Just as soon as my host dad had taken his last bite of dinner he was already out of his chair and walking to grab his laptop to go sit on the bed. This was the dialogue as he did so, and then showed off his computer knowledge:
“Tonight you’ll sleep with Irina,” said my host mom as I introduced my host dad to grooveshark, which is how we get Pandora to work over here in Moldova. I should have started this thread of blog posts on Saturday, when we began our first computer lesson. The first two lessons went pretty much like this:
Being 24 years-old puts a whole new perspective on life. I’m old enough now where my friend’s parents are now my friends, I have friends who are the parents of teenagers, and I have friends my age with their own kids (and, well, everything in-between). I hear stories of what I did as a kid and of what my friends did and instead of blushing with embarrassment, I laugh at the ridiculousness of it. My friends who are parents of teenagers talk to me about what their teenagers are doing (or not doing), and I see the first-hand struggles (and joys) of being a new parents. I love being 24 because I do get to see all of this, and it isn’t weird. It’s awesome. And while I wouldn’t consider myself wise by any means, sometimes I would like to get into the heads of some of the teenagers I know and tell them what they’re doing is stupid and they’re going to lose their friends and they’re going to hurt their parents and what they’re doing is taking them down the road but I am not their parent so it is not my place (and I think in this instance I might be too old to be their friend, too). But really, I’m not writing this post for that reason. I’m writing it from the perspective of a person who is in-between making those silly mistakes (I hope) and seeing what happens to the parent when the kid makes them.
There is a 9th grader at my school who cannot read in English, Romanian, or Russian. She sits quietly through all of her lessons and never causes any trouble so it seems like her inability to read has been overlooked every year. Today there were only a few students in her class so I made sure EVERYONE read out loud… her included (actually, I looked over the fact that she couldn’t read in any language… my goal was participation). I read two words as she followed the text with her finger and then she repeated them. Then there was a teacher’s meeting and at the very end it was briefly brought up that she can’t read, in which a few of the teachers did not know this. While I want to help her and I feel like I could, I don’t know what good it will do because the phonetics in English are very different from the sounds in Romanian and Russian. It breaks my heart that no one felt like they could take the initiative to help her learn to read. Yes, she’s 15. But that doesn’t mean she can’t start now, you know?
I didn’t even think he knew my name until today. The 62 year-old gym teacher at my school is a hoot and has invited me to his apartment (across from the school) for lunch or dinner countless times since I first arrived in Varatic, but I never really took him seriously. In all honesty I was a bit nervous to go there since he lives in an apartment by himself (his wife left him to make money for their children’s education, and his grown children both now live in Romania). Since the semester began I’ve been telling him I would visit on Easter vacation and I planned to take a friend with me as to not start rumors in the village or not give the wrong idea (trust me… it happens). But yesterday I was invited, once again, to join him for lunch because the daily holiday is celebrating 40 saints and the tradition says one must drink 40 Moldovan glasses – American shots- of wine. Apparently this was a true invite and I couldn’t refuse, as he went so far as to ask my partner teacher what I like to eat and what I don’t eat. By the second lesson I was hungry and looking forward to what he had prepared since I was told he can cook even better than some Moldovan women… and I can attest that this rumor is, in fact, true. The traditional meal he cooked was mamaliga, sheep cheese, and rabbit. Delicious.
If life were easy everybody could do it.