Sunday, October 26, 2014

Site Visit

This last week, a few of us had our site visits, which means our Program Manager, Violeta, made a trip down to our sites to talk with us and our partners. 

Violeta had a time and date in mind so I asked my partner about it and she said that would work. At the weekly meeting on Monday (with the site visit that Thursday) I was so ready to ask the mayor if he wanted to join us. I had planned what I was going to say, and he goes around to everyone to ask for updates, so I was totally ready.. And then my partner stole my thunder and told him before I could. But, whatever! Then he knew, so.

Thursday morning our meeting was set for 10:30, so a few minutes before 10 the mayor comes in and asks where Violeta is, because he has places to be. So we call her and she is on the way and ends up getting there around 10, so we just get right into it (or they do, it's a lot of fast Romanian). Luckily she got there before the mayor returned to our office, so I was able to tell her something that she could get in the conversation before he had to leave. 

We talked about all kinds of stuff - potential additional partners for me (my current one is not going to be one to actually work on stuff with), potential projects and things I can start trying to do, people I can meet, an NGO that we apparently have that I couldn't figure out anything about until then, and tons of other stuff. Violeta was an expert translator as usual, which was very helpful because I obviously don't know how to say everything I want to say. For example, they had decided I would go to the kindergarten once a week, which.. I mean, I like children and all, but there's a reason I don't currently have any and there's a reason I'm not a kindergarten teacher, and both of those reasons are that as cute as they are, they are also obnoxious, and I don't plan to do that anytime soon. Last time I was there I was with the youngest group (ages 2-3) and I was essentially just there to help babysit, which, as it turns out, is not in my job description. So Violeta got me out of that situation, thankfully.

After talking about all the important stuff and after my partner had stopped paying attention to us talking in English, she looked at me with that sympathetic head tilt people do and said, "So how are you feeling?" And I thought I had done pretty well with not being emotional the whole meeting, but that was all over and I had to cry about it. It's easy to be lonely all the time and be sort of okay with it, but then when someone asks you about it and you can tell they really care and want to know, well. I eventually recovered and my partner didn't even bat an eye (I would say they're as used to it as everyone else is, but really I've only cried like one time at work - they just know because my host mom tells EVERYONE about everything), and it was probably around time for Violeta to leave, so she got up to get her things and my partner thought that was the perfect time to make coffee. 

Violeta politely declined, but as I've learned, my partner does not take no for an answer when it comes to food and drinks, and she had both ready, so Violeta had to sit back down and they talked for a while while I attempted to understand (so I mostly just didn't, and ate cookies). It was past 1:00 by then, so Violeta drove me home (heck yeah, didn't have to walk through the mud for 20 minutes! She also set a GPS point at my house so if anything ever happens and I need Peace Corps to get to me, they can just plug that in and find me ASAP). We said goodbye, but I told her she has to come back and hang out, and she said she would, so I'm holding her to that. 

I was not really looking forward to this visit, because even though I knew it would be nice to see her, I was discouraged about not having done anything (I assumed we'd have nothing to talk about.. 3+ hours with her says I was clearly wrong) and no one wants to disappoint Violeta, and I hadn't been having the greatest week.. But it turned out to be all fine and even pleasant and encouraging, so hopefully tomorrow will be the start of a brand new, better week!

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