Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Ziua Raionului & Gradinita Christmas

It is currently Christmas Eve and I am patiently awaiting a phone call from my host mom. She is playing Santa at the kindergarten today and I get to go watch that happen, so that'll be entertaining, probably. 

Until then, I'll tell you all about Ziua Raionului, which my partner and the mayor took me to yesterday. 

The day before, multiple people informed me that I needed to be frumoasa, which I think was code for: step it up a little, Catea. You're going to see people besides us tomorrow. My host mom even came home and said, the mayor told me you guys are going to a fancy restaurant so you'd better wear your high heels. Um, okay. Would you like to pick out a dress for me, too? Just kidding, but really. That might have helped. 

I apparently did well, because when I got to work, everyone really liked that I looked nice (and were probably wondering why I don't put that much effort in on a daily basis - well I'll tell you, it's because I'm in a serious relationship with my snooze button.. I just can't quit it). 

After hanging out working for a while, 5 of us piled into the mayor's car, and we were off to Ștefan Vodă! When we got there, my partner asked where my friend was, and they told me my seat number multiple times before dropping me off to meet her while they went who-knows-where. So I found Kelsey in the Casa de Cultura, working hard with her Youth Fund kids. 

Then it was soon time to find my seat, and eventually the mayor and my partner showed up. It was about 3 hours of speeches, dances, songs, poems, skits.. And it was awesome. I mean, admittedly, it started out a lot more awesome than it ended.. I got tired, okay?! And ended up kind of tuning out with all the Romanian - it's very hard to have your active listening turned on for such an extended period of time. 

After the performance was over, they said it was time to go to the restaurant, so I thought it was just a special day and we were going out to eat, but we saw a big bus and my partner said, they're going to the restaurant too! So that was slightly confusing, until we got there and I figured it out. It was a big banquet hall (the mayor even told me his daughter's wedding reception had been there) and there were so many people. My partner kept pointing out important people - the wife of the raion president sat at our table, for example. 

My partner (the wife of the raion president is on the far right)
It was a very Posh Corps event. You know how you can tell you're at a fancy event by the number of forks you don't know how to use? Well, there was only one fork here, but there were three different glasses for each person. You had your wine glass, your champagne glass, and your glass for liquor. Priorities, people. The table was stocked with local wines from Purcari and Et Cetera wineries, plus others I didn't recognize, and of course, a bottle of cognac every few people (of which I did not partake). 

There was SO MUCH FOOD and I ate pretty much everything. It was the best and most I've eaten in probably 6 months. Which, if you recall, is about the whole time I've been here. I can't even tell you how great it was. There were tons of great vegetables, and there was meat, and there was the greatest smoked cheese I feel like I've ever eaten, and oh, the wine. We started out with servers, and they would politely say, ma'am, what would you like to drink, and the mayor would answer for me and we would always be trying the same wine (precious).. But eventually the men at the table got impatient and wanted to pour the wine for us on their own, so that happened. He wanted us to try basically every wine, so we had to do that. He would say, Catea, this is from Et Cetera, remember how we went to that winery together? Yes, Primar, in fact, I do. 

Then there was dancing! Suddenly the mayor stood up and offered me his hand, and we were dancing. Then we did the hora, and then I got a break while he danced with Kelsey's partner, and then we danced some more! 

Finally the night was over, though surprisingly I wasn't itching to go (sometimes I have to go to events and I get tired and secretly cranky, but not for this). My partner stole some candy for me, we got our coats, and we headed back home. It was a fun day! 

I've also now been to the kindergarten Christmas/New Year's program, which was adorable. The kids sang, danced, recited poetry, did skits.. And they were adorable. Everything one would hope for in a nursery school Christmas program. Crying and messing up and just being precious. It was great. And my host mom was Santa.. Kind of a scary Santa, but I guess it worked for her, as only one girl cried.

And I got to Skype with my family for Christmas and "open" some presents that will wait two years for me. Tomorrow I'll see my friends for Christmas Day and all will be well! 

Merry Christmas!! 

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