Wednesday, September 19, 2007

La Multi Ani!!

Where to begin...I am still recovering from my first Romanian wedding this past weekend and I started my first week of school on Monday. I'll start with the wedding. What a celebration, I am telling you these people in the Village know how to work hard but I think they know how to party even harder! A daughter of some friends of mine in the village got married on this past saturday. The day started off around 2 p.m. where I was invited to walk with the father of the bride and friends to the god parents house of the bride where we drank and ate a full meal. After this, we paraded through the streets with a violin, guitar and drum to the house of the parents of the bride. I felt very privileged to be apart of this procession because it is a very traditional part of a Romanian wedding. Once we arrived at the house, the bride was sat next to her two sets of god parents, almost guarded by them actually, and we of course ate another full meal and drank more horlinka (moonshine brandy). There was a lot of singing going on and a lot of traditions that I did not fully grasp but it was very nice. Oh and the cake that was served was baked by the women in the village and I am telling you it was the best damn cake I have ever had! Around 4 p.m. the groom showed up to the house with his family and wedding party and he is greeted by the brides god parents and then finally the parents of the bride. The bride is protected by family and close friends until the very last minute, it was very interesting. After more singing and offerings of horlinka by the grooms party the bride and groom finally go arm in arm from the house to the church, about a 5 min walk, with all the guests behind them. The church service seemed very similar to the ones I have seen in the States, it was very nice. Then after the church service around 5:30 p.m. close friends and family jumped on a bus and went to another city, about an hour and half drive, to a restaurant and had what we would call the reception. At the reception there was a band playing traditional Romanian music and of course endless supplies of food, beer and horlinka! The eating, drinking and dancing lasted until 6 a.m.! Even at 6 a.m. when the bus departed back to the village, there was a pitcher of wine getting passed around and a bottle of horlinka! Needless to say I had a blast and was very very tired on sunday!
This brings us to Monday, my first day of school...actually the first day of school for every single school in Romania. The school in the village is quite large, two stories, for only a total of 80 students (Classes 1-8). Anyway, the first day was more of a celebration than anything. The priest came and sprinkled holy water on all of the students and teachers and in every classroom. After this, the kids went home and I got to meet the other teachers, a total of 9, and tried to figured out when and what I will be teaching this school year. I know the Australians made the expression 'no worries' popular but I think the Romanians are not far behind, at least in the village! After a couple of pots of coffee were drank and I showed off my decent knowledge of the Romanian language I found out I will be teaching grades 5-8 monday through thursday. The kids are great and very eager to learn english. There are a couple of students who can speak a little bit of english but for the most part they are all very basic will defiantly be a challenging year, but a lot of fun as well. I blew the kids away, when I gave them a high five when they responded well!
I have continued to help out with the field work after school and even a little cement work with some neighbors if I have time. I hope everyone is having fun with whatever they are doing and I will talk to you all soon!


Saturday, September 1, 2007

Down by the Sea Side

Only a couple weeks before school starts and field work is on hold for a couple weeks, so what a better way to get mentally and physically prepared for a long school year and harvest season than a trip to the Sea Side...the Black Sea Side that is! After the combined 21 hour journey (15 hrs to Bucharest then another 6hrs to the coast, all by train) I finally arrived in Eforie Nord where another volunteer from my group will be for the next two years, that sand bagging son of a bitch..Literly! The beaches were very nice, with the exception of all the cigarette butts, and the water was very warm with small rolling waves. Not big enough for surfing, which I am sure makes my mom very happy! Luckily, the weather cooperated for the days I was there and I was able to tame down my wicked farmers tan I got working in the fields. My buddy Adam and I chilled at the beach during the days drinking cold Romanian beer for super cheap and snacking on salami, bread and potato chips...they have Lay potato chips over here but they have totally different flavors than the ones in States, such as paprika! Yes, the rumors turned out to be true, a lot of women go topless on the beaches in Europe! However, it is not always a good thing, but it was different that is for sure.

Now I return back to the Village life, which I miss terribly. Always worrying about pick pocketers, cars running over you and how much money you are spending gets old quick. School begins in a couple of weeks and there is a wedding in the village the weekend before school starts! When someone gets married in the village the guest list is automatically 1,000 people (well now 1,001) and they tend to last all night and into the next, drink, drink, drink, dance....drink, drink, eat, dance! Needless to say it should be an experience and I will be dancing whether I want to or not! I really feel at home in the Village now...most everyone knows me by now and I talk to everyone I can as best as I can. They are beginning to realize that I am not just a tourist staying for the summer and they are feeling more comfortable with me.

My parents sent me a package with a Frisbee, Tootsie pops, gummy bears, flour tortillas and a bottle of salsa. While my friend Mary (another volunteer) was visiting we made the family I live with chips and salsa. We just cut the tortilla chips into triangles and fried them in some oil. I can not tell you how much they loved them, we made two batches and they eat them all up. They could not really understand what salsa was but they sure did love it! As for the Tootsie pops and gummy bears, I think every kid in the village swung by the house to get some candy from America, even a few grandma's stoped by to see what all the hype was about...word travels very fast in the village! I wish I had a camera out for every ones reaction when they bite down on the Tootsie pops for the first time and found the Tootsie roll center, it was truly priceless! The kids loved Frisbee and now they want to play it every night, after soccer of course. Who knows, maybe I will start the first ultimate frisbee team ever in Romania!

The purple and yellow plums from the endless number of trees in the fields have been taking priority over the nectarines and peaches as of late. All the apple trees are getting a little heavy but they are still a bit too sour, give them a month and they should be perfect...all this according to the grandma in the family and I defiantly believe her! I think I have eaten the family out of pickles for this summer...they are so damn good I can't stop when I start. They just sit back and laugh, never thinking something so simple as pickles would be my favorite...its all about the little things in life!

Hope everyone is having fun with their life and all that comes with it...Keep Smiling!