Tag Archives: Romanian

Teaching English

It was Alana and I at the Kindergarten last week, and Carley and I this week. I don’t know why they call it a Kindergarten. It’s more like an awesome rockin’ daycare. We teach 4 different classes…a class of 5 year olds, a class of 3-year olds, and 2 classes of 4-year olds. 

Teaching English to Romanian 3-year-olds…
Alana: What color is your shirt?
Adorable little girl: [pause] APPLE!
Alana and me: Purple! Say purple.
Class of adorable 3-year-olds: PURPLE!

After one of the 4 year old classes, a boy came up to Alana and said “Teacher, nu inteleg se spune a colo.” That means “Teacher, I don’t understand what you were saying there.” DUDE, I FEEL FOR YOU. That’s how I feel every day in Romania!

In one of the 4-year old classes, we were reading a book on the iPad about colors. Each page was about a different color, and we had the kids stand up if they were wearing that color. On the purple page, some kids stood up and showed us their purple. One girl was wearing a dress, tights, and shoes…but no purple. We asked where her purple is, and she pulled her dress up to her chin and revealed a white shirt underneath, with purple polka dots, as she yelled “MOV! MOV!” which means “PURPLE! PURPLE!” So we had her put her dress down and then said “Repetaţ purple” and she said “purple!” It was quite hilarious.

In one of the 4 year old classes [hold up picture of a yellow star]
Alana: What shape is this?
Girl: TWINKLE!!
Alana: Star! Spune star! (say star)
All the kids: STAR!

Singing “Old McDonald Has A Farm” in the 3-year old class
[we held up a cow]
Girl: MOOOO!!!!
Me: Cow!
Everyone: E-I-E-I-O!

So much fun!

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One Week of Learning

Bună ziua (hello)! I’ve been in Romania for almost a week now, and here is a bit of what I’ve learned so far:

1. Streets don’t need names displayed.

You can just use landmarks. We were walking on the streets in Iasi with our Romanian friend, we’ll call her Mary, and she was showing us how to get somewhere. She said something like “when you get to this street, you turn left.” I asked her what the name of the street was and she said “I don’t know, you just turn left here at this building.” Then I noticed that there were no street signs, so I asked her about them. She said “It’s not like there in America with fancy street names you can read. Sometimes you will see a street name on a building, but you don’t need them.” And she was right! It’s been a week and we’ve figured out how to go many places, just by using landmarks.

2. Trams don’t need flashing lights.

Just be aware! Right outside my window there is a big traffic circle, with tracks running right through it. When a tram comes, it just comes and cars have to notice it. And they do! I haven’t seen an accident yet! And when you are walking, you walk right across them, and if you see a tram coming, you just have to stop. Even kids know this – I saw two young girls walking around, and they looked, stopped, and waited for the tram to pass before they crossed. Yes, they were standing very close to it, but still. No flashing lights to warn them, they just knew. We just need to be observant. I think that’s how it should be.

Iasi Tram

3. Make linguistic mistakes.

I told my Romanian neighbor and friend, Bianca, that we had onions and pepper for dinner…not what I meant to say. I couldn’t figure out why she was laughing, until she was able to collect herself and explain it to me….boy, that would’ve been disgusting! It took me less than 24 hours to make my first real Romanian linguistic mistake…it took me about a year in ASL. Romanian is hard!

4. ASL is not a substitute for Romanian.

I am struggling to learn Romanian, even though I am practicing every day. When I am out and about, I find myself using ASL (American Sign Language) when I don’t know the Romanian word for something…not my best tactic, I know. It turns out alright, though…I start with English, then pause as I try to think of the Romanian word. During that pause, I use ASL, and when I see that it’s going nowhere, I use gestures, which seems to work itself out. I just really need to learn Romanian….fast!

5. Skittles taste better in Romania. And so does chocolate.

My friend Emily said that the US probably has some FDA regulation about candy tasting too good. I might have to agree. I mean, why does European chocolate ALWAYS taste better than American? It’s just not fair. At least I can enjoy it while I’m here. And the Skittles…I don’t know how to describe it, but let’s just say they have a more intense flavor. 

6. American music is popular worldwide.

I didn’t realize how far American music travels! At the mall on our first day, we heard songs from Taylor Swift, Kelly Clarkson, Carly Rae Jepsen, and people I don’t even know, but I know the songs. Oh, and most of the songs aren’t censored. Also, at the orphanage we are volunteering at, they have the radio on. The DJs are talking in Romanian, but playing American songs in English. I was pretty excited when Return to Innocence by Enigma came on, that’s for sure!

