Thursday, May 27, 2010

Training begins (May 24-25)

So yesterday was the day in which we began our training as Peace Corps trainees. We're still considered trainees until our swearing in ceremony in August where we will become volunteers. We started the day with many of the same types of meetings in which we have had for nearly the whole week of "Welcome to the Peace Corps" types of things. Seems overly redundant at times, but there is some new information being presented at each so it has its use.

Where we learn Romanian and such

During lunch, some of us decided to play some football (and by football I mean what football is to the rest of the world, not American football) and eventually we began to play a scrimmage with some local children who were also playing in the same yard as us. I can only hope that all days are like this when it comes to my service in the Peace Corps. There is something extremely universal about football which we all can share. I have to agree with Scott, a fellow trainee, that you can bring a football anywhere and people will be able to play and will be enthusiastic about it. It truly is a global sport and I have had my first connections in both Peru and now in Romania through playing.

Once this day's meetings ended, I returned to my host family and after eating dinner I passed out. I think my "first day of school" exhausted me. But around 10pm or so I was very pleased to be greeted by Denisa with a nighttime snack. It was basically French Toast but instead of cinnamon and vanilla it was made with sugar and salt. Served with a little bit of powdered sugar on top, it had to be one of the tastiest things I have had in a while.

Today was our first official language lesson. It seemed somewhat daunting at first but it came quite easily as time went on. We were learning the basics of how to introduce yourself, where you are from, and what your job is. We also began to learn the number system all the way to 100 and how to tell time. Also I was given my first homework assignment. I don't think I had even had an assignment like this is college so this is stretching back to my high school days in terms of what the assignments was like.

In the afternoon we had a presentation from an economic and political officer of the US Embassy in Romania. It was interesting to say the least. While I may not have agreed with everything that was said in terms of why Romania's economy is like it is or how it should be resolved, it was good to hear a different perspective. I also had my first meeting with the program managers who will oversee my work in the Peace Corps as well as place me where I will be most effective.

At the end of the day, we were able to talk about our initial thoughts of being in Romania. My only concerns were the ways in which Romanians have come to know American culture, which in my own observations comes from MTV. So thanks major media outlets for adding to the misinformation of what America is really about. And like I said last time, I would say something on my thoughts through these last two days.

"There is nothing greater in the world than seeing a child smile. Being able to have any part in that only gives your life meaning as we move day to day."

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