This past week has been fairly busy. To summarize, my 6-year-old host niece stayed the week with my host parents and me. We played a lot of cards, watched some tv, colored, and had a blast hanging out. In addition to hosting a new guest, my work partner and I had a meeting with my program manager and specialist, and I still taught 2 English classes. This week keep me busy, but it was worth it.
My 6-year-old Niece, Sanda
Most schools had vacation this week, a Fall Break if you will. Because of said vacation, Alexandra (Sanda for short) was able to visit her grandparents, my host parents. Sanda kept us on our toes this week, but made it a lot fun.
Sanda currently loves playing UNO and thanks to my (American) parents, I had the game to play with her. Although that might not have mattered, as she played UNO with Phase 10 cards as well. Playing UNO, you never knew what she might throw out. At one point, she hit me with three +2 Cards and 2 Skip cards back-to-back. She seemed proud of that (I am sure it was a great moment for her because I only had two cards left and was surely going to win). I won’t comment on who won that round, but overall, Sand may have won more games against me. But really, who was counting (don’t ask her).
Sanda and I worked on her English as well. She is 6-years-old, yet outside of Romanian, studies English and next term will start Turkish. She has an exam in English coming up, so I tried to help her study. Sometimes she would use the Russian word if she couldn’t remember the English word. It would crack me up, and she knew better, but she just couldn’t remember the right word. I think I drilled it in her head enough that she will remember “Thank you” means “mulțumesc.” I’ll make sure to ask her next time I see her (stay tuned).
Sanda knows my weakness; Scooby-Doo, and although the newest television show of the beloved dog is not animated in the traditional sense (the arguably better animation style), I still enjoyed watching it. Sanda loves this one particular tv station and there are some classics on it, like Scooby-Doo and Tom & Jerry, so there was no complaints from me this week. Thinking about it now, I kind of want to turn on the TV and watch station 2-0-6. I mean, Scooby-Doo will be on in an hour after all!
Honestly though, it’s so neat that I can be over 5,000 miles away from home, yet watch some of my favorite animated shows (and they are actually in Romanian, which is so helpful for me to understand the language better). It’s so fascinating to me that kids growing up on two continents can watch and enjoy the same shows. It might be something insignificant, but I feel as this helps create connections and bonds. Throughout the week, I appreciated that Sanda kept me up to date on when Scooby-Doo was on so that I could watch it with her.
On Wednesday, my program manager and the new program specialist visited with my partner and me to see how things were going. It was apart of a yearly check-up and a chance for the program manager to check in and see how things are going and to help if any issues arose due language (there was no issues here). This discussion took much of the day, but I was grateful my manager was able to stop by my host family’s house and say hello. The meeting helped me reset and realize what I can continue to do to help my partner. I’m excited and looking forward to what the rest of the 2 years will bring to my organizations and the community.
So on the day of my site visit, it was Halloween (October 31st). In America, that day consists of kids dressing up Trick-or-Treating, and getting lots of candy, but it’s not celebrated quite the same here in Moldova. In most small villages, Halloween isn’t celebrated. Being that I didn’t have many of the resources or ability to get to the capitol, I didn’t really have a Halloween Celebration. Instead, for my language classes, we celebrated by teaching Halloween words and learning about what some Halloween festivities consist of. My parents had sent me some candy-corn and pumpkin candy-corn, so I introduced my students to these classic American Halloween treats. To emphasis the diversity of America and the many different cultures and celebrations that happen, I also talked about All Saints Day, All Souls Day/Dia de Muertos. The adults found connections and similarities between celebrations done in Moldova and celebrations done in America. That fascinated me.
Sanda dressed up as what I would call a cute witch and recited, in English, “Trick-or-Treat, Trick-or-Treat, give me something good to eat.” So of course, she got some candy-corn.
I think many family members would be disappointed in me if I didn’t mention all the food I had this week. So I ate pizza and zeamă twice this week and also borscht. Sanda had been talking about this other food many times during the week, CHEESEBURGERS! So when her parents came to visit and pick her up, they brought the ingredients needed to make cheeseburgers. The dinner was delicious. In addition to the hamburgers, I also ate plăcinte. You can see it in my picture below (to the left of the hamburger). Translations name it pie, but that does not do it justice. It is amazingly delicious and comes in all kinds, with cheese or potatoes for a meal or fruit for a nice dessert. I found it very intriguing to be eating staples from two countries: hamburgers for America and plăcinte for Moldova. During the dinner, I had to take a second. I don’t know why, but I loved the juxtaposition of two cultures, right on my plate. These little masă will definitely be a fond memory I hold onto for a very long time.
Oh and for dessert, we had these pretty and sweet treats. I’m not sure if Moldova has cupcakes in the American sense, but I would say these are their version. Check out the picture below to see these sweet desserts up close.
So that’s been my week: busy, constantly learning, eating more than I should, and a whole lot of fun. I hope your week was an adventure too. I wonder how this next week will be? Anyway, maybe grab yourself something sweet and go enjoy a cup of joe.