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September 14, 2009

Life in Moldova

Each day life starts early here in Moldova. The roosters start to crow as early as 4:00 in the morning, the dogs start to bark just as early. Sometimes they never stop barking at night as many a Volunteer will tell you. The sun rises around 6:00 am, sometimes earlier. That's when a lot of Moldovans rise too. Many of them head to the fields for the day in their horse carts to tend whatever crops they are growing. This is, for some families a family event so mom, dad and the kids would work alongside each other. During the summer it was wheat, corn, sunflowers, watermelons and all manner of fruits and vegetables. In the gardens at home the same ritual would play out. My mama gazda in my training village is among those who work in the garden in the morning and evening when it is cooler. Weeding and picking what has ripened takes up a good chunk of time. This is not easy work, especially when the days are as hot as they were this past summer.

Since Moldova is going through a very serious drought now, many people have to water the gardens from reservoirs or fetch water from the wells. Gardens and fields in Moldova are very important since it is the produce from these that feed the population during the winter time. Now is the time when food is preserved in jars big and small and placed in the cellars for winter consumption. Everything from pickled watermelon (yes, you read right) to tomato in every form, any fruit or vegetable you can think of is preserved and consumed during the winter. This is partly because these fruits and veggies are extremely expensive during the winter, since they are imported.

The next big thing that will be harvested are the grapes. This is huge in Moldova since every other household grows grapes and makes house wine. Moldovans are proud of their house wine and every household believes theirs is the best. They all boast of how "natural" their wine is without preservatives, and guarantees you that theirs is the most gustos (tasty). This is not always the case, of course!!!! I must admit our house wine is pretty good as house wines go. Believe me, I've had some that, despite the guarantees that it is the most gustos, it wasn't. Though, of course, one has to praise said wine none the less.

So my tata gazda announced to me this morning that he will harvest our grapes on Saturday. I will definitely post about the experience since I want to be front and center. So, stay tuned for my post.

November 7, 2009

What to do on a Saturday Night?

Well, another week has flown by, I don't mind at all, don't get me wrong. I find however, that as Friday night and the weekend approaches, I am in a quandary as to what to do. Life here in Moldova is very different than life at home in the US. For me, Friday meant the end of the week and going out with to a nice restaurant for any kind of food I felt like having. Again on Saturday night and sometimes Sunday.

Here in Moldova, that is sometimes an option - somewhat - as there are some limitations. However, it is not an option at all when you live in a village. Now, granted, I do live in the main town of my Raoin, and there are a few places to go here but, there is no place like home!!!

So, I just try and fill the days as best I can. Now that we can move about, I will be going to visit friends at their sites. This also helps me with familiarizing myself with Moldova and seeing as much of it as possible. Next weekend, I am going to Strachen, a town north of the capital Chisinau. A bunch of us are going to celebrate another PCV's birthday. Until then, I have tutoring tomorrow and that will be the end of this weekend.

Have a great weekend yourself.

December 12, 2009

I Now have my own apartment in Moldova

Yes, it's true, I am now an independent woman again. After living with host families in Moldova for the first five months of my life here, I finally have my own space. Don't get me wrong my host families especially in Vasieni, our Training village are great, they are my family in Moldova. Here in Leova they are nice too. However, it is a great feeling to be living on my own. Peace Corp Moldova has a policy that all volunteers need to live with a host family when they first arrive in their community. The original policy was six months, but our awesome Country Director saw fit to change that to three months, much to my delight. Of course we can't just move into any kind of housing. Our prospective home has to meet strict PC standards.

My pad is located on the fourth floor of an apartment building and my neighbors are great. I have already been invited over to a few of their places for tea, or just to chat, one lady told me just to come over whenever so that I would not be alone too much. It still amazes me sometimes how awesome some Moldovans are, it really takes the edge off living along here. I have a bedroom, living room, kitchen and bathroom. It is a nice place. It been two weeks since I moved in and last weekend my awesome site mate and my running buddy from training were over for dinner. I plan to have as many of my peers come visit as possible.

In other big news, I have planned my first getaway. It's a short jaunt to Brasov, Romania. Brasov is located in the Transylvania region of Romanian. Jenell, my running buddy and I are going at Christmas time and look forward to visiting Bran Castel, Dracula's hideout and other sites. We might even try our hand at skiing at Poiana Brasov, the Ski Resort there. This is our first trip out of Moldova and I am so excited. I will write a detailed Trip Report when we return. First stop, the Irish Pub for Guiness. I have not had decent beer in six months!

May 18, 2010

Spring in Moldova

Spring is a beautiful time in Moldova. For a few weeks now the trees have been coming alive with beautiful flowers and blossoms. Now they are fully clothed in their beautiful green leaves and flourishing. It is amazing how green everything is. It is a special shade of green that truly heralds the arrival of Spring.

The countryside is beautiful and colorful and resplendent with all the fields overgrown with flowers of every shade and type, meadows, sheep with their new lambs, goats with their new kids, cows with their new calves, horses with their new foals, hens with their new chicks, duck with their new ducklings, geese with their new nurselings . There is life everywhere you look in Moldova. People are outdoors more and everyone is happy and enjoying Spring and the promise of the warmth of Summer. Moldova is transformed and winter is a distant memory with the arrival of all the new life.

I love to go on walks and see all the trees beginning to get their fruit. Fresh fruit and vegetables will abound now. Something awesome to look forward to. Everyday the trees hold a new surprise that was not there the day before. I already had fresh strawberries from the garden and look forward to cherries. Moldova has the best cherries!!

The new group of trainee volunteers also arrive next month. We are really looking forward to their arrival since we will no longer be the new kids in town!! Summer brings all kinds of things to look forward to and this is one of them. June will also be a year that I arrived in Moldova. Wow, time does fly. It's been a year of ups and downs and I am happy to report that with the arrival of Spring, I have also had a renewal. I look forward to the rest of my time here in Moldova. I really do.

August 11, 2010

A List of Positives of Moldova

Thank you all for the comments and notes of encouragement. It means more than words can say to read them and know that you all are praying for me and sending love and positive thoughts. As Marta suggested, I have made a list of the positives about my experience here in Moldova. It really helps when I see them all on paper and I realize that, even though this is one of the most challenging things I have done in my life so far, they are some great things to enjoy about it. Here I go:

I can now speak another language, Romanian and when I was in Milan last month, it made all the difference for I can now understand Italian. Learning Italian is going to be so much easier now.
I can live in another culture and different language, on my own and be perfectly comfortable doing so.
I have met some amazing Moldovans, especially my host family in Vasieni. I absolutely love them and the feeling is entirely mutual.
I have met some amazing Americans in the persons of my fellow PCVs and our amazing staff at Peace Corps.
Moldova has some of the cutest dogs and cats I have ever met. They are stray for the most part but they still are very friendly.
Since moving to Moldova I have started running and can now run for more than an hour. I never put much energy into trying before and now am registered to run my first official race, a 10k in Athens, Greece in October.
I have had the opportunity to indulge in one of my favorite things to do - travel. It is so much less expensive to travel within Europe from here.
I have everything I need to live comfortably here in Moldova including my own apartment.
Peace Corps takes really good care of us and provides even the littlest things e.g. dental floss.
I have learned not to sweat the small stuff.
Moldova has some beautiful countryside and I have learned to appreciate it.

These are just what I can think of now. I will be sure to add to the list.

I had the honor to co-MC the Swearing In Ceremony (in Romanian) for some new PCVs last week. It was amazing as I watched the new PCVs and remembered my own Swearing In last year. I remembered the goals I had for my service here, the reasons why I signed up for PC. Our Ambassador to Moldova Asif Chaudry addressed the gathering and talked about when President Kennedy made that speech in Michigan in 1961 and how those students followed up with him and PC was born. It renewed in me the hope and optimism I had when I answered the call to service and made me realize that I still had some work to do here and not much time. Our Country Director, in his address also made me realize why I stay here in Moldova. He spoke about his own service and I realized that each one of us go through the same emotional roller coaster that is Peace Corps. It is an amazing ride and I believe that my service here will make a difference. Even if it is a small one, I would have been successful. So, as I go through the next 11 months, these are the things I keep in mind.

Stay tuned.....

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to My Take on all Things Moldovan: A Peace Corps Volunteer's Adventures While Living and Volunteering in Moldova in the Everyday Life category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Food/Wine is the next category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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