Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Finally a Volunteer!

Has much happened since over a month ago? Maybe. Not only had I since found out where I would be going for over two years, but I also visited said place, met with my counterpart who I will be working with for the next two years, finished with my training for the Peace Corps, been sworn in as a Peace Corps volunteer by Ambassador Gittenstein at his residence in Bucharest, and now moved into my apartment at site. Sound like a lot of stuff happened? Yeah, a lot did. But did it seem like much as the final month flew by, heck no.

So yes, I finally have a place where I will be for the next two years. I will be living in the southwest of Județul Brașov right at the base of the Fagaraș Mountains. I will be teaching 5-12th grades (minus 10th, don't know why) so I think I'll have a pretty diverse load of teaching which will only make me better I feel. My apartment is pretty nice with pretty much everything I would need for the next two years, except for two things which one is trivial but to me the other is more important. So I'll be hand washing my clothes for the next two years since I don't have a washing machine, but mă rog (whatever). The one thing I do not have which I wish I did, is an oven/stove. Who has two thumbs and will be cooking on a hot plate and using a microwave for the next 2 years? This guy! I'm thinking I might buy an electric grill at one of the local stores so I can at least have that so I can have some variety in my diet.

I also finally got my guitar. I had to wait a while until we were able to leave Târgoviște so I could actually buy a guitar someplace since there was a time restriction where we could leave the training site. After I got it, I had to laugh when one of my friends during a language class said, "Has anyone else noticed that as soon as he got his guitar, his Romanian has gotten better?"

The day before we had our swearing in I took my host family out to Toscany which is a pretty good restaurant in Târgoviște as a way of saying thank you for the past 11 weeks. The next morning we boarded the bus to Bucarești on the way to the ambassador's residence. We had the swear in ceremony, which the oath is the same as the military, kind of weird for the PEACE corps, but hey, why not?


The next day I was off to site. Along with a few other volunteers, we took the bus to Brașov which was an adventure in itself. The night before around Sinaia there had been torrential rains which caused landslides along the road. The river which flows along the ride which normally has a trickle of water on a good day was in full blown rapids mode. We also went past the town which was used in Borat to represent Kazakhstan. It's a small town which is mainly populated by Rroma people which is one of the more poor areas in the country. When I first heard about the town suing him back in the day, I didn't really have an opinion, but now I certainly do. I honestly do believe that he exploited the way in which they live for his own comedic gains. They succeeded in suing him which because of that they have paved roads and a few services available to them now. I did not want to watch that movie before coming here because I knew in terms of how E. Europe was portrayed would only make me angry and now after passing through that town there's no way I can have any respect for what he did there.

Anywho, things have finally gotten real. I've done my first grocery shopping along with a trip to the piața (market) to buy some fresh vegetables. I also met some of my students who live in the same block as me. Now comes the fun part where I have to start doing some paper work for the Peace Corps in terms of safety and security. I need to finish un packing a little bit as well as needing to do some laundry. Tomorrow I should finally get internet, at least I'll be telling the company I want it, so hopefully I'll be back online soon.

*From the time I wrote this to when I finally got an internet connection was 2 weeks. So I guess in terms of cross-culture, Romanian cable and internet companies work faster than the US.