November 2, 2003 - Huntington Herald Dispatch: Teaching in Moldova can sometimes bring its own tasty rewards

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Moldova: Peace Corps Moldova : The Peace Corps in Moldova: November 2, 2003 - Huntington Herald Dispatch: Teaching in Moldova can sometimes bring its own tasty rewards

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Teaching in Moldova can sometimes bring its own tasty rewards



Teaching in Moldova can sometimes bring its own tasty rewards

Teaching in Moldova can sometimes bring its own tasty rewards

By NICOLE SHEETS - Moldova column

I dont know if Im called to be a teacher for my whole life, but for now it works.

"You like the big desk," my dad told me during one of our trans-Atlantic phone conversations. Yeah, I guess I do.

Im not saying every lesson explodes with sunshine and rainbows. The success of a lesson depends on the topic, the day, the group of students, the planetary alignment, my caffeine intake and the uncertain edge of the "now" that makes classroom teaching so akin to theater.

In Moldova I teach at a postgraduate institution; most of the students have already earned a degree elsewhere and come to us for an additional two-year certification. Most of my students have a life. And kids. The lucky ones have a job. The really lucky ones have a job they like. Many of my students and I are about the same age, which means we might possibly "hang out."

This year I teach conversation to a Romanian-speaking group of students. Our textbook has a unit on food, so I explained the idea of a potluck and invited them to my humble apartment. This is in some ways a selfish request, as such an invitation forces me to clean my place.

I warned them that this would not be a party in the Moldovan sense -- I dont have a table big enough for us all to sit around, and I have only four chairs. I figured wed arrange the food buffet-style on my kitchen table.

Upon arriving at my flat, the students instantly made themselves at home, washing my dishes, sweeping the kitchen floor I had already swept, nosing through my junk room.

"What are you looking for?" I asked Irini.

"Where is some newspaper?" she asked.

Why in the world do you need newspaper? I thought.

"For the floor," she said.

And sure enough, my old paper became a tablecloth. At first I resisted but then remembered a secret to happiness in Moldova: Go with it. And the meal turned out fine.

There was too much food, of course. A heaping bowl of golden pears and apples, Moldova grapes that always look to me like plump purple toes. Pastries, eggplant salad, baked apples. I made tofu curry, which perplexed but intrigued them, and corn bread, which they liked.

Moldovans have many skills. They can make a tantalizing table, even on a floor.

Nicole Sheets is a Barboursville native and Peace Corps volunteer in Moldova. Her e-mail address is moldovanicole@yahoo.com. Her column appears on the Life page the first Sunday of each month.



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Story Source: Huntington Herald Dispatch

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Moldova; PCVs in the Field - Moldova

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