Phew! I finally made it through training! It has been awhile since I last wrote a post on our blog. Training pretty much took up all of my waking hours, and if by chance I managed to have a few spare moments, I usually just zoned out, or took a nap.
Training was a pretty intense time for me. Really long days filled with Romanian language classes in the morning, Health Education classes in the afternoon and homework in the afternoon. Homework could really vary… I would always do my Romanian HW with my host mom, but for Health Education HW, I was usually preparing a mock lesson plan. We often worked in pairs, which meant meeting up in the evenings, and often required the Internet, which my host family didn’t have, so I would go to a local Internet Cafe. Needless to say, my days were pretty packed.
Brian and I still managed to see each other on Saturday after class, through at least Sunday afternoon. We mostly managed to keep that time free from class work, so we could just have down time and hang out together.
The final two weeks of my training time was “Practice School”. For each week, we worked with our future partners from our sites to create and teach three lessons together. We were teaching actual kids from our town, who were invited to come. While we had heard that this experience tends to be very stressful, I actually found it to be a bit of a lighter time.
My partner for the first week was Ana and we got along really well. We both felt like we worked well together in the classroom, and as the week progressed, and I started to feel more comfortable in the classroom, I started to take on parts of the lesson which required more interaction with the students. This was definitely nerve-wracking at the beginning, as this is all taking place in Romanian, but I felt more confident with more practice.
My partner for the second week was not able to come, so Ana graciously agreed to come back for part of the second week. That made things super simple for me, since we have already gotten a rhythm of working together. She was not able to stay for all three lessons that week, so I ended up teaching with one of the Moldovan mentor teachers who was there to help out. She was great and we really enjoyed teaching together.
The Practice School was good, because it gave me a chance to see what it is like in a classroom with Moldovan students. I know that things will certainly be different at my school, with bigger classes and not all the students excited about being there, but it was a worthwhile experience nonetheless.
So, now that Brian has been out at our site by himself for the past two weeks, it is finally time for me to join him. It will be nice to finally be able to live together again, instead of just having the weekend visits.
I am looking forward to getting to know Nisporeni and getting back into an exercise routine. Brian has already scouted out some nice walking routes, and I am ready to get off my butt and burn off some calories!
I had my swearing in ceremony on Wednesday, August 12th. Since I had already been to Brian’s ceremony, there weren’t any surprises… Still the same sweltering hot room, still all the local media there with lots of cameras.
I was lucky to have my fellow trainees in the Health Education program, elect me to give a speech on the group’s behalf at the swearing in ceremony. It was pretty nerve-wracking, as my Romanian teacher “corrected” my speech to be at a pretty advanced level. A lot of bigger words I hadn’t come across before. Luckily it all went well, and I didn’t make any major blunders.
I was happy that my host mom, Elena, from training was able to come to the swearing ceremony and see me give my speech. She was a big help to me during training, so I was glad that she was able to see me speaking Romanian in front of a large crowd. She brought flowers for me after the speech which was really sweet.
After the ceremony, we got all of my luggage loaded into the car of our new host family in Nisporeni and headed out to our new home. Yeah!
So far, we have had some time to walk around town, spend time with our new host family, unpack my stuff and just relax. We’re looking forward to getting our bearings in our new place. We’ll write more soon to give you a better picture of Nisporeni and our new host family.