Monday was first bell or the first day of classes at schools. We had all been told that even if we were not teachers, this was an event here not to be missed. When I mentioned wanting to attend to my work partner, she suggested that I go with her daughter, who is 14 and starting a new school, Lucian Blaga, in Balti and would be in the 10th form. (Lucian Blaga was a Romanian philosopher, poet and playwright in during the first half of the 20th century. )
From talking to my Moldovan friends, I had learned that the students would bring their teachers flowers, would be wearing black and white and that the event would involve some singing and dancing. During discussions with other PCVs I had been told to come prepared with a speech, since we might get called up to welcome the students and while a few other PCVs I know did give impromptu speeches, I was simply an observer.
The event began at 8:30a, but when I arrived just before 8a, there was already a surprisingly large number of parents, students and teachers milling about. All of the students were dressed up, wearing some version of black bottoms and white tops and most of the students, especially the girls, had flowers or chocolates for their teachers. After speeches by the Principal, Police officer and one of the older students welcoming everyone and giving advice to the new students, there was singing, dancing, introductions of the teachers and classes commenced.