Enjoying Spring: The weather has been absolutely gorgeous outside the past few weeks. There have been a handful of cooler or rainy days, but for the most part, the days have been warm and sunny. The winter wasn’t really that long or hard compared to winter in upstate New York, but my mood has definitely been lifted the past few weeks. Our time changed two weeks after the time change in the United States, so I feel I’m still adjusting to that slightly, but it’s nice that it’s bright in the mornings and evenings now. Last night we had the first pretty big thunder and lightning storm I’ve seen since coming to Moldova.
A Mini “Vacation” to the Capital: This past weekend was busy but good. I went to the capital to celebrate a fellow volunteer’s birthday party. While there, I also did a ton of walking and went clothes shopping with another volunteer. I am not a fan of clothes shopping, especially when I really need something specific, so I was glad to have a friend to go with. Thankfully, after visiting several stores and lots of walking to those various stores, I did come home with some new clothes. This was one of the first times I’ve shopped for clothes here, and from what I can tell, a lot of the popular styles seem to be similar to those in America (though I suppose now that I’ve been out of the US for 10 months, those styles may have changed). Clothes are quite expensive here (especially when you look at people’s salaries) and the quality isn’t great, but you can usually find most things you need without too much of a problem. To give an idea on prices: I paid the equivalent of about $25USD for a pair of jeans, $10USD for a pair of sweatpants, and $23USD for a dress. All were on sale.
Our night consisted of a large group of volunteers playing board games. It was a lot of fun (even if I’m really quite bad at Trivia Pursuit!). We even had American-style cake with the most delicious chocolate frosting (a rarity here).
On Sunday, I went to brunch with some friends and then hung out at the Peace Corps headquarters. Our volunteer lounge is a couple of floors up and has slanted ceilings and low windows. It’s really quite cozy and yesterday, I spent some time curled up on a comfy couch in a quiet corner, reading a book while a nice warm breeze came in through the window.
A Visit from My Host Niece: I returned home Sunday afternoon and caught a rutiera along with my host sister and host niece. When we got home, I played outside with my host niece for awhile. It was the perfect weather and I was happy to spend some more time outside! A couple of my students walked by while I was doing some exercises with my host niece. They looked surprised to see me, though maybe it was just because it was the first time they’ve seen me wearing sweatpants!
Skyping with “America”: The last month has been busy with school and secondary projects. My English Club is still going strong, and we even had a special event where we skyped with my friend’s 3rd grade class in the US. My students were shocked by how large American classrooms are, that the English alphabet has only 26 letters (the Romanian alphabet has 33, according to my students), and that the students were sitting on the floor (wouldn’t they get dirty??).
Project and Grant Writing: I’ve also been working with a team of individuals from my school to write a grant and project proposal. The application is due next Saturday, so we’re definitely spending a lot of time weekly working on it! We’re hoping to renovate, rearrange, and modernize our school library, as well as update our book selection (almost all of the books we currently have are written in Cyrillic, either in Russian or in Romanian, and are from the Soviet Era).
I think that pretty much wraps it up!