Thursday, February 15, 2007

February 15, 2007

Several of you have asked if people of Moldova celebrate Valentine’s Day. We didn’t know if they would or not but brought some valentine candy and other valentine things just in case. At breakfast yesterday the family wished us a Happy Valentine’s Day so we assumed that they did celebrate. But as we told you yesterday, the students in our class were unaware that it was Valentine’s Day until we told them and had candy on their desks. Before dinner one of the daughters came in with candy for all her siblings and Alex had bought flowers for all the girls in the family. We had candy in little plastic hearts for each of them. Daniel LOVES sweets so much and he was overjoyed! We went out to dinner at a nice restaurant with the Turlacs and there were heart shaped balloons and red candles on the table. But today the college had a forum for faculty and students to discuss if Christians should celebrate St. Valentine’s Day. I think they believe that Catholics are not Christians and so if it is a Catholic saint’s day then Christians should not celebrate it. We don’t know what they discussed but were just surprised they were having the discussion at all. One of the faculty told Preston about the forum and his response was that if it was a question he was glad they could discuss it. Hope it was an unbiased discussion! One of the American students staying here told us that they went to another restaurant last night that was also decorate and that they called it “Lovers Day.”

This morning we had apple crepes for breakfast! I don’t know what time Lucia got up to get that many crepes made but they were delicious! She is a really good cook. Alex cooked tonight and we had lamb, potatoes, fried cauliflower, tomatoes, peppers, and deviled eggs with mushrooms. As you can tell we are eating well!

We had some more translation problems today. It is amazing what words can’t be translated. Many times they are words we would not have thought would be a problem. Today it was rehearsal, truancy, and doorknob. They don’t have door knobs here but have door “handles.” They could ever imagine what a door knob would be. So we changed Shulman’s “identifying ‘doorknob’ communication” to “Identifying ‘door handle’ communication.” Sorry Larry!

Teaching these students is exhilarating! They actually want to learn. Even after eight hours in the classroom they are still fun and actually reflecting on what you are teaching. Late this afternoon when we had been working on the work phase skills, one of the students had a real breakthrough. They have some how learned that they should be friends with their clients. We have been over the difference in a professional working relationship and a friendship a zillion times, but all of a sudden it hit her. I think we were going over the “identifying purpose and role skill” for the hundredth time, when she said, “Now I see, if I don’t start my relationship out in the right way in the first session, then my client will always see me as only a friend.” Well, at least she said something like that. At the end of class she came over to us and said, “Thank you so much for helping me see my work with different lenses.” And that is really close to what she said! Almost everyday two or three students come up after class to thank us for teaching them and to say how interesting the material is to them.

Today Preston was giving an example and thought he would use a name they were familiar with rather than English names. So he used one of the names of the boys here at the house. Every time he said it they would laugh. He finally asked what was so funny and they said he was pronouncing it wrong. We were sure it was right because that was how the family pronounces it. Finally we spelled it for them and they said “Oh, that is a Russian name. We (Romanians) have a name similar to that but not pronounced that way.” Another Russian/Romanian word is “da” for “yes.” We asked if that was not the same word in Russian and Romanian. Our translator said yes, “but the the Russians took it from our language.” Our Russian friends here at the house just laughed and said the Romanians took a lot of Russian words and claimed them as theirs. There is much competition and disagreement between the two.

Another problem we had (have) today was with our computer. It was working fine when we left class yesterday but this morning when we tried to get it to “communicate” with the projector nothing happened. Vadim, the social work dean, worked with it for a while and then gave us his laptop to use with the projector and that worked fine. At lunch he got their computer expert to come to see what was wrong. He determined that the computer had lost one of the drivers and we could either have the material on the computer screen or show it through the projector but not both. So we worked through the projector. He though he could down load what we needed after class so it would work again. But after working on it for a couple of hours, he was unsuccessful. So we are right where we were this morning. It’s not too bad a problem; we just have to sit so we can see the wall and the students at the same time. For you computer experts, we tried the function F8 key, but it does not work. We are praying that nothing else goes wrong with the computer. You don’t know how good it is to hear from you. We even smile involuntarily when the Baylor page shows up when we want the internet.

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