Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Rugându-se pentru ploaie
That's Romanian for "praying for rain." It is SO hot here. I know you're probably thinking, so what? It's hot in California. It's hot in Pennsylvania. But you know what Moldova doesn't have? Air conditioning. When you ride on the buses, people shut the windows because they are superstitious about the current. So, yeah, it's hot. I'm not complaining, OK well maybe a little, but it's a small complaint.
It has been a long few weeks here in Cahul. I had to say goodbye to a fellow volunteer, Christina, who left for reasons of which I am not at liberty to discuss. But I will miss her as she provided many great moments during training. I am the slightest bit envious of her as she is now back in California free to enjoy as many In-n-Out burgers as she desires. I hope she finds happiness.
Work is still slow. August is the big vacation month in Moldova and sometimes it is hard to get out of that mindset. Until the students return to school, Moldovans just try to enjoy the summer while they can. I'm still very unsure of my area and am a little scared to be out after dark so my social life is pretty minimal. It's just a heavily Russian populated area and I don't want to be stuck in a situation where no one speaks English or Romanian. I hope that in time I will be more comfortable to venture out more.
Holly and Maggie (the other 2 volunteers from English Ed) arrived on Wednesday. It was nice to have 2 more Americans in town. Now there are five of us including them, Jesse and Ryne. The five of us have yet to all get together but we have met up in different groups. The online community between volunteers is pretty active. I talk to more people online that are in Moldova than I talk to family and friends back home.
In October, the US Embassy is giving the FSOT. (Foreign Service Officer Test). My friend, Jeremy, is going to take it so I decided to take it with him. I spoke to my friend, Rich, who works at the Embassy here. He advised to just try it out. It's one day out of your life and who knows? It may be something of interest post-service. Nothing to lose really. Don't know if I want to make a career out of it, but why wouldn't I explore it?
I've had many of those "what am I doing" here moments over the past few weeks. We were warned that we'd feel pretty useless the first few months at site. They were right. My office that I work in is in a college near my apartment. College here equals specialty high school. So the kids who attend are 15-20 and are specializing in some form of the arts. From there they can go to University if they so desire. On Monday, the professors started to come to work to get ready for the school year. Life was breathed into the building. I can only imagine the change in energy when the students arrive next week. The first day of school is September 1st. The day before is a national holiday called "Language Day" to celebrate the first day of school. I think that's pretty cool that nation wide, kindergarten to university, everyone has the same first day of school. And the education is celebrated. Professors know our organization and have been stopping in to say hello to Vica, my boss, and to meet 'the American.' They are very kind and speak slowly to me. I met the music professor and she was thrilled to hear about my interests. Today I met the English professor so it was nice to have an actual conversation instead of repeatedly saying "Da" and "Îmi pare bine." (That's 'yes' and 'nice to meet you' respectively.) It also made me a little sad. She teaches English and barely has any text books, doesn't even have a map of the United States. When she wants to show the kids something they all have to gather around her laptop. So much more could be done. And then the reason why I'm here gets renewed. All the motivation and the drive is here but not necessarily the resources. I hope I can help in that aspect. I don't know what I can do but I hope I can do something. The volunteer mindset is hard to explain. I came across the article in the NYT. Maybe it will shed some light to those who are still thinking "she's crazy!"
This coming weekend is Independence Day. Moldova celebrating 20 years being independent from the Soviet Union. That's the kind of happiness you just can't buy. Yes, Ms. Kardashian, I'm talking to you.