Sunday, February 27, 2011

Dragobetele - Saruta Fetele

Friday night at school was the Dragobete concert. 
(Dragobete is basically like Valentine's Day for Romania and Moldova. As I previously posted, Moldovans do celebrate Valentine's Day, but they do consider it an American holiday. 
Dragobete is all theirs!) 

The concert started around 5:30ish and went to 7:30. There were 4 couples, all ninth graders,
and 2 mc's. There were different competitions the pairs had to do such as declaration of love, talent, dancing, create an outfit representing love, and impromptu question/answer. I was very impressed with how the kids did. There was some singing, guitar playing, drawing, and even some fancy soccer/football moves. Between some of the competitions while the judges calculated scores, there were some dances and songs by other students. In the end, they all won for their own specific reasons. (If you remember the post about the big sports competition at my school, "friendship" won.) So, everyone won at this competition as well.

Viorel and Irina, MC's from the 11th form in traditional Moldovan dress

Cupid asking why the boy loves his girl

2nd form girls throwing rose petals on one of the couples

Dancing in Russian costumes wore during WWII

Soccer skills

8th and 9th form boys doing a dance. They're so cute!
After the competition, all of us teachers got together to celebrate. A few other teachers and I prepared food and wine. We ate bread with different cheeses, meats, fish, and cucumbers. 

Our photographer sneezed while taking the photo :)

Monday, February 21, 2011

A Really Awesome Moldovan

Клавдия (Claudia)
Claudia is one of the people I'm really going to miss when I leave Moldova. She works at the cafeteria in my school, but she is not a lunch lady. She sells coffee, tea, cappuccino, and different types of pastries at her little table in the corner of the room. 
Claudia is Russian/Moldovan thus meaning she mainly speaks Russian. She does speak Romanian, though, so that is mainly how we communicate. She has been attempting to teach me Russian, so in the mornings everyday when I come for a cup of coffee, we speak Russian to each other. 
Last year I went to Claudia's house one day and we knitted together for a while and had lunch. She loves knitting and beading, so she wanted to teach me how to knit a new pattern. I ended up making a scarf with the new pattern. 
This year I haven't been able to go to her house because we've both been busy, but hopefully I will be able to again at least once more before I leave in July.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

5 Months...

I was sitting with my American friend/fellow volunteer Amanda earlier today having lunch, and we were discussing how our lives after Peace Corps are going to be. We got a bit stressed out thinking about grad school (since each of us only applied to one school and the "What if we don't get accepted??" started driving us nuts), so we decided to think about all the exciting things awaiting us in America!
  • Having our own cars! While it's nice not to have to worry about gas prices and car insurance, it's even nicer not having to squeeze into a mini-bus with 20 other people in 90 degree weather for 3 hours.
  • Air conditioning and central heating. Enough said there.
  • Customer service! I worked in retail in America for 4 years, so I'm really big on the customer service whether it be in a restaurant or in a store. Here in Moldova, they are not. If you want something, you track down that waiter/sales associate and ask!
  • Our own culture! Don't get me wrong here, I love Moldovan culture. It's great! But I'm excited to be able to do "American" things and not be considered weird. For example, last week I wore a long sleeve shirt with a short sleeve shirt over that. It was cute, and it was warm. My partner saw me and said, "Oh wow, you are so American! We would never wear anything like that!"
  • Being treated like an adult! Perhaps it's because most of us volunteers speak like we are four year olds or maybe because we act weird and do weird things, but everyone treats us like we're kids.
This is a mini list of exciting things that we're looking forward to. While we were thinking about this list, I started thinking about the things I'll miss about Moldova. This brought a bit of a downer on my mood, because I was all excited about being home, and then I became sad about leaving. So, a list of some of the things I'll miss.
  • Tea at Luminita's house! Luminita is my old tutor/basically my mom here in Moldova. We used to do tutoring together, but we stopped doing that and now have tea dates instead. Her husband, Vlodia, joins us. We have cookies and talk about everything. Her husband speaks mostly Russian, so I learn Russian from him and he learns Romanian and English from Luminita and I.
  • Natalia! She's my partner teacher and best friend here. I know I wouldn't have lasted this whole time without her. The best times with Natalia are when we buy a big bottle of beer and sunflowers seeds and sit at her kitchen table and talk. 
  • Candy with Coffee! Whenever you order coffee at any cafe/restaurant/bar in Moldova, you get a piece of candy on the side. The more expensive and fancy the place, the better the candy. 
  • The Hora! Some volunteers may not like the Hora, which is the national dance of Moldova, but I absolutely LOVE it. It doesn't matter where you are, if an upbeat traditional Moldovan song comes on, someone is bound to start a Hora. I was at a bar once, and these scary mobster looking guys came in all wearing leather jackets and completely in black. Some music came on, and they all jumped up, got in a circle with hands held, and started to Hora. The Hora brings people together!
So this is also just a mini list, but I will continue to update it as I think of things.
It was so hard to say goodbye to everyone back home. I remember crying and all that jazz. But it will be even harder to leave here I think, because I'll most likely never see these people again. When I left home, I knew I'd be returning after 2 years. Unless I plan to vacation back to Moldova someday, I will be saying goodbye to these people for the last time. Man, that sure puts a damper on things.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Valentine's Day!

Today at school,I talked about Valentine's Day with some of my classes. They do celebrate Valentine's Day here in Moldova, but I thought it would be interesting to tell them how we celebrate it in America. They all thought it was "super" that in schools we have parties and decorate boxes to put Valentine's cards in. 
After discussing Valentine's Day and reading a short handout, we did a word search that had words like "kisses, cuddle, heart, roses, friends, smooch (yes, smooch...) hugs, candy"

After the word searches, the kids got to make Valentines. I taught them how to say a few things: "I love you" "Happy Valentine's Day", and of course "Roses are red, Violets are blue...."

Monday is Valentine's Day, and I'm super pumped because it's my favorite holiday. Hopefully I'll get a few more Valentines from my students like the ones they made me today!