This post will contain nothing spectacular or insightful. Just a fair warning.
I read one time that writing down worries and concerns lulls the mind into a (false) sense of peace before sleep. And because I spent the entirety of last night glancing at the clock every 30 minutes or so, I am going to try it out. A detox for the conscious, of sorts.
1. I have been in frequent contact with my English department head at Scoala #79. We exchanged a few emails today and I learned a lot of new details. For instance- my students have textbooks. This is a big deal. Additionally, I will only be teaching "intensive" English classes, which both frightens and excites me. I will be teaching 18-19 lessons each week, and NO, I have no idea how this works. Also, the teachers are supposed to wear "decent" clothing. Hmm.
2. I discovered that my "flat" (geez, that just SOUNDS cool, right?) may not be available when we first arrive in Bucharest. I was counting on D~ and I being able to stay there during our orientation at the beginning of September. One more thing to add to the list... but at least I know about the possibility now. We haven't really heard any details about the orientation or when D~ needs to/should leave for his placement... all in good time. Probably on August 29th.
3. My parents found a suitcase of massive proportions at Goodwill for $3.00. Massive enough that my friend C~ can fit inside of it. She IS quite tiny, but she honestly crawled completely into this suitcase this past weekend and we could zip the lid. I am not quite as worried about packing anymore. I still have this vision in my head of being forced to drastically eliminate an enormous amount of items at the airport and having to haul this luggage around the world and it being lost somewhere in transit and forgetting something essential in the States. But I have a really big suitcase now.
4. I think that I will bring along said giant suitcase and one more duffel bag as checked luggage. For carry on luggage, I will have my hiking backpack with all the essentials (change of clothing, few toiletries, small blanket, valuables, book, i-Pod, computer, playing cards, etc...) and a purse. Here I will be co-opting the definition of purse by bringing a GIANT tote bag. Plus, it says I am a teacher, so it makes me feel more grown-up and somehow legitimate. I am playing around with the idea of bringing my pillow. My mom did this when we went to Europe, and despite the hassle it caused... it might be nice to have something so familiar.
5. Speaking of familiar things, I am wondering what to bring. I have always craved personal touches to make me feel comfortable in a situation- things like pictures and curtains and rugs. But left with the choice between bringing my vase of fake flowers and a winter jacket, I think I will be forced to ditch the sentimental. So, who has ideas about what I can bring that will remind me of home, and takes up a tiny little bit of space? Maybe a CD with some good songs on it. Suggestions? (You know who you are... help me out!)
6. My personal life is a mess. Some of you know what this is about, many of you don't. But it is sufficient to say that this whole thing is a disaster. A good, wonderful, beautiful kind of disaster- but a heart filled with chaos nonetheless. And doing THIS in the midst of this is an odd experience.
7. I haven't even told D~ this bit of information, but I discovered that it can actually be cheaper to fly from Bucharest to the city he will be teaching in. And so instead of taking 8 hours on a train, it is only about 50 minutes. This makes me happy. I know this is an adventure I need to take. And it is an opportunity I should be happy to experience alone. And I planned to do this before knowing it was even an option for D~. But frankly, it is really nice just to know that someone is just an hour away. He might not be as excited about my reliance on his presence... but it is a great comfort in the moment. And I don't really care what he thinks :)
8. I recently devoured a culture guide on Romania, and I am both more excited and more anxious about living there. I think that I am going to need to be especially sensitive to the fact that the people of this country experienced great hardship under a communist government for many years. I am used to living in a country that forces me to temper down my national pride and assume a position of supplication in order to interact well with the world. This may not be the case in Romania, and this is okay. Development is happening at rapid speed in some places, and peasants live centuries-old traditions in others. This is a country with a history of terrible violence and invasion and foreign rule. This is a country that gained and lost millions of miles of land in the course of two World Wars. This is a country that was handed to the U.S.S.R. after a directive brought about in part by the government of the country I come from. This is a country with Latin roots and Slavic influences and a barrage of other peoples in between. A country with rolling hills and sprawling plains and soaring mountains and beautiful beaches. This untapped, undiscovered, "wild" part of Europe is going to be my home. And here, I shouldn't scoff at the national pride these people carry as they emerge from a centuries old struggle for power and order and self-rule. I cannot laugh at the patriotism as I sometimes do here in the States, for in Romania I feel it has been earned more valiantly, and certainly more recently.
I should be clear that I too am patriotic, I too feel proud of my country in so many ways. When I laugh at patriotism, it is the kind that asserts itself in blatant and hateful ways. Patriotism that excludes people and uses superlatives and invokes God to justify campaigns of misinformation or self-interest around the world. And in Romania, these people have much to be proud of- but it will be nice to exist in a place that hasn't recently invaded someone else. And I promised this post wouldn't contain anything serious or insightful. Ha.
9. Romania is apparently a "couple centric society." Meaning that it is generally unacceptable (according to the book I read and different sites I have browsed) for women to go out in groups together. Additionally, it is apparently perfectly common to get offers of marriage on the street or the bus, or to get fixed up with every available young man your school contact knows. So here are the options as I currently see them: I could lead a desperate and lonely couple-less life in Bucharest. I could endure the annoyance of being constantly fixed up with unsuspecting young men. Or I could meet someone. Hmm...
I wonder which one my mom is most fearful of. Her biggest concern (after the chance that I will be sold into some kind of sex-trafficking ring... we have a code-word, don't worry) is that I will find an abandoned baby and stay into Romania until I can officially adopt it.
My biggest concern is that I won't.