So, here I am, somewhat settled now, after a few days of finding my way around the neighbourhood, getting used to how things work at the children’s village and juggling that with normal work (which is only more or less successful, but that was to be expected).
The kids at the children’s village are lovely kids to be working with. They each have their issues due to their past and present situations, but most of the time they are loving, open-hearted, interested and helpful little people. They can be a bit out of control sometimes and have little self-control in certain situations, but they will also come running to the gate when I arrive, or just come up for a hug for no reason at all, and all sorts of other lovely little gestures.
The day I arrived was a little chaotic. I had a late flight, and arrived in the city at about 10:30pm. My airbnb host had already said that she might be a little late, and had told me on the phone that she would send a friend to meet me at her address where I could stay until she came. She said this would perhaps be half an hour or so, so no problem there. However, when I reached her house, I called her and she told me that she was still in the middle of nowhere and that she had arranged for her neighbour to let me in to his place, where I could also sleep if I wanted to, as she was going to be much later.
Now, this neighbor is a heavy smoker and a single man living in a big mess.
I had no intention of closing my eyes for one second there, and if I could have held my breath for the 3 hours that I spent there, I would have gladly done so. I swear I could feel my lungs shriveling up every passing minute. By the time my host got back I was no longer a happy person.
Anyway, I spent the next day exploring the area, finding breakfast (soya milk for my tea!), buying a few things for my projects at the village and picking up a heavy bunch of newspapers at a hotel that had been saving them for me.
At the village there were about 15 volunteers this past week, and about the same number of kids. It was a little chaotic so I decided I would just keep in the background, get to know some of the kids a bit and take a look at what kind of things the other volunteers were doing.
They are all young students, some studying pedagogics, others not, but none of them have any real experience with children, nor do they speak a word of Romanian. There is only one other girl who does speak a little. They seem to be doing games mostly, which usually kind of disintegrate after a few rounds.
I started my first project the next day. I have three things vaguely planned – animals made from papier mâché using balloons to form the general shape of the body, some “scientific” experiments and kids yoga. I started the papier mâché figures first, which are a huge hit. At first there were only some 5 kids around, and I started them off making pigs and cats. The following day I had kids asking whether they could also make pigs and there were actually too many to deal with on my own. As I mentioned, they have issues, and patience is not one of their strengths (in general). Also, they easily get engrossed with blowing balloons up again and again and don’t seem to readily understand that if they keep doing that (and the balloons subsequently burst in the sun), there won’t be any more balloons left for the animals they wanted to make in the first place. So I’ve started being a little more strict and explain these things to them, trying to show them that the problem is not them personally going through 10 balloons in as many minutes, the problem is everybody doing this. The same as I have done many times with my own kids.
Next week I will start the yoga sessions. There will be fewer volunteers there next week and more kids, so I feel confident that it will be a little less chaotic. I also have a better feel for the kids now and know that I will have to introduce some rules for yoga, such as “no laughing at anybody during or after the session” and things like that. I’m looking forward to doing the first yoga story with them now; a week ago I was dead scared…
Otherwise I’ve been out and about in town, I’ve done yoga with my host, I’ve been running in the park (but I feel I should find somewhere to run where there are natural paths instead of tarmac everywhere), I’ve been meeting up with people and working of course. Some of the people I have met online who live here are such inspiring people – being here and being able to spend time with them for realz is worth so much.
And yet again I feel completely safe and at home here, and more and more confident speaking without falling back on English. My host assumed I had Romanian roots but had grown up somewhere else, she was very surprised when I explained that actually I was English with no Romanian history whatsoever.
Tonight I stayed in as I seem to have caught a bit of a runny nose and didn’t sleep well last night, which is why I am here blogging instead of being out J
Next week will bring D back to town, which makes me glow with anticipation every time I think about it. I am looking forward to simplicity together, to being able to spend time with each other without the pressure of only having a very limited number of days, and to being able to reconnect far away from the internet again.
I’m so glad life has led me to be here right now. I don’t think I could be in a better place. I feel I am doing something sensible with the kids here, I’m growing myself and my belief in myself by doing things that initially seemed quite scary, and I’m strengthening trust in my intuition by following along this trail in the first place.
Thank you, Life!