Thursday, July 29, 2010

Settled-in? and why Russian sucks + update

So I guess I'm settled into my new place. I can't believe that I have been living in this apartment, and in Balti, for almost three months now. I guess the one downfall about my moving here is that I do not use, and can not use, Romanian as much. Living in Hirbovat I spoke it constantly at work, and obviously for everything with my host family. Here in Balti the majority on the streets speak Russian. I would guess that within Moldova this city has the highest amount of Russian speakers. A lot of them speak Russian, and only Russian, but when I speak to them in Romanian they understand what I'm saying. I honestly have not had too many experiences where I was doomed. Though yesterday when I got a haircut the lady did let out a pretty big sigh when I told her I spoke no Russian. Thinking of it though, in that situation I should have been the one letting out the big sigh.

Anyway, there is minimal Romanian practicing here for me, and if I want to get better it would have to be through a tutor or some mainly Romanian speaking friends - which I am working on. Spending time at home in Balti though is interesting because I'm by myself, and have nobody to talk to like I did with a host family. The point and fact of the matter is that my Romanian level is at a halt, and the idea of learning Russian seems ridiculous to me.

I do recognize that I am in a unique opportunity living in a city that speaks Russian, and that I have a year left and if I tried really hard I could pick up a thing or two - outside of the 11.3 words I know at this point. But this is what is discouraging. 1. Russian is really hard, anybody will admit that. 2. I studied Romanian intensively for two months, about 4-5 hours a day, 6 days a week, lived with a host family for a year, and I am about average at Romanian. Now I live by myself, don't have a chance (or am I convincing myself of this???) at intensive classwork, or a family to practice it with. I guess I think of how hard I worked on learning Romanian, and what level I am at now after a year, and then I think of picking up Russian - seems too much.

I have recently decided that I do want to learn another language though. I just think that I would like to learn another Romance language as it would 'click' faster.

Living up here with a site mate has been good. We have been pretty good at holding ourselves to running about four times a week for over a month now which is good. We are expecting another new volunteer up here in Balti with us the around the 6th which will be great. At this point the grant writing process is moving along quite well. We are almost finished writing the proposal in both English and Romanian. Now we need to find possible funders who would be willing to fund the playground for our street children center. Speaking of which, I better go and work on that now.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A touch on work, and a few random photos.

Overall things are picking up. I have been in Balti for a month now. I have began to understand how the street children organization functions and we have been looking into the possibilities of a playground. I am not sure yet where we can find funding for such a project, but I have started looking. Having some kind of material or activities at this center is probably the biggest problem we have identified. These children have a wonderful facility, but simply do not have anything to dig into. Another problem that we would love to resolve is the problem we have with food transportation. We have a kitchen, but since the center is funded through the mayor's office there is a central kitchen where it is all made. Due the the fact that our center functions 24/7 we have to get somebody to take a bus and carry each day's food in bags. This can be complicated when there are many at the center as the containers full of food are very heavy. It is often a two-person job, and when the children at the center are little they can't help! So! We need a car basically. Haha. The most ironic thing about it all is that the mayor's office has budgeted us money for gas, but because we have access to no car we can't use it. Interesting predicament that I am hoping we can resolve.

Below are some random pictures from my days here.
Every evening it has been just pouring outside for probably a month now. This is the view out of my kitchen window from last night.

These are "Smilies," some fries that my sitemate convinced me we should bake. They are probably the most unhealthy thing in the world. Between the two of us we couldn't finish this many.

Here is the entrance to my apartment building on a sunny day. I live on the second floor, but on the opposite side of the building.