The Crescendo of Knowing

Has the crescendo of comprehension hit its peak? Has the hunger for solitude subsided? The academic year has commenced and acted as a trite chaperone. The „first bell” tradition is still as exceptional as ever, a community wide enterprise I will forever relish. Students and families alike flock to the school, outfitted in their wardrobe’s best to rejoice and watch the not-so-symbolic first bell be rung by a chosen youngster attending their very first day and a selected young adult beginning their very last year of school. In my second year, I understood the speeches, I knew what was coming next. Things don’t have to be spelled out for me in belittling fashion. The same insouciance had permitted me to be exposed to the ugly underbelly  – things will move with an impressive lethargy and while the programmed first day of school has happened, it’ll take some time before things actually get moving. And you know, that is okay.


I have always had this mental map soaked into my brain. An atlas standing in as a blueprint for my success, a chart for my activities. This map was impossible to discharge from my psyche. It’s humorous that the process of letting go of it begins just as I am actually able to fully comprehend the world around me.We sit in the same meetings but with a whole new swagger; a zeal that represented  jumping through the Moldovan hoops that are broken processes and corrupt attitudes. Experience is a wonderful thing; a souvenir that underscores the tutorial of not sinking into the quicksand of frustration. Experience is an onerous long road before it pays dividend, but still wonderful. With language no longer being a barrier, and the community mapping being a thing of the past, I know how this works and I plan my days accordingly. I go and take a shot with the mayor to „brainstorm” about future ideas. I bring cookies to the janitors and administraters to rejuvinate the projects’ schedule. After classes, I assist with cleaning and organizing alongside the assistant directors to get the classes and agenda I want and I’ll even incorporate some time to gossip and sift through photos with other teachers whom I will plead for help in the coming months. No reason to hate the game, right? It’s just some heavy persuasion to oil the wheels of progress.

And it works. Our park project is in the last phases of construction. We started with a new crop of 4th graders – kids who are just absolutely adorable and couldnt be more excited to work with the much-rumored about Domnul Brett. I am continuing with the same 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th graders and building off last years curriculum with more in depth and hypersensitive topics. They trust me to talk about Puberty and eating disorders, and we use last year’s information to freefall into thin-skinned themes. I even wiggled my way into 5th-grade Russian as a student. Sitting alongside my favorite class, they think it is hilarious, yet my pride takes a shot when my students are crushing me in grammar lessons and juvenile review games.

One of the strange phenomenon’s as of now is seeing my friends who have completed their 2 years of service transition back into American culture. One of my closest friends, who I had the pleasure of serving with for a year offered astute advice: „While the focus may be on the needs of your community, do something you really want to do”. This year, I have done just that by introducing an „Emerging leaders” club. The best advantage I possess is knowing the students who look to thrive and lead by example. Way back when, I stated a goal to teach people how to think outside of the box and utilize their potential, and I’m going for it. I handpicked 20 students ( I know, I know.. didn’t want to play favorites), and brought them into one core group. Here, we will learn about cultures, business project design, and valuable life skills (while throwing in some English). I’ve also learned the magical ability to say „No”!  I’ve learned to just try – even if failure is the likely outcome. No more what ifs, no more doing things just because I’m here. The looks shot in my direction are not quizzical, but almost affectionate condescension.  Together we make Sage decisions, and together, we cultivate resiliance.

I’ve decided to join in on the indifference that bounds itself to the beginning of the school year.  Things will get done, and my mental map will take form. For now, I know the stuff my students and colleagues must do at home to prepare for inward seasons. Hours upon hours are reserved for preserving tomatoes and peppers for the winter. Days are put aside to pick the grapes for fermenting wine or amass the corn from the fields. I certainly aint going to beat the system, so joining was definitely the right choice. The animals who grew over the past year must now become frozen meat for our winter – in my house, that meant kill the pig! While this kid could paint a gnarly portrayal, I’ll spare you the repugnant particulars. It’s pretty much what you would imagine when primitive people are without basic machinery – just subsitute in a blowtorch. The animals’ forlorn and distrustful eyes would have worked on me had I not been living here for 15 months already. What would normally be an eloquent argument in favor of vegetarianism for most, was an exciting version of the theater for me. So when kids miss a day of school to go to the fields and collect grapes – I know that their family’s wine making activities are a secondary source of income (and heat). The 6am Saturday wake up calls and afternoon tractor carpooling now make sense.  I know all this know and somehow its already my last go around.

Struggles outside of our tangential air can slip past precedence. This has been made clear for me with the health of my family at home. When the same people who mete out motivation and teach you to believe in yourself show signs that inflict with immortality, surface cracks in our armour become bulky gorges. As my Grandfather piles up on his hospital ferquent flyer points, feelings of powerlessness and remorse bevy brainpower and promote far too many self-directed inquiries. Moldova could not be farther away when my family assmebles around illness. With Skype has been a small blessing, I’m learning to compensate for my absent heart, but I’m pleased to say my community has offered up their stanch support. Thus, a viscid mix of emotions boil in me as I scribe job and grad school applications. Boasting about my work here seems to be a acerbic jab at what we have been able to accomplish. These people have become my kids, my friday night plans, my support system; and the crops and the events have taken my monthly priorities by storm. Through the sparsely furnished classrooms, our dispositions have come to a rhythmic rise and fall. I guess that’s why a crescendo is titled as such. It keeps growing, until the resonance is just right. 

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2 thoughts on “The Crescendo of Knowing

  1. Gary Brawerman

    Great reading my favorite son.

  2. Kathy Jones

    Outstanding! This is Mrs. Jones from RKE. Your writing is amazing! I am so envious of your life right now! Granted, pig killing and butchering would have had me doing the old heave ho, but the opportunity to work with young people in a forgein country is amazing! You, my friend, are learning what it takes some teachers years to find out about children and the dynamics of their culture. Be safe and be well. Continue to make a difference in their lives.

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Hayley in Cambodia

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