Wednesday, I was officially sworn in as a Peace Corps Volunteer. Now I'm not a trainee anymore; I'm official and everything. I've got a fancy pin, a certificate, I said the oath that the President says.. Totally cool. It was an exciting and emotional day, although I made it through all the speeches and oaths and stuff without actually crying. Our Country Director actually asked where in the crowd I was before she started, because she apparently gets emotional during big ceremonies like that and knows about my crying history. "Where's Cat? I always cry at stuff like this!" She found me and surprisingly enough, we both made it through without tears.
That's not to say we didn't almost! She read an excerpt from Oh, The Places You'll Go! and I was totally fine for all of that until she got to,
I'm afraid that some times
you'll play lonely games too.
Games you can't win
'cause you'll play against you.
Whether you like it or not,
Alone will be something
you'll be quite a lot.
And when you're alone, there's a very good chance
you'll meet things that scare you right out of your pants.
There are some, down the road between hither and yon,
that can scare you so much you won't want to go on.
I almost lost it. But I didn't. Except then later, I did, because it all came true.
My host mother and the mayor came to pick me up. She had to go to the host family conference while I had some free time to say goodbye to friends (hard) and try to mentally prepare myself for the trip back to my village without them (harder). We joined the conference at the end to go over some stuff and sign some papers, and we pretty much needed a translator for everything. I knew what she was saying, but I just couldn't talk much in Romanian that day (or the next day..).
(Actually, for a side note, for not speaking much Romanian that day, I was complimented on my Romanian twice by two different Moldovans. The baristas at the coffee place we frequent definitely know we are American, but I always try to talk to them in Romanian anyway, even when they just start out with English. The girl who took my order told me I had "very good Romanian." Then later, a guy asked if he could help with my luggage. I of course tried to say no; we all know how independent I like to try to be.. But it didn't work and I really couldn't drag two huge suitcases anyway, so I let him. He talked to me in English too, but I managed to throw in a word or two and he was so impressed that he asked me to say more things and told me my pronunciation was great and I sounded Moldovan/Romanian/whatever. Admittedly, he was young and could have just been flirting, but I will take the compliment.)
Anyway, the 2.5 hour trip to Caplani somehow turned into 5+ hours, AND we had five people in a tiny car with one of my suitcases in the backseat with us.. Not as pleasant as it sounds - or maybe exactly as pleasant. My host mother shouted in my ear the whole time and I just wanted to get out of there, but obviously I couldn't.
We eventually made it back, had a snack, and I unpacked. They told me I didn't have to go to work the next day, which I was initially grateful for but then wished I had had to go, because I didn't know what to do. I slept in, finished a book.. My host mother tried to feed me about a hundred times. I cried basically all day and spoke to no friends or anyone. I didn't say much in either language, not that my host mother knows English. But she wants to learn it so she continues to ask me what words are.. I don't know how she thinks she will learn English this way. She kept telling me to eat, over and over, and while she was telling me to eat as I was putting the fork into my mouth while crying, I just lost it and shouted at her about how I couldn't eat any faster than I was already doing and to stop telling me to eat.. Sort of stormed out to get my box of tissues and she didn't seem that fazed, just confused, because all the shouting had been in English.
She brought this kid over, a 17 year old boy who clearly doesn't want to hang out with me, because he speaks some English. But he's kind of unpleasant and actually the opposite of helpful. He's been over twice and I was even more irritated with him the second time.
I went to work on Friday, though not for very long, and I didn't do anything. They had Internet for a while, so I got to check my email and use Google Translate. I met a few people and then my host mother came to get me for lunch, which we had with the children at the kindergarten. Then she told me I didn't have to go back to work until Monday and asked if I wanted to stay there or go home by myself, so I went home. I got to use the Internet there, cry some more, take a nap, and relax a little bit, which was nice and made me feel a little better.
Then she eventually came home and fed me, and I was able to articulate some things finally. I asked when there was water and when there wasn't (turns out you have to plug it in) and how to take a shower (something else you have to plug in and wait an hour for the water to get hot). I told her I don't want to eat a lot and that if I didn't want something, I wasn't going to eat it. And we were able to actually have a conversation, which I think shocked her, but now she knows I'm not 4 years old and that I actually understand her most of the time when she talks to me. I know she's just concerned because she is the one taking care of me and wants to make sure I'm okay, but it's going to take some getting used to. If someone is going to be bugging me every five minutes, I understand the motivation when she's 4 (oh yeah, I really miss Ionela) but not when she's 40. But I'm trying.
I figured out that we have one working streetlight here and it is right outside my house. They fixed it, literally just for me, so that I have light in front of my house. I know they all want me to be here and I want to be here too, but it's hard to figure out why I want to be here when everything seems so hard.
It's very difficult at the moment. I'm crying a lot more than usual. Some people might wonder how that's possible, but it is.
I'm going to try to get to the raion center by myself tomorrow to meet a friend, so I think that will be a good thing. My host mother is taking me there on Monday also to talk to someone about getting wifi, which will help a lot too, because I feel very isolated at the moment (the Internet I'm using to post this is only in her bedroom) and not able to talk to my mother and Becky, which is most difficult.
Hopefully it is just hard now and won't be forever. That is to say, I'm not quitting yet. Because Dr. Seuss says I'll move mountains, and I can't move mountains without trying.
|Note I got from one of my PST BFFs|