In an effort to calm down a little bit about school and the ridiculous schedule that is about to descend on me, I am not going to write about it. I'll save that for when I actually have something productive to do like work on the scope of my curriculum for- uh, 12 different levels or put 600 little friends into my record book. And that I cannot do until Friday or sometime next week, because that is just how it works here. I decide whether or not I want textbooks for the little guys on... Friday before school starts. No biggie.
(I will say this. I am debating a lot about the textbook thing for these little friends. I would like a curriculum, but the kids here buy all of the books. And if they buy it, I really am obligated to use it. And I don't want to get 9 weeks into the year and want to change it up, and feel stuck with the books. Regardless... the thought of planning curriculum and preparing materials for like 300 kids is a little daunting. I know how I will be spending MY weekends and train trips. We'll see how everything looks on Friday.)
I wanted to make a comment on the personal space- or lack thereof- that has been an adjustment for me here in Romania. I consider myself to be a pretty affectionate person, often holding myself back from touching someone to avoid making them uncomfortable- rubbing their back, for instance, or touching their arm. But Romanians, they take it to a whole new level. There are no such inhibitions here. I was touched more in the three hours I was at school than in the last three months. Held and stroked and kissed and rubbed and patted. No hugs, really- just a whole lot of other stuff. It was uncomfortable at first, but I really do enjoy physical affection- I think it is going to work out just fine.
There are many guesses about why this culture is so touchy-feely, but I prefer the hybrid theory. To begin, these are a Latin people. ROMANIAN... what other word can you find in there? Right- these guys decend from the Romans. Their language is (of the Romance languages) most similar to Latin, and their culture is actually very similar to Italian. And we all know Italians like the touching.
Secondly, (and you may laugh, but I am absolutely being serious) these people spent decades waiting in bread lines. Getting close to eachother was a necessity both to keep out the cold and people trying to cut in line. They are used to touching others, and extend this warm manner to foreigners. It was kind of nice.