So, we finished up our first full week of training on Saturday! Yeah! Training can be pretty exhausting, since our days are pretty long.
Brian and I have different training schedules, but here is a typical day for me…
* Wake up at 7:00.
* Wash up, stretch for a few minutes.
* Have breakfast with my host mom. Breakfast can vary from oatmeal to potatoes to porridge, but it is always accompanied with a cup of very strong coffee.
* Get dressed and do my hair.
* Leave to walk to school between 8:00 and 8:15. I live just a short five minute walk to class. It is nice to arrive a bit early to socialize with the other trainees.
* Romanian classes from 8:30 until 12:30. I am currently in a class with three other students. This has been great, because we are all at a similar level and are able to pick up new topics at a similar pace.
* Walk home and eat lunch with my host mom. Lunch always consists of soup. Regardless of how hot or humid the weather, we always have a bowl of hot soup.
* Usually I head right back to school to work with my presentation partner, but if I’m lucky, I can lay down and rest for thirty minutes before heading to school.
* Afternoon Health Education session from 2:00 until 6:00. These sessions are taught by current volunteers, so it is nice to meet them and to hear about their experiences.
* Walk home and help my host mom prepare dinner. My addition to dinner is always the salad. We use mostly the fresh vegetables from the garden, so it is extra delicious. The other part of dinner can vary widely, from meat patties to buckwheat, to scrambled eggs, to fried potatoes.
* Eat, then help clean up.
* Work with my host mom on my Romanian homework and then do my Health Education homework. Working with my host mom on my homework has become a nice routine for us. She always asks if I have homework for her to help me with. She is good at correcting my Romanian, and often she laughs at how long of a sentence I try to write. She says I am trying to write a referendum!
* Take a shower around 9:00. Gas and water are pretty expensive in Moldova, so showers are a very quick thing here. When I want to take a shower, I let my host mom know and she starts up the water heater. Then I take a quick shower – military style – only turning on the water to rinse myself off. When I’m done, I let my host mom know so she can turn off the water heater.
* Usually talk with Brian for a bit on the phone. Something new this time around with Peace Corps… They gave us all smart phones! It is nice that we can keep in contact during these few months of training when we are living in different towns.
* Try to get to bed around 10:00 or 10:30.
Learning a new language and being immersed in it can be quite tiring each day. My brain is constantly working hard to put the correct words together in the right order, and to understand the words being spoken to me. There is no chance of my mind going into “autopilot” at this point. By the time to put my head down in the pillow, I fall asleep within a matter of minutes.
Romanian learning has been going for really well. Our teachers are moving us through new topics pretty quickly, so it is important that we get a chance to practice in the evenings with our host families. I wish we had more time to be able to organize our notes and practice specific new grammar rules we learn, but I understand that we also need to devote a lot of time to health education training. Since we will be teaching in Romanian, there is a sense of urgency to learning the language.
I try to make sure that I don’t feel rushed at mealtimes, because it is a good time for me to practice my Romanian. My host mom is really great about talking with me and asking questions, so I get more practice. Our conversations can often be pretty random, since we don’t always have much new to talk about but we still want to have me practicing the language.