Friday, March 10, 2006

School Day in Mereseni

We slept in the big house in the room next to Peter's. It was quite warm and we were relatively comfortable although their idea of a double bed is not quite the same as ours. It was a sort of divan that when Ann got up to go to the loo in the middle of the night, Charlie was then off balance and fell to the floor. Good for some comic relief.

We started the day at the school with a visit with the director and adjunct director We then went to the faculty lounge; everyone came and we were introduced to them all. They too love Peter, they think he has adapted to Moldovan life very well. We presented the school with some soccer and basketballs we had brought and of course pictures were taken.

As we walked through the hallway, we were greeted with many smiles and "good mornings." The best of the day was Ryan (in the back right corner in this picture) and this interchange: "Hello Mr. Myers... What's up?"

After a brief visit to the home economics room, we arrived at Peter's class. The kids in Peter's classes were like kids anywhere. There were the top kids who were interested in the novelty of having us there, the medium kids who thought it was fine and then there were the few who didn’t really care. They worked hard on the questions for us and I think my favorite was when Charlie was asked if he loved his wife! Discussing age is done openly there and we were asked by each class how old we are, were we proud of Peter and they were looking for some childhood stories of Peter but we couldn't come up with any that would be easy to explain. Ann read some Dr. Seuss to the sixth graders and they enjoyed the silliness they could understand.

There were many other questions that they asked. Below is a small sample:

  • What is your impression of Moldova (cold, good food, friendly people (especially in villages instead of Chisinau, but we didn't say that)
  • Did you hit Peter as a child? No, not often. We did, however, klunk his and his sisters head together once
  • Do you like Moldovan wine (yes, but most places (incl. US) people do not make their own wine)
  • Mrs. Myers... do you like to cook? do you like shopping?
  • Do you like to travel? (yes, we travel around the world). I made a point to reinforce Peter's "and they speak English in most of these places."
  • How many children in your family, and where is your family from? (we explained where all we have lived in the United States, and that we are now about 11000 kilometers away from home in California. Also, our roots are all in Europe - England, France, Germany, Poland, and Dalmatia (now Croatia).
  • Who is your favorite actor?
  • What is your favorite book? (my answer was Brothers Karamazov, which I think surprised a few kids)
  • What is your favorite kind of music? Ann: Classical and pop, Charles: Rock and Roll (which is where Peter got it)
  • We asked one class where they would want to go in the US. The common answers were California, Los Angeles, New York, but one was firm on Miami Beach, because a previous volunteer had mentioned it many times
  • What is the weather like at home? We explained that it was warm (high around 20C), and that the fruit trees had started to bloom two weeks ago (that seemed to be the easiest to relate to). We also said that the weather was about the same in Moldova as in Illinois, Michigan, or New York.
  • How many tools do you have?
  • How many cars and what types do you have?

The school is clean and the kids seem happy to be there. Peter has great rapport with the students and they really want to please him, for the most part. Ann would have loved to see the kindergarten and first grade rooms to compare but since we only went one day that didn't happen.


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