As I sat down to create a dental hygeine lesson plan for my 4th graders, I had a sudden flashback to my sister’s middle school science fair project. At the time, I despised it knowing I would have to attend the actual fair itself; While only 2 hours out of my life, at age 9, it seemed comparable to a second circumcision. Who knew it would come in handy later on in life (like most things, right?). I came back to reality and was fully aware that I must, not unlike all aspects of this life, become creative with my sparce resources. We placed two hard-boiled eggs in their designated cups. The first in a glass full of water, coke-a-cola for the other. This demonstration served as the „Motivation” part of our lecture, which sandwiched the mind-blowing information portion, with the experiment to be revisited at the end for a visual and tangible conclusion. While I still haven’t quite realized that I am an Educator – and, uh, living in Europe – it hit me for the first time that I am introducing new concepts that will shape childrens’ future behavior and lives. The fact that it’s in a completely different language is just a minor detail. So, thank you Marisa for the never-ending inspiration you provide me with, and my 4th graders want you to know that you have a „foarte frumos” (very beautiful) name and picture. Of course, I showed them the one of you in a Ravens jersey.
Realizations aside, I have two announcements to make for my loyal blog followers: I whole-heartedly extend a sincere apology to those teachers who were forced to take on the daunting responsibility of Brett Brawerman through the ages of 10-15. After doing your job for just two months, I must say, God bless your sweet and patient souls. Secondly, I am proud to announce that I am now the owner of a 5th grade literacy level in Romanian! Hold your applaud, I didn’t do it myself. I have an incredible tutor in my village who also is one of the most insightful and genuine people I have encountered so far on this journey (and now that I know she reads this, Hi Svetlana!). Things brings me to the next new memory I wish to share, National Professors Day. Without a doubt a holiday that needs to be brought to the US, this festive day celebrates the respected educators in the community. Starting off bright an early with a dance the students have been practicing for over a month, the day continued with high-schoolers teaching the lessons, gifts being presented to favorite teachers, and ending with a memorable celebration consisting of just the staff members. I don’t neccessarily agree that I deserve it quite yet, but I received 5 different boquets of beautiful flowers, two boxes of chocolate, and received more kisses and hugs than I have given out in my entire life. The fact that I brought my colorful, for the lack of a better word, personality to Lăpusna by wearing my partner’s dress on stage to reenact a poor man’s Cinderella shouldn’t take anything away from this truly beautiful holiday.
I have kept myself busy with my incessant planning skills of what I want to bring to my community. I’m starting off with possible fundraising platforms for new, and badly needed, uniforms for the schools’ sports teams and a school-wide bulletin board that will display a new topic every month – tasks not as easy in a foreign language. For the upcoming months, I am hoping to continue with seminars to transfer computer skills to my fellow colleagues, workshops that reinforce the importance of a correct resume and interviewing skills, and currently I am in communication with Grassroots Soccer, an international NGO that uses soccer as an outlet to teach about HIV/AIDS to kickstart a chapter in Moldova.
While that is hard work and hopefully incredibly rewarding in the future, I feel the need to stop the serious talk and share with you some fun moments in Moldova. Being so far away from home and comfort zones in general, we volunteers are often in desperate need of a good laugh and a friendly conversation. This past weekend I attended the National Wine Festival. Representing the young country’s biggest export (and biggest health problem), this is Moldova’s glory day. Don’t worry Peace Corps, I received the habitual permission to leave site and I even had a sweet, old Baba holding my hand as I crossed the highway trying to hitch a ride. We had a grand time, drank too much wine, and ate BBQ reminiscant of the southern states I have been attending college in. However let me tell you, while completely unethical, people-watching in Moldova is the absolute best afternoon activity. Too many girls to count on one hand would pass us wearing shirts that say (in English) „FBI: Female Body Inspector”, „I ♥ My Boyfriend!”, and even „Take me, I’m wet”. Either they adorably have no idea what message they are flashing to the world or some sneaky bastard who knows a bit of English claimed dibs on their secret crush.
Unforuntaely, I returned to my village a physical wreck, struggling with a sore throat, a bruised pride, and a headache that can only be created by house-made red wine housed and sold in a re-used and beaten up Fanta bottle. Not to worry, my host family made sure I had some Moldovan Medicine – another heaping glass of red wine. Some days, all we can do is relieve our angry intestines and poop in a hole in the ground, study our native language, and count how many days we have left until we return to our friends and family. Other days, like right this moment I have six or seven children hanging over my shoulder watching me type or asking for my autograph. While they have absolutely no idea what I am saying to you all, they are fascinated by the speed of my typing, the fact that I am still hanging around their classroom, and are taking advantage of every opportunity to laugh and smile.