7. Not everything needs to be told.

Some people asked me to update my blog all the time about everything I do. First of all, ain’t nobody got time for that. Second thing, you don’t have time to read that. Third, I want to keep some of these experiences between me, the other people who are here with me, and my journal. Not everything needs to be told. Yes, I will update y’all about what is going on in general, or specific trips that I make. However, a lot of things that happen, you may never know about unless you sit down with me, or call me on the phone, and ask to talk about it. My roommate, bless her heart, is a Freshman and I don’t think she’s lived away from her family for very long. It’s been 7 years for me, so we are just on opposite ends of the college spectrum. However, I love her! She Skypes or emails her family every day, I think…and sometimes when stuff happens, like dinner becomes a disaster, she says “I have to tell my mom what just happened!” and I’m over here like “I’ve ruined so many dinners in my lifetime, my mom wouldn’t expect anything less.” Home will be there when I get home. For now, I’m living in the moment, and loving it!

8. WiFi is not essential.

I do feel that internet is essential, especially because I have assignments to do for my internship here in Romania. However, there are other things to do besides being on the computer. In my apartment, we have a USB that connects us to the internet. If my roommate is using the USB, I have to wait until she is done. That happens a lot, considering my point above, and I’ve come to not mind so much. I find myself doing things like studying Romanian, writing in my journal, and reading. If we had wifi, then my iPhone AND my computer would always have internet, and I’d just be on Facebook all the time, probably. I think that when I move back to Texas in June, I will not have WiFi on my list of essentials as I look for my new abode. I think I could settle for USB internet. 

9. It’s important to make it feel a little bit like home.

I’m this far from home. I don’t know how many miles it is…..but I’m this far:
Map

I left Utah (A on the above map) and 30 hours later I am in Iasi, Romania (B on the above map). However, Texas will always be home, and flamingos will always be “me,” so I brought that part with me. No matter how far I am from home, I have a little piece of home with me. 

Piece of HomeI think it’s important to take familiar things with you when you travel. That way, when you get “home” after a long day, it feels like home. And I foresee many long days ahead of me for the next 3 months.

10. Bread is hard to cut without a bread knife.

Yes, we could just buy a bread knife..but we’d rather save money. Well, considering how cheap the bread is, we can probably afford a bread knife. This beautiful loaf (pictured with my beautiful roommate) was only 2.50 lei (75 cents).

Bread

It is some of the most delicious bread I’ve ever had! We bought a smaller and more expensive loaf today, which is easier to cut with the knife we have…but we ended up just tearing pieces off, anyways. I love the abundance of fresh food here. 

I know I still have a lot to learn. I’ve only been here a week, and I have 11 weeks left!

Here’s to a lifetime of learning ahead!

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Learning Romanian

So, as the title suggests, I am currently learning Romanian!

It’ll be my third language, which is exciting for me!

But listen….IT IS SO HARD!!! Why don’t I remember ASL being this hard to learn??

Maybe because ASL doesn’t have a written component, but Romanian does?
Maybe because ASL doesn’t have conjugations, but Romanian does?

Well whatever it is, it makes me want to cry.

I was sitting in class yesterday and we were reviewing what we learned Monday, then adding a bunch of stuff. Maria, the teacher would ask a question, and the class would answer as a chorus as I sat there confused as to how they knew what she even asked. 

I was seriously about to cry.

No, this isn’t an immersion class, so it’s not all in Romanian, but sometimes she does only speak in Romanian. Like one time we were working in partners…she said something to the class and I was like “what??” but a few people got up and moved and I looked at her confused. She repeated it 2 more times as I sat there looking confused…and then she pointed to me and then pointed to my seat I had been in earlier….OH! We were done working in partners…time to go back to my seat. Why didn’t I get the hint when other people got up and moved? #eyeroll 

I was seriously about to cry again. 

Then she handed out a new paper with a dialogue between two people, and asked for a “voluntar” to read the first character. All in Romanian, of course. I understood “voluntar” because it sounds like volunteer, and she pointed the the first part when she said it, so I got that as well. I raised my hand, thinking that speaking would keep me from busting in to tears, and the first character had more lines, so that was good. So she pointed to me, then found a voluntar to read the other character’s part, and I read…

f 012

So, I stumbled through it. And when I was done…
Maria: Have you had contact with Romanian before?
Me: No, but I’m about to cry… (giggles from class….I don’t think they knew I was serious…)
Maria: That was really good!

And boy, did I feel FANTASTIC after that!

A compliment goes a long way. 

Homework?

Describe yourself in five sentences. Then describe two other members of your family in five more sentences.

And 30 minutes later, what had I accomplished?

  • Produced the shortest 10 sentences of my life
  • Looked through all my notes at least 2 times as I tried to figure it all out
  • And this…

f 013

NAILED IT.

Yes, that took me 30 minutes. But boy, am I proud of it.

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