Thursday, May 31, 2012

Ultimul Sunet

Today is the official last day of school in Moldova, what is known as the "Last Bell." All of the students and the teachers come to the school at about the same time as usual but instead of holding classes an assembly is held outside in front of the school. It is very similar to the ceremony for the beginning of school which is appropriately called the "First Bell." This time the director and the mayor congratulated the graduating seniors and 9th graders and wished them luck on their future endeavors while also passing out certificates to the students who stood out the most academically in the past school year. No assembly would be complete without dancing and singing of course and all of the students gave out flowers to the teachers which is a very common tradition that I have encountered at almost every single holiday. The assembly did not last long and afterward we all went home looking forward to tomorrow the first day of Summer and the official first day of Summer vacation. In addition to the fact that tomorrow is "Children's Day," tomorrow is also my birthday and I am looking forward to the surprise my host mother has planned. I know she has planned something because she has repeatedly told me but she always refuses to tell me what the surprise will be. I think I like surprises better that way, knowing that a surprise will occur even if you dont know what the surprise will be. Much easier on my nerves then just getting a surprise out of the blue. After my birthday celebrations tomorrow I will be heading off to a wedding on Saturday and then off on my trip on Tuesday. Busy, busy, busy.

Two 11th graders starting off the event with the Mayor and School Director watching on.

The students forming a semicircle around the entrance.

It doesn't matter if you're in the 1st grade and didn't prepare anything you still might be called upon to give a speech.

What's a celebration without a little hora'ing?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Ziua Victoriei

In case you were unaware today is the 67th anniversary of the end of WWII as celebrated in Moldova and most of the former Soviet Union countries (although in the rest of Europe Victory Day was celebrated yesterday). To truly mark this day as a celebration we had the day off from school and there was a ceremony in the center of town at the WWII memorial. My host mother and I left the house at about 9:00, which is when the ceremony was supposed to begin and we weren't very surprised to find that by the time we made it to the center at 9:15 it still hadn't started yet. We spent the next 15 minutes or so discussing punctuality by Moldovan standards while we waited for everyone to get organize and for it to start. When about a 100 people had gathered the ceremony began with the mayor saying a few words and handing out envelopes to some of the more elderly villagers, which I'm not sure but I believe is because they themselves are veterans of the war. Which if that is true would make them near 90 years old. After the mayor was finished the priest took over and lead a small service. At one point he read off a list of names which I assume was people who died while fighting in the war, but the way he read them was in rapid fire sing-song voice which came out remarkably close to how an auctioneer calls out bids from the auction block. Next the students from my school sang a few songs and at one point in the middle releasing a few birds back into the air with great showmanship. Lastly a group of older villagers sang a few folk songs with the accompaniment of an accordion, which is the instrument of choice outside of audio recordings, and the ceremony was ended. This will be the third week in a row in which I haven't worked a full 5 day work week, which is not something I am complaining about but it is unfortunate to me that they are spread out a little more evenly throughout the year. It was a very long wait of monotonous 5 day work weeks to finally make it to this oasis of vacations and now I'm not sure how I will be able to readjust in order to finish out the 3 weeks we still have left in the school year.