Monday, December 13, 2010
Finding Christmas In Romania
Our IST (In Service Training) in Sibiu was a kind of week-long echo of our summer training: language classes, cultural sessions, and much information and urging about community projects. It was great seeing fellow PCVs I haven't seen since August though we had less time to visit than I had hoped we'd have.****I think our "settling in" time has ended now and besides our teaching, we must concentrate on other aspects of our community's needs. It's a bit daunting--figuring out the need, the process, the means. I'm lucky to have unflagging support at my school/community and forward-thinking people with lots of ideas. I know it's not so everywhere.****So the Christmas season is upon us. Pigs are being slaughtered all over Romania with family members helping butcher and prepare the meat in sausages or hams for smoking or freezing. It's a tradition that occurs sometime after Saint Nicholas Day on December 6 (which begins the season) and Christmas. I was feeling a bit left out of the gifting of St. Nick's Day when my landlady dashed down the stairs and presented me with a lovely wool felt hat as I was waiting in the foyer for the taxi to the city and then the bus to Sibiu. And Sibiu with its lovely decorated square and with the snow that has fallen in the past week, I'm starting to put some jolly in my jingle. Oradea has a coating, too, and today for the first time I had to walk my 4K in snow and slush and with flurries flurrying. I was relieved to find that my pricey Geox boots do indeed stay 100% dry inside and have fine traction. (Thanks to Joe R for the recommendation via his wife Diane.) I came home and strung up some lights in a window, put on some holiday music, and started a big pot of soup.****I have to say though that what really hit me full-force in terms of "the spirit" and what surprised me in my reaction was today's rehearsal for the community program this Friday. I lost it, quite frankly, when I heard the sweet voices of those Romanian children singing "White Christmas." I had to excuse myself to my office momentarily where the documentarian followed me, gave me a big hug, and told me to be strong. It was such a Romanian gesture. I laughed and wiped my eyes and returned for a rousing "Jingle Bells" where I made the children do the sub-text "Ha, ha, ha" after "laughing all the way." I had bought a pretty red wooden, jingle bell "rattle" in Sibiu with the idea that it would be perfect for the percussion and it was/is! The program at the community center will consist of a dance number (we have quite a talented troupe and a creative media specialist who choreographs) where worldly souls are visited by angels who set them straight, carols and songs in both English and Romanian, and Christmas poems in both languages. Apparently we'll have a visit by Santa Claus (the mayor, I think). And my husband will arrive on Thursday and be here for the program. His visit is anticipated by the village, too. Perhaps I should insist he wear a Santa hat and laugh alot. :-) Joy to the world--all over--in whatever land you're reading this. This season of love and peace has meaning for us all.