It’s 10:15 on Saturday (okay now it’s Tuesday and I meant to post on Saturday) and I’m comfortably sitting in my new home having coffee and listening to music.  After one of the best weeks at site I feel completely relaxed and content. This past Monday I returned home from a vacation to Rome. This was my first vacation out of the country.  The time I spent exploring the city, eating copious amounts of food, drinking exquisite wine, and watching Italian life pass by I was ready to get back to Timisoara to start the new semester.

Back to School:

Second semester started Monday.  Surprisingly the staff and students were back in the groove right away.  This was unexpected because after our Christmas break it took 2 days for the students and teachers to get back to work. I arrived at school on Monday promptly at 7:50 only after getting off a train at 4:45 AM and making it home to shower and change.  Monday’s are now my long day where I teach 5 hours with Afterschool Program hours. I was expecting to be exhausted and irritable. This is how I am with no sleep.  Another surprise, I was neither of the two. I was energized and pleasant. I think it was because of my new plan for the semester.  For the first semester grade all my students had personal interviews with me in English.  This was a great way for me to gauge their English level as well as forming personal connections.  The language level determined how my Counterpart and I are splitting classes this semester.  It has made a world of difference for teaching.

Back to Reality:

I am finally settled in my new house. Everything organized and decorated with pictures and letters from home. After making four trips into the city, I have a fully stocked fridge and cupboards. With my fully functioning oven and stove I thought I would test it out.  As you may know I am no cook or baker.  But things are always changing in my life and I thought why not bake some cookies. I looked up how to make cookies online and in our Romanian cookbook, Pofta Buna, and luckily enough I found real brown sugar during one of my shopping expeditions this last week, so chocolate chip it was. First hurdle, no chocolate chips in Romania, but with chocolate bars a plenty I thought to chop it into makeshift chips.  Second hurdle, I do not have a blender and my butter was rock hard and cold. So put it on a heater for 10 minutes and flip, and melt on the stove.  Little did I know it’s not recommended to melt the butter? All and all cookie making turned out just fine. Pictures below. Also, I’m going to be one of those humans that talks about the weather. I know I can’t get my hopes up, but my landlord was over the other day and she was showing me around the yard.  She was really excited to show me the flowers blooming and all the different places I can plant and garden.  Again something I would never expect me to be good at (every plant dies in my possession), but I’m going to give it a go.   It’s early February and flowers? This is unnatural. In Minnesota March is the snowiest month, but from the warm spring like days here in Timisoara I’m thinking no more snow.