Tuesday, August 10, 2010
A Site for Sore Eyes
I'm here! Arrived yesterday morning at 7 and was greeted at the train door (literally) by my ever-cheerful and industrious principal and my sweet and reliable counterpart Veronica. The trip this time only took 15 hours because we made a speedy switch at the intervening station. Five of us PCVs were together to this point and we had a mountain of luggage among us. So when we learned that 3 of us had to be on the next platform over, the smart (and strong) youngsters jumped down onto the tracks and made a hand-to-hand luggage brigade to convey the bags to the next platform without having to tackle the two sets of stairs and underpass. My (senior) job was to "guard" the luggage as it stacked up. It worked great, our train was on time, and we zipped away (well--as zippy as Romanian trains can muster) to cross through Transylvania and the Carpathian mountains on to our 3 different sites. I was in a sleeper car, but didn't sleep much and then when I arrived at my village and was left in my new home, I was too excited to sleep, so just got back on a regular schedule, waiting until 11 or so for bed time.***My apartment defies description, quite honestly. It's a large attic apartment (slanting ceilings and dormers everywhere) with lots of space and some really neat features. It also has no light fixtures--only wires with light bulbs--and no screens on the huge and numerous windows. It's been partially remodeled recently and isn't finished. I keep getting assurances that it will all be done soon. In the meantime, after a night of frequent encounters with the local little vampires, I've pulled out the official Peace Corps mosquito net and have asked for a hook so that I can hang it. A family of 4 occupies the first 2 floors--lovely folks who are making me squeeze out every Romanian word and phrase I can remember. But as to the apartment in the big red house on the outskirts of town, the only thing that keeps coming to mind is "teetering on the brink of elegance." Certainly it isn't the mud hut or hide-covered yurt I once imagined!**And speaking of speaking Romanian, I met with my tutor this morning. PC pays for on-going language training and I'm taking advantage of it. I will meet with Nicole once or twice a week. She seems pleasant and professional--just what I need. After our meeting I ventured to the magazine (small store) on the way home to buy some provisions. Realizing that I had not brought my shopping bag with me, I decided to buy a bucket, knowing I would surely need one. So there I was walking back to my red house along the main road, carrying my bucket overflowing with bread, water, fruit, cheese, and some wild flowers I picked along the way. Later, I repeated the process at the other magazine (there are 2 in town), this time carrying a red, plastic laundry tub filled with cleanser, toilet paper, oranges, peaches, pretzels, and a bottle of wine and walking down different streets, saying "Buna Ziua" to all the curious folks I encountered. I introduced myself to the clerks at both stores and explained in Romanian what I was doing in their village. Integration is key. Oh, yeah, they're getting to know me, alright.