Greetings from Stăuceni!

So I’m back with my first host family for an additional two weeks of language and technical training.  And man have I missed them!

My 5-year-old brother, Damian, is a riot.  He marches around the house talking a million miles a minute.  One minute he’s jumping off the couch pretending to be a ninja, then the other he’s pretending to be a waiter and asking me what I want for the next meal.  And he says some hilarious things.  The other night at dinner he looked in the cookie cabinet and found it was empty.  He puffs out his chest, marches straight up to his dad and says “What’s wrong with you?!  We don’t have anything!”  He also says some great things in English.  Aside from his “COME TO EEEEEEEAT!” that he used to tell me dinner is ready, he now also says “Come to eat, baby,” and “How are you, baby?”  I get a kick out of it.

In the two months we’ve been gone from Stăuceni, they’ve opened a supermarket and a café with Wifi down the street from where I live, which is fantastic because it gives us volunteers a place to hang out and use the internet.  They have a great outdoor terrace, and the staff already know us well there.

Some things I’m loving:

I definitely understand so much more of what happens around my house.  It’s great to be able to tell that your language/understanding has improved, and I’m pretty stoked about it.  Seeing progress can be a great motivator to continue to work at the language.

I learned to make placinta (cheese pie) with my host mom.  Then we ate it fresh for lunch, and it was DELICIOUS.

Loving being with my first host family again.  I visited them for a few short days in the end of August to celebrate my host sister’s 20th birthday, so this is my second time back, and they’ve really become my home away from home.  I love chatting with my host sisters, helping out with English lessons, learning how to make new meals, and playing Uno with everyone.

Being back at training is nice because I feel like it’s given me a chance to focus more on visionary thinking.  What research can I be initiating with my organization and at site?  Are there opportunities for projects that I’ve been missing?  At site, my focus is usually on day-to-day operations, observing at work, doing any tasks we can complete without full understanding of Romanian, and I think it becomes harder to set aside time to creatively brainstorm.  So I’m looking forward to returning energized and with new ideas.

I also started making winter vacation plans with my friend Andrea.  Right now we’re thinking Berlin/Amsterdam/Belgium over Christmas, and I’m starting to get pretty excited about it.  It makes missing home easier. =)