In Country Archives

June 22, 2009

Imi Place Moldova - I like Moldova

June 17, 2009
It will be a week tomorrow since we first landed in Moldova, though it seems like much more time has passed. Internet has been limited but I will post every chance I get. My host family is the best!!! My mama gazda is soooo great. She is kind and keeps telling me how very happy she is that I am in her home. She makes me feel like a part of the family and wants to do everything for me, won’t let me help with dishes or to even clear my plate; she even did my laundry yesterday. Yes, I am spoilt. She likes to feed me a lot of food and I have to tell her that I can’t each so much in one sitting, she just wants to make sure that I am full. I love spending time with her because she tells me all about the history of the village and it’s great hearing her stories.
My house is great and I am going to be really sad to leave when it comes time to go to my site for the start of my assignment. Our garden is filled with apple, apricot, peach and pear trees, strawberries raspberries, cucumbers, squash, tomatoes and grapevines. There are cherry trees everywhere, those cherries that cost an arm and a leg in American grocery stores, I can go outside and pick right off the tree.
Our village is small, just over four thousand people. The air is fresh and the views from everywhere are stunning. There is corn, wheat, grapes, apples, cherries growing everywhere. There is a big hill right by my house and one of my colleagues and I have walked/run up it for our exercise twice already this week. It’s great since so much food is put in front of us. I can’t wait to go running in other parts of the village to explore more. The air here is clean and I must say that I realize now how stressed in was back in the US and now it’s all gone. I can sure get used to this.

Language classes continue to be intense but I am doing great. I really enjoy classes and our teachers are great. Our schedule for training is pretty full as our group (COD) have only eight weeks of training now and the remaining two at a later time, while the others –Agribusiness, Health and Education have their ten weeks all at once.
Well, gotta go do my homework for language class tomorrow.
O ziua buna. (Have a nice day)

June 12, 2009

Moldova is absolutely beautiful.
We got here and it rained on us a little as we walked from the plane to the arrival hall. I would like to think of them as showers of blessing. As I got on the Turkish Air flight from Istanbul and took my seat, I had this feeling of “OMG, what am I getting myself into?” This was my first time feeling overwhelmed and the first time it really hit me that I was officially a Peace Corp Trainee (PCT) and that I was going to a place that a lot of people I knew did not know was on the map. I soon fell asleep, however, and it passed.
Getting thorough Moldova passport control was painless and we were greeted warmly by our Country Director (CD). We then got our bags and as the first few PCTs walked through the doors, there was this loud cheer from Volunteers who were our designated Mentors. I exhaled and knew at that moment that I was going to be fine. That helped more than words can explain. They were all so very nice and welcoming and all of us PCTs had great big smiles on