Thursday, February 19, 2015

Good Things

Let's recap: over the weekend we went through one of many mental breakdowns (why do they happen on the bus so much? That wasn't the first time I'd gone back to site crying on a rutiera). We were hopeful that things would improve, and I'm here to tell you that they did. I don't know how I've suddenly become a "we" - maybe things didn't get better and now I have multiple personalities...? No, that's probably not it. Anyway. We'll just go through the days of this week.

Monday's Good Things: 

  • I started a new to-do list system, which involves filling one bright colored post-it with things I want to accomplish for the day - no more than fits on that one page (which has 15 lines, so I can only hope to do 15 things - 16 if I use the skinnier, bottom line). This week I've been writing them when I get to work in the morning, and they've been super helpful (plus, they make my planner bright and colorful!). 
  • The librarian (I think she's the librarian; our library moved so the librarians switched.. now we have multiple libraries and librarians - I don't know, it's confusing) came in to my office and asked what my name was, and then said, "Catea, I invite you to the opening of the library today at 1:00." I've possibly mentioned working with the library, but I have been waiting for the Novateca computers and equipment to be delivered, as I'm hoping to be able to teach some computer skills classes there. They were delivered! So Monday was the "Grand Opening."
  • I went to the opening and since I got there at 1:00, I was early, so I talked to the mayor's wife (also a librarian, for the school library) for a bit about reading contests and Tom Sawyer and Mark Twain (unfortunately, as I have not read Mark Twain, I couldn't contribute too much) and other interesting stuff.
  • At the opening, we had cute kids in costume, guests from the Raion Council, speeches, poetry, dancing, and even a woman with a display of her handicrafts. At the end the librarian suddenly realized she hadn't let me say anything, so she quickly said, "Oh! And we have our volunteer from Peace Corps! Would you like to say a few words?" I, um.. Politely declined. I thought that might happen, but even thinking it, I still didn't quite know what to say, so I just didn't. 
  • After all this, we went to the OLD library location for wine and food - which was excellent, as I hadn't had time for lunch.. and as I love wine. There was some vodka, too, because that's what a bunch of women who just opened a library need in their lives. 

Tuesday's Good Things:
  • Tuesdays are my gradinita days, which means I go to the kindergarten and do things. I assumed I would be teaching computer skills again, but no one had time for that, so they sent me to the "Pregatitoare" class. This is a drastic contrast from my host mom's class - she has the 2-3 year olds, and I love them, but not for any extended length of time. The Pregatitoare class is the 6-7 year olds who will start at the big kid school in the fall, so they can talk to me and they're okay at crafts.. Aaaaand they love me, so it's a good time. 
  • We made whale pictures out of different kinds of seeds/beans, and then the teacher said, okay are you ready to teach them your dance? So the room was cleaned up while I freaked out about whether or not my translation of my song was correct. 
  • For some background, International Women's Day is March 8. It's super important here and there will obviously be a program with songs, dances, poetry, gifts for mothers.. All of that. Someone had the bright idea that I would teach the class an American thing, and it was never really clear what exactly they wanted, so I just decided. It's going to be totally different than the rest of their program, but in my defense, I have to teach it in Romanian and well.. Americans are weird, right? Let's go with that.
  • I learned the penguin dance as an adult, but since then, I just keep teaching it to children. It's adorable and it reminds me of my sorority sisters, it's easy, and kids love it. So I translated it into Romanian and then suddenly on Tuesday, I've got two dozen kids looking at me and I have to teach it to them. It started out a little rough, but when we got to "Penguins, attention!" (Pinguinii, atentie!) the little boys got really into that. We did it a few times and they were adorable, and then when they realized we were done, they all swarmed me with a giant group hug - it was THE GREATEST. It's gonna be a hot mess when we actually perform it for the moms, but it will definitely amuse.
  • As I left after lunch, I told my host mom I wanted to make pancakes, and she said, okay, I'll be home at six, you're making dinner - or something to that effect. She was definitely home before six and definitely made her own dinner, but she let me make my pancakes and didn't tell me how to do it or micromanage me.. And she and her husband even tried the pancakes and liked them! She wants me to write down the recipe for her, but really I think it's the syrup that they liked, which I had found in Chisinau over the weekend. My measuring spoons were at Kelsey's house, but I improvised with soup spoons and tea spoons and everything tasted great! It's always an accomplishment when they let the American into the kitchen, and since it was Fat Tuesday, I needed pancakes, so we had them!

They kept getting bigger.....

Wednesday's Good Things:
  • Well, Wednesday was mostly great because I got so much work done. My to-do list was full - 15 things, some of them kind of big.. And I did every. single. one. It's the most accomplished I've felt in a while. I have a lot of things due at the end of the month - a grant application that is super involved and multilingual and exhausting, and our VRF (Volunteer Reporting Form) for the cool dudes in DC who want to know all about what we're doing. 
  • On my way home after work, I passed by my friend's house, who I haven't been to see in much too long, and his mom was outside and made me come in for lunch! There was SO MUCH FOOD because it was the other son's birthday, so I didn't see him, but I'm glad he was born however many years ago because I had a great lunch. I just love this kid and his mom! He's precious and we have stuff in common and our conversations are just the greatest combination of Romanian and English - we switch back and forth probably without even realizing what we're doing. After eating we sat and watched TV for a while while we talked, and then I went home to get some more work done. It was a good afternoon.
  • Nina invited me to her birthday, so I get to go back to Magdacesti and see my PST host family again!! SO EXCITING!
  • We realized group chats are just better for everything in life, and we've got train tickets booked from Roma to Napoli! (Oh yeah, did I mention we're going to Italia? WELL WE ARE.) 
  • Aaaaand I rewarded myself for all my hard work of the day with The Bachelor! My only mistake was not having a glass of wine while I did it. 

So it turns out things are not too bad at the moment. I mean, just look at that blue sky. What more could you ask for? (Well, okay, maybe Dunkin' Donuts or some hot light Krispy Kreme.. with some Sheetz iced coffee..) If you're wondering about the latest count, it's now been 260 days in Moldova, and this is where we are. 

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