The celebrations for my 24th year of birth began by putting my alarm on sleep. Twice… due to a restless night. So when I finally rolled out of bed I went to go take a much-needed shower only to find out there still wasn’t water (we didn’t have it last night, either). But that ended up being a blessing in disguise because I realized I was not teaching the 3rd and 4th periods, but instead the second and third. But I still had to look frumos “beautiful” because it’s my birthday… so I straightened my hair, put on some make-up, then did a quick wet wipe wipe down and threw on a long dress and walked out the door… arriving just a couple of minutes late. Oops. I arrived at the classroom to my students singing me Happy Birthday and giving me roses (I’m going to miss that next year). So after my two lessons I left school and went to visit Maria. She gave me a book of photographs explaining the history of Moldova and the art of Moldova in Russian, Romanian (in cyrillic) and English. She said she wanted to give me something I’ll have forever… and that I will sure treasure for life. We then enjoyed chatting about boys, and laughing at how alike we are when it comes to emotions and feelings and what she looked for- and I look for- in a partner. Then her cat cuddled up to her and acted like he wanted to breastfeed. No, seriously. He did. It was hilarious… but I guess you had to be there.
Then I began my walk home in the extreme winds and off-and-on rain. I ran into a guy that refuses to believe I am an American because all Americans, he says, are black. And apparently I speak just like a Romanian, so I must be Romanian. After some time, though, I slowly began to make him realize that yes, we have black people in the States, but we also have tan, and white, and orange (haha fake bakers… haha I’m so not funny). Ok, great. He finally believed I am from the States. But I must be “mixed” because I’m definitely not white. Then, after criticizing me (he’s serious), he asked me if I would take him back to the States with me. Um, yea, no thank you. Once I had enough of that and because my arms were hurting due to holding them in a bent position for so long with the flowers and the book, I said I needed to head home.
About halfway there I got stopped again. This time it was by some of the locals hanging out at the bar. They invited me up to celebrate with them because they knew it was my birthday and also because it was the birthday of one of the guys. So they bought me a “Festival” (which is pretty much like wine cooler) because it is “light”, gave me some food, debated over whether or not Brazil is close to Kansas… and then I said it was time to go.
When I arrived home I went to put my flowers in a a make-shift vase (my Brita container) because I didn’t have anything larger, and when I went to add some water my host mom laughed and asked me where I came from with all of the flowers. When I told her I came from school she chuckled and asked why. I then told her it was because it was my birthday. She stopped running the tomatoes through the grinder and looked at me puzzled and then said, “But how. Your birthday is the 16th”. When I then laughed and told her that nope, it is in fact today, she sat there another minute and then said, “hai, bine” meaning “Ok, good” then she got back to work.
Oh what an interesting day so far.