Sunday, March 6, 2011
So Let the Sunshine In--Please!
It's been a difficult week. Many disappointments--projects taking unexpected detours, poor attendance in my adult class and in the English Club for my 8th grade students and cancellation of my Roma boys' session, a travel agent standing me up, an expired bank card, my brother canceling his trip to visit me (for good reasons, albeit), technology problems, and many of the little daily irritations that seem to accumulate into ball-and-chain hindrances. And to top it off, the weather was just awful--dreary gray and cold, fog or mist or snow in the mornings, mud and overcast skies in the afternoons. We've had so little sun here in the past few months. I've become fairly neurotic about my sun hunger. If there is a ray peeking through and I'm home, I'll grab my sunglasses and peel off as much as I can get away with without neighborhood scandal and sit on the end of my desk at the big window there. I pretend I'm a solar cell and imagine the light seeping into my bones where it will store. I wrote a poem about a fire eater this week, I read travel guides on Spain, and I taught my students two sunshine songs! Yes, I know it sounds desperate, but somehow singing about sunshine seemed to create the illusion. So I mugged, mimed, and otherwise entertained as I sang "Let the sunshine in, face it with a grin," and "You are my sunshine, my only sunshine." Interestingly, they had a difficult time saying "sunshine," which is surprising since the "sh" sound is so prevalent in their language. Anyway, they seemed to enjoy it and paid polite though clueless attention when I tried to explain Seasonal Affective Disorder. (Just get on with the singing, Doamna).****But as with most of my weeks here, this one was not without a few positives--we celebrated the Peace Corps' 50th Anniversary and Peace Corps Romania's 20th. Balloons, banners, M&Ms, and some short videos of Kennedy's original announcement were part of my lessons this week. It was good to hear the original goals again. And Tuesday, March 1st, was also Martisor--a celebration welcoming spring--on which day lovely little trinkets tied with red and white threads are given to girls and women. As with all Romanian holidays and tradtions, much lore and symbolism accompanies the custom--in particular, the woven red and white threads signify the joining of man, wisdom, winter (white) to woman, passion, spring (red) and the various flowers, spirals, icons, and figures (one is a chimney sweep!) have long-held importance in honoring spring. These "martisoare" are supposed to be worn every day from the first to the eighth when women are honored in Romania's version of Mothers' Day (Ziua Mamei), which is International Woman's Day in much of the world. I've heard it's a big deal here and noticed the flower shops stocking up. I'm curious to see how it's celebrated this Tuesday, but mostly I'm just hoping for sunny weather, which, like spring, is promised.