Current time- 12:21pm
Time I wrote the following-8:11 pm (on the 24th)
Oh what a day today was. First of all, I must still be suffering majorly from jet lag. I’m exhausted for the first half of the day, and the next half I am hungry ALL the time! I might feel awake for a little while right after eating, but then I quickly get tired or hungry again. It’s a huge pain! That’s why I chose to stay here this evening and get to bed early, hoping to get my inner clock to cooperate.
However, I did have a great time meeting my students today! I have six total, but today I only had five. It’s a national holiday here today so many businesses were closed and families were out enjoying the day off. They celebrate the day of Pentecost officially, so for many, it is like a labor day. Still, I had five out of six, which was really great! So let me share a little bit about each of them and what I enjoyed.
My first student was a woman close to my age and was very friendly. Today’s “class” was simply an introduction where we could spend time getting to know each other and explaining what will be expected. So after I explained the course, we spent the rest of the time talking about hobbies and things that we did. This woman and her boyfriend’s mother (who came with her to observe) raise bees and make sculpted candles. I think I will even get to see one tomorrow! It was really fun to learn about them both and a little challenging as she searched for English words to explain. I also expect to have some good conversation with her about God as well. She is an orthodox and has had a negative experience with some of the Baptists in her village. I’m very thankful that this did not affect my relationship with her and hope that she will have a lot of questions. Either way, she was one of my favorites because she was so nice and friendly, as was the boyfriend’s mother.
My next student was a man a little older than me but still in his twenties. He is a dentist and unfortunately didn’t have any horror stories yet about any of his patients. He was a little more shy at first, but once I got through talking about the class and a little about myself, it became easier. He has been to the U.S. before so he recognized some of the places I’ve been. He likes to bike and has been to Michigan, so I told him about Mackinaw Island. I also asked him about the holiday and he told me a little bit about that and other holidays. They have a labor day in May and two valentines days. One that is on the 14th like ours and one that is more culturally based on the 24th. I doubt couples celebrate both though.
My last student of the morning was a teenage girl. She was my quietest one so far so I was a little worried, but eventually she got to talking a bit more and she is more advanced in English. She has taken the Intermediate course already and came back for the Advanced, so that was a little bit different for me. I didn’t think I would have any advanced students, so now I have a little more preparing to do before tomorrow. I basically will be reading the same Bible lesson every night that they will be expected to read. Anyways, what I remember about her is that she somewhat enjoys her science and mathematics classes, and likes horror films and shows. I feel a little bad because by that time I was quickly getting more and more tired and it became hard for me to listen. I hope she didn’t notice.
Lunch break was greatly welcomed at this point because I was so very tired and so hungry to the point of near grumpiness. I hid it well but in my mind I was thinking discouraging and negative thoughts and dreading the afternoon students and the challenge of the rest of the two weeks. It was not my best moment. But after a nap, some food, and some coffee, I started to feel better and had two fantastic students in the afternoon that really cheered me up again.
So my fourth student was another girl close to my age and we really seemed to connect. She has been married three years and was originally from another city in Romania, moving to Oradea when she got married. She is in school for radiology while her husband works on windows. Eventually we got on the subject of food (this was when the hunger side of my jet lag was in swing) and specifically began to talk about pizza. Her understanding of English was very good but she struggles with vocabulary and pronunciation. So when I asked her what kind of toppings she put on a pizza, she could not think of the English words for the toppings. Well, I was very curious to know, so I asked her to write the Romanian words down for me so I could look them up later. During this process, she got a little more comfortable and through quick doodles and hand motions, we figured out all the English words for the toppings she put on her pizza! It was the most fun I had with any of my students today! And not only that, but the toppings themselves were a little strange. She puts egg on her pizza! I told her I couldn’t wait to get home and make the pizza she described for myself and that I would take a picture and send it to her. She was really excited about this 🙂 I think she is going to become a fast friend and someone I will keep in touch with long after I leave.
My fifth, and coincidentally my last student of the day was another man who was ten years my senior. As I explained the course to him, he told me he had been out of practice for a while and really wants to work on his verbs and past/present/future tenses. I expect some really tough English questions from him. As we chatted, I found out he was a police office, and rides his bike to get around Oradea. The funniest thing I remember about our conversation was when I asked him if he was married. He responds by telling me know and that if I was interested, I could call him at the number that he had on his paper. I chuckled politely at his boldness and told him I was happily taken (Made me miss you, love). I think he was somewhat joking because it didn’t sour the conversation at all. We continued chatting a little more and he was friendly and fun to talk to. I think he will be very focused on the English though, so I expect most of our time will be spent on that, but hopefully he will enjoy reading the Bible stories as well.
I was supposed to have a sixth student, but she possibly was off today because of the holiday because she didn’t come. I spent that last hour being shown how Vasile (the preacher) made his fly-fishing bait. I was wearing feathers today and he actually gave me a colorful packet of them and showed me how he used other feathers he had for his bait. Given that my dad is a big fisher, it was fun to see another person have a similar hobby, though fly-fishing is quite different from bass fishing from what I can tell.
All in all it was a great first day! I almost wish I could just always spend the time with my students just talking, but we would probably run out of things to say, and they wouldn’t possibly learn as much. But all of them had good English, even though there’s certainly room for improvement. I was just glad they could understand me because I know I was talking faster than I should have. I definitely tried to be aware of how I was saying things and trying to keep explanations simple to make sure they understood what I was saying.
Tomorrow begins the real work, and hopefully some conversations relating to the Bible stories they read every evening. I’m less nervous, having now met the students and knowing their personalities a little, but I’m still nervous about what questions they might have for me. But, I don’t foresee any issues even if I can’t answer the questions right away. I just hope and pray I am a good example and take every opportunity to share about God and his love and what he has done for me.
I know this was a very long post so for those who made it through to the end, thank you for reading!