The list would be long indeed if I were to enumerate all the things my students have done for me in the last five years. This year I have one who is building my house.
Claudia and I bought some land in this village and plan to build a house and live here. The property is a little hillside orchard: walnuts, cherries, plums, apples, and enough open field for a chalet and a courtyard of roses.
But the process of housebuilding in Romania is not one I am familiar with. Permits are fewer and rather dependent on cups of coffee and the prevailing mental state of the mayor. A greater portion of the labor is manual. Such as digging a foundation.
Last week I staked off the four corners of our proposed house. I explained to the math class the next day how I used the Pythagorean formula to make it square.
A twelfth grade girl wondered when I’ll start digging the foundation.
“I’m checking rates and thinking of using a machine. We need to dig in a water line anyway so I might as well hire out the whole thing,” I replied.
“How much will it cost?” she countered.
“Maybe six of seven hundred lei.”
“Too much. You could save the money and get the brothers from church to help you dig the foundation by hand. My dad and brother dug two of them before.”
I was pleased to see that my lectures about saving money had not been wasted.
Why not. The weather forecast was excellent. By the end of the day I had called around to the church fellows and we agreed to dig. Friday I went to town and bought a shovel and ten kilos of chicken.
Saturday morning I turned the first dirt at 8:15 and by 1:00 we had the entire foundation dug along, with 30 meters of water line.
We ate barbequed chicken for lunch and finished off the day with volleyball and an evening campfire. I was pleased as can be.
It had been a perfect day. I love interacting with community and students outside of school hours. Food, fun, and foundation digging makes a full and fulfilling Saturday.
That evening my twelfth grader stopped me.
“What’s the next step?” she asked.