Vacation is Over, and It’s Not as Bad as I Thought

Some students stopped by our house last night as part of a Moldovan Christmas tradition called “steaua” (star).

Today was the first day back to school after a little over two weeks of vacation, which I spent in the United States with my family.  I have to admit that after a long and difficult trip back to Moldova, I was kind of dreading having to get up this morning and get back into the school routine.  Then I practically didn’t sleep at all last night thanks to jet lag and my body not being adjusted back to this time zone.  I also found out yesterday that one of my partners won’t be here this entire week.  Her absence is for a completely legitimate reason, but teaching some classes by myself when I know I’ll be especially tired this week felt a little daunting.

Needless to say, when I finally dragged (and I really mean dragged- it was no easy feat) myself out of bed this morning I was in a rather foul mood.  I scarfed down a small amount of food, quickly got ready, and walked quickly to school, worried that I was going to be late.  I got to school and found out that we have a new schedule and that I now have to teach SIX lessons in a row on Tuesdays (normal, perhaps, in the United States, but fairly rare here).  Ugh.

And then I went to my classes and was thoroughly surprised by just how great the day ended up being.  Funny how that happens sometimes, right?  My third graders excitedly told me about their vacations and we learned some new English words related to the holidays.  My second graders told me that their vacations were wonderful but that they had really, really missed me.  They were extremely curious about my time in the United States and surprised me by their excitement at the thought of me flying home and then back on a plane.  “I’ve wanted my entire life to ride on a plane!” one girl exclaimed.  When I asked them why they hadn’t come caroling at my house, they looked at me crestfallen and said, “we didn’t know you were home!”  At the end of the lesson, a couple of the girls came up and gave me great, big hugs.  For the first time since last spring, I spent a lesson with a group of 4th graders that I no longer teach, and they cheered when I came in the classroom and were so excited they could hardly read or complete their assignments.  My eighth grade students sang “Happy Birthday” to me in English and asked me all about my trip, and my seventh grade students were well-behaved and quiet.  Later, my site mate told me some of the primary school teachers were talking about me earlier and that they had nothing but good things to say.

I have to say that my no good, very bad day turned out one little blessing after another.  Today was the first day of my last semester of teaching here in this little school and I was reminded of just how lucky I am to be in this village and teach in this school.  Some days are hard, but then there are days like today, when I realize just how much I love being here.  I will miss my students, partners, school colleagues, and host family so very much when I leave here, so for now, I’m going to soak up every minute I have left and focus on all the blessings this adventure has brought me instead of all of the challenges.