Lacking a subliminal message, the title says it all. Clartiy (n.): the quality or state of being clear; a lucid mind.
In the previous few weeks I have lectured a propos healthy eating and sanitation habits to my youngest students, the risks caused by tobacco and alcohol consumption to my middle schoolers, and hidden messages in mass-media to the oldest. While my lessons don’t always sink into the memories of each and every pupil, I know that I have made at least a miniscul impact. If I can witness just one pair of widening eyes out of the 30 some faces staring back at me each class, I am satisfied.
We recently celebrated Hram, which translates into Village Day. For the first time since my arrival, I detected a sense of pride and identity in the citizens of my village. Celebrating where they came from is something people in America never shy away from – I have seen an amount of American flag oxford shirts and bandanas in one week that can fill the shelves of a walmart superstore – but here, this same pride is rarely visible. I utilized the first half of the day to travel to my partner Olga’s fathers house for his 70th birthday. I had no idea what kind of impact I can make. Later in the day, Olga informed me that her father had been nervous the American was coming because he was a little ashamed of his poor residence and simple way of life. Luckily, I helped put those qualms at ease as I loved every minute of the celebration. I drank housemade whiskey and win with the men as we stood over an open fire topped with fresh pork meat. We stuffed ourselves silly while looking through photo albums that perfectly resembled a prop from a 1930’s movie. The family could not have been any more kind and convivial. The same and solo aparatus that supplies the house with heat was used to cook the delicious meal – a simplicity I adore – and my day could not have been more perfect minus that it illuminated the need to move to a new host family who actually enjoys my company. Later, we attended a concert in the center of our village. Watching children that I have the pleasure of educating perform traditional Moldovan dance, singing in front of a large audience and executing works of talent they have obviously worked very hard on was a joy that I must believe only parents and teachers could ever feel. This type of joy could never be brought on by any amount of drugs and alcohol. Sorry, Moldova.
In a similar light, Thanksgiving was extremely hard for me. My most beloved holiday came and passed, and I had nothing to show for it. My elucidation in slurred Romanian were not appreciated, my meals resembled nothing of the ole American tradition, and the deficiency of family and loved ones became markedly discernible. I had no alternative, so I elected to spend my day in a different way. I went with a few friends to the home for girls with disabilities, the one I had previously visited in the „nearby” district center, and spent a few hours there. Oh, the unpanticipated riches that can be revealed. Don’t falter, if I could have a stout turkey in the oven only a few feet away from where I was with my hilarious family members watching a flat-screen TV exhibiting a violent NFL football game, I wouldn’t think twice. However, this was a close second. The gloomy sentiment that had been consuming me before turned to heartwarming content, as the girls couldn’t have been more thankful just to have a visitor. I accepted heaps of hugs, kisses, and salutations of all kinds and spent hours talking with the very forward, yet wonderful Irish director about the directions of our lives, the roles we play in humanity, and the transformations that are yet to be made.
I am beginning to break out of the timid shell that has consumed my exterior. As my language develops, and my reputation in my village swells (That American boy/health teacher who always smiles and oddly says hello to everyone), I find myself taking more chances. I suspend conversations to interject and ask what a word or phrase means, that before would have gone over my head; I seek out individuals and inform them of my plans instead of just carry them out and hope someone takes notice; I incorporate amusing yet pratical activities into my lectures because now I can explain them versus just taking the easy way out and allowing my partner to lead the discussions. Yes, I continuously confer about langauge and the problems it has offered, but the rewards it brings are, well freaking awesome. Discovering phrases in a new language that have a similar meaning to „Don’t shit the bed” or „You’re full of it” is quite possibly the most fun I have ever had. While it has expanded my knowledge and improved my memory intake, I have also noticed I have just become a more competent communicator. I pay critical attention to body language, take into account how a message is delivered, follow voice tones situational factors. Before, these were a must if I wanted to understand, but now I have adapted this during English conversations, as well, and I find that it is greeted with more triumph.
I remember back to the first few weeks of my service. I looked at the calendar and picked a date to cling to. Just get to July 4th, and you can be proud. And on it went. Now, I often find myself forgetting that I am living in a world where disadvantages build on eachother by the day, where the odds are stacked against my success. Until I walk home and step on used needles and bullet cases do I remind myself of the worke to be done. During these times of self-reflection and personal growth, I have come to understand a few things about myself. Even in the ultra-slow Peace Corps lifestyle, my tireless personality is still in full swing and I cannot just sit around and do nothing. It’s not in my blood, as I continue to concoct projects and time-consuming commotion. If you can somehow magically factor out the whole being away from friends and family thing, subtract the life of leisure, and disregard the disappearance of amentities, I may be the happiest I have ever been.