May 13, 2021
I grew up in the heart of Eastern Europe: Romania. My home was in a valley situated between mountains. The town was a small mining town that extracted uranium. As you can imagine, life, school and culture were much different where I grew up.
In high school, we get to choose our vocation and study that. At 13 years old, you can’t possibly choose the direction you wish to spend your life, but I’d decided I wanted to become a ranger. I realized that wasn’t for me, and was drafted into the Romaninan military for 1 year. When I returned from service, I signed up for college. I did some exploration of courses and chose to study sports education and recovery. After completion of the course work, I received my Bachelors degree.
One day I was walking and saw a banner that read, “Work and Travel USA”, and was encouraged by someone to pursue an appointment with the agency. It was contracted work so the agent and I explored some options. When she mentioned the beach and ocean, I recalled visiting the Black Sea once a year with my family, and I signed a contract to become a game attendant in Old Orchard Beach. I was quickly promoted from game attendant to Assistant Manager. I worked seasonally and returned to Romania in the off season, but during my “last summer” I’d met my future wife and decided to stay in Maine with her.
I knew I wanted more for myself and what was becoming my family. My wife’s uncle, Steve Kornacki, saw potential in me and introduced me to composite boat building. I wanted to learn the trade and started from scratch. I had no idea about anything, so I signed up for a course at the Landing School. There were many points I wanted to quit (like converting over from the metrics system) but I pushed through. I accepted a position as a teaching assistant and later started teaching the program.
For 3 years, I taught students, and I was able to acquire certificates which furthered my skill set. Last year was tough. When you teach a hands on vocation, you don’t ever think about virtual learning or online platforms. COVID derailed the educational experience for my students because their education was supplemented with online materials. Despite the challenges, my students were able to graduate and pursue work in the industry. Once the planning was finalized for the coming year, I made the difficult choice to move on from teaching. That ending though, created a new beginning.
Stay tuned for Part 2…