, but we aren't allowed to go there. Though maybe that won't be the case forever. 

I'll work in a Primariă, which is a Mayor's office. I have a partner that will work with me and they have a list of projects I might work on, but I haven't quite translated all of that yet. So I'll have more information on that later, hopefully. Tomorrow I have to catch a bus to my new village. It's a 2 hour trip from the capital that I will make alone. I'll be there until Tuesday and on Tuesday my partner will come back with me for a Site Team Conference with everyone. I'll stay with my future host family and probably get a tour of the Primariă and possibly the village. I really don't know what will go on but I'm guessing a lot of it will be hard to understand, as it's less likely in villages to have English speakers. 

Speaking of Romanian, we had a language test yesterday and got our feedback today. The test was oral and involved four situations (buying food at the market, giving directions in town, talking about family, interviewing a Mayor) that we cycled through. One language instructor spoke with me and another wrote down everything I said. Today I was told that I am one of the best Romanian speakers in our group and that my pronunciation is almost Moldovan, so that's encouraging. It's still difficult to speak with people and to understand them, but my language instructor called my partner in Căplani and informed her that I have only been studying for 4 weeks so she will need to slow down a bit and be patient (I even understood most of her side of the conversation). So I think they know that this weekend will be somewhat of a struggle, communication-wise. 

Wish me luck on my site visit - hope everything goes well.

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