Thursday, July 8, 2010


It has been some time since I last posted and that is partly due to how quite it has been at site in the past few months. School is out and I am spending my time studying for the GRE and continuing an English Club started by my site mates. I am now site mate less having said good bye to my last two site mates last week. It is odd being the only one left in a town that has had so many PCV's for so long. I have been in Romania for all most 13 months now with 12 to go until I return to the USA. It was strange seeing my site mates go off and making me think about what it will be like to return to Arizona next year. I know time will fly especially when school starts again and next July will be here before I know it. This past year has flown by and from what I have heard the second year goes by even faster. I know few things for certain but what I do know is simple. First it will be a long trip home around 17 hours in the air and who knows how long waiting in airports and that does not take into account the 12 hours it takes to get to HQ and the time spent there. Kendra will be very mad at me since she will spend a great deal of time in a cage and then be exposed to strange people, loud noises, dogs and the over sized cement oven that is central AZ in July. I also know that it will be hard to return to a world that has become alien.
For now however I must focus on the present. I have to get through the rest of the summer, MST, health checks, meeting my parents in Wales, and the dreaded GRE.
A note about the weather, I have seen the sun only a few times this summer and it keeps raining. I don't remember it being like this last summer and despite beliefs that say other wise the sun does shine in Eastern Europe it just has not lately.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

a year ago today

I arrived in Romania a year ago today and what a year it has been. The one thing that I have learned it that no matter what Peace Corps country you are in there are always going to be challenges. I may not be in the middle of Africa or on some island in the middle of the ocean but I am no less isolated. My site mates will be gone and though the nearest American is only about 4 hours away it is too difficult to get there. Yes I have many of the amenities I had in the US but I still have to make all my own food, I have to light my stove and oven by hand. Despite to physically being in the middle of nowhere I am still in the middle of nowhere.

In the last year I have gone through so much and it all seems to have happened so fast and yet moments I thought things would never end. I have dealt with crazed students; compete technology break downs and countless other problems. I don’t think anyone could ever expect what it is like to live in a world not your own. The loss of language and culture is nothing that can be prepared for. I thought that I could manage just fine out here all alone. I guess you never know how you will react to a situation until you are in it.

I have learned more than I ever thought I could here. Kids are kids no matter what country you’re in and life does not stop just because you’re a world away from everything you know. This is an endurance test like nothing found in the world. In Romania the hardest thing is not being able to see the difference you are making and accepting that you can only measure your success by how your work changes you. A year ago I was a different person and a year from now I will be a different person then I am now. No matter the hardships and the time when I wish I could just go home I will never regret my life here. I am livng in the middle of nowhere and in 13 months I will return to a world I no longer understand.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Nearly a year

It has been almost a full year since I left my home and family in AZ and came half way around the world to Romania. It has been far from easy and nothing like what I expected. I have had to deal with computer break downs, site visit disasters, change of sites, two kindle break downs, a laptop melt down, countless arguments with both DHL and UPS and countless other problems. Yet this evening as I said good bye to one of my site mates Rob who started a year before me I realized I will be just as sad to leave. I have wanted to go home so many times and yet I know that going home is going to be like Alice through the looking glass. Nothing in my old world will make sense anymore and most of my family and friends will not be able to grasp that.
So despite the countless disasters I am still here and I hope that this time next year I will still be here. The saying goes Nothing worth doing is easy and Peace Corps is no exception. Once you are a Peace Corps Volunteer you will always be a Peace Corps Volunteer, it is a life time commitment.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

after thoughts

It has been nearly a year since I jumped off a proverbial cliff and left home to start on my was to be a Peace Corps Volunteer. I thought that taking that step would be the hardest thing I would ever have to do. I look back and realize that taking that step was like jumping off a cliff, however at the bottom of that cliff was a mountain. I stood at the bottom of that mountain with two choices. The first to turn around and go back and the other to climb that mountain. For the past nearly 12 months everyday I have had to make the choice to go back or to keep climbing that mountain. That is the big lesson every Peace Corps Volunteer learns, getting in is the easy part it is choosing to stay in that is hard.
thousands of miles form everything you know and from everyone you know. In a place where simple problems are not so simple anymore. You have to remember that you never know how you are going to react to a situation until you are in it. Some of us find that we can't take it and we have to turn back, others find that despite the hardship something in us will not let us give up.
Me I have been through so much in the past 12 months from the site visit from hell and the changing of sites to mass electronic failure that resulted in a new computer and more problems. However no mater how many times I thought that this was going to be the end, that I just was going to give up and go home I stayed. Something in me kept telling me no you are not giving up on this not because of this. So here I am still climbing that mountain not yet ready to take the easy way out.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Teaching in Romania

To be a TEFL volunteer in Romania I think is one of the hardest posts to be in in the Peace Corps. Unlike many other countries where the underdevelopment is clearly seen, here in Romania you are dealing with cell phones and the modern world around you. It seems like I am teaching to walls most days and wonder often if I am making any impact at all on these kids. I ask myself, do these kids really need me here and am I doing them any good my standing up here trying to teach them in another language how to speak this language. I am in what looks like civilization even if it is still trying to become fully modernized it is still civilization. Yet they seem to want us here though I suspect that by 2014 Peace Corps in Romania will be a thing of the past. We have done our best to help put Romania on the course of modern development now they must take what we and others have given them and do it themselves,

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The end of computer problems sort of

Well I got the new computer but when my external cd rom drive I called on a Romanian friend for help. She sent me to a friend of her brothers who when he could not get the thing to work took of my official windows and but some unofficial one on there. This did not solve the problem and in fact caused more problems. In the end I had to go to the computer teacher at school to repair some of the damage done to the computer. Now to top it off my Kindle broke and has to be replaced a second time and my old IPod would not work with the new computer so I had to get a new one.
The moral of the story: For PCV’s living in third world European countries like Romania it is better to trust the electronics people where you work. Why because at least in Romania most people do not understand that having a pirated form of a computer software is illegal in most countries but that it is wrong to steel. Unfortunately among the common people of Romania this idea has not caught on. This is in part because some laws are not enforced. I suspect this enforcement will come with time.
The other moral to this story is: When in foreign counties where you plan to stay for long periods of time, be very careful with your electronics. As for me I have gotten everything working to the extent that it will work. I have just under 14 months before I will return to the USA and school ends in a few weeks.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


It is late April and my computer problems continue. I have ordered a new laptop and it was supposed to be here today but it never showed up. I have been in contact with my counterpart who will get in touch with the company in the morning. This is just one of many storms I have had to weather since putting in my Peace Corps Application back in early 2008. It is hard to believe that it has been that long since I started all this and what a journey it has been. It starts with a long detailed application and moves into a long detailed application process. The security clearances, the medical clearances’ and the placement all take a lot of time, patients and paperwork. Then comes the placement and the preparation to leave your life behind for two years and three months. The paperwork the packing the saying good bye. The comes trainings part 1 also known as staging, or an introduction to the people you will spend up to 3 months training with and learning general things about Peace Corps. Then off you go to your home for the next 27 months. Training is a whole different world and a challenger in its self. Once this is done off you go to start the real work. This means trying to adjust to your community and then getting them to trust you. Your first year is full of mass disasters and false starts. It is a time of learning and preparation for the second year where you try and truly push forward. I am a Peace Corps Volunteer and in about one month I will have been in country for 12 months. It has been a year like nothing else. To be a Peace Corps Volunteer no mater what country you are in, be it the middle of nowhere in Africa or the Pacific or in a city is to weather storms like few ever see and to come out the other side. Me I take each day as it comes, the good, the bad and the "I am going to throw that kid out the window" days. Now I wait for a new laptop and thank the powers for sitemats no mater how long I have them.