Photo a Day: Days 15-21

The third week of the project!

Day 15: Our dog, Rochie, waits to be let in after an adventure on our road.

Day 16: Perhaps breaking the rules a bit, but a video instead of a photo for this day: National Army Day celebrations in front of Stefan cel Mare in Chisinau.

Day 17: The sun sets over my neighbor’s house.
Day 18: Grapes in our courtyard.
Day 19: Rochie, our dog, waits for a bite of some of my bread.
Day 20: Even after a week and some wilting, the flowers my students gave me on the first day of school are still beautiful!
Day 21: My host mom’s garden is always full of beautiful flowers. I think she told me these ones are asters.

Photo a Day: Days 8-14

So, I have to be honest.  The second week of my project of taking a photo a day, I didn’t take a single photo.  I started off the week super sick, then had a conference, and really don’t have an excuse for the rest of the week.  Thankfully, the following week, I picked back up!  So these are really from week three, but we’re just going to pretend that week didn’t count and this is week two.

Day 8: A beautiful day in Chisinau.
Day 9: Another beautiful day in Chisinau. We could see this church from the balcony of the apartment we were staying in.
Day 10: Some of my students performed at a celebration for Language Day and Independence Day in my village.
Day 11: My sister played with my host niece, Valerica.
Day 12: We took a long walk through fields in our village. The weather was perfect!
Day 13: It was a holiday, so we spent a relaxing morning at a winery near my village, eating delicious crepes with fresh grape jam.
Day 14: The first day of school was rung in as a ninth grade boy carried a first grade girl, who was ringing the bell to mark the first day of school.

Language Day

Some of my students make cotton candy

Each year, Moldova celebrates two major holidays during the last week of August.  Independence Day is celebrated on August 27th, and Language Day, a celebration of the Romanian language, is celebrated on August 31st.  Last year, I attended Independence Day celebrations in Chisinau, but this year I celebrated the two holidays in my village, along with my sister who was visiting from the USA.

This year, my village did a large, combined celebration for both holidays held on the 28th.  There was a ceremony to dedicate a new plaque on the side of our casa de cultura (literally, cultural house, but more like a community center), a large masă (celebration with food and wine), various singing and dancing performances, and competitions.  The students from the music and dance school in our village performed a routine I hadn’t seen before.

One of the baking competition winners receiving her diploma

For the first time, our village had a competition of the best cow in the village as well as the best homemade brînză (sheep, goat, or cow cheese made at home), smântână (sour cream), unt (butter), frişcă (cream), various cakes and other pastries, and pâine (bread).

Pole Climbing Competition Winner

After the singing and dancing had concluded, the boys and men in the village participated in sports competitions.  Younger boys competed to climb to the top of a tall metal pole (that we estimated to be about 50 feet tall, at least) the fastest, men and older boys competed in a volleyball game, and boys of all ages competed in a wrestling match.  The winner of the pole climbing competition, Vadim, won a live rooster, while the winner of the wrestling match won a live sheep.

Amir (my new site mate), me, my students, and my school director. (Photo Credit: Heather Ogden)

It was a lot of fun and a cool celebration of Moldovan traditions and customs.  I was really glad my sister was able to go with me and get a taste of a Moldovan holiday and celebration.

Thanks to my sister, Heather, for a few of the photos featured here!

Photo a Day: Days 1-7

I have a goal of doing a picture a day for the next 100 days.  Here’s week one!

Day 1: Went back-to-school shopping for some new notebooks and some thread (okay, maybe that’s not for school…).
Day 2: Enjoyed a beautiful morning while eating my breakfast outside.
Day 3: My host nieces enjoyed playing in the mud on a rainy day! They were pretty covered in mud!
Day 4: A visit to the director’s office at school.
Day 5: Pretty roses in my host mom’s garden.
Day 6: We found this kitten and helped it warm up and gave it some food.
Day 7: I prepared for a bulletin board about the USA for our school hallway.

Summer is Coming to an End

Outside the town library one day after English Club

We’re approaching the end of summer here in Moldova.  Next week, along with all of my fellow M31 volunteers, I have my mid-service conference (we’re past the mid-way point of our service!).  Next Friday, my sister is arriving for a week-long visit in Moldova, and the following Friday is our first day of school!

The weather has continued to be sweltering hot, but today is significantly cooler!  It looks like the rest of the week will be close to or below 90 degrees Fahrenheit, which is welcome after several weeks of 95 degree plus weather (including one day that reached 104 degrees!).  Today is a rainy, cool day and it feels a bit like fall.  I even wore a jacket on my way to my school this morning!

Yesterday was a beautiful clear day and I enjoyed a nice breakfast outside.

As school approaches, our grant project at the school is in full swing.  The walls and ceiling are in the process of being refinished and painted (they are plaster) and the floors are getting painted this week as well.  Then the furniture will go in, hopefully this week or next, and we can get our new technology installed and new and old books on the shelves!  I’m very excited to see it all come together!  I was a little worried it wouldn’t be completed before September 1st, but it looks like it might make it!

Behind those piles of dirt are 4-foot deep trenches for piping!

At the same time as the school library renovations are happening, there is also a bunch of other construction going on at my school.  My school was awarded a large grant (I wasn’t involved in this one) to get indoor toilets.  This is quite the project, as huge trenches have to be dug outside to put in pipes for water and waste, and a sewage system has to be installed, plus the actual bathrooms have to be built and outfitted.  Currently, it’s a maze to get into the school building due to all the trenches out front and to the sides.  The school has been working towards this project for a long time though, so I’m excited it’s happening!

I have two more weeks left of summer vacation, but I know they will fly by.  Between grant purchases and installation, summer English clubs, our mid-service conference, and my sister’s visit, I’ll be plenty busy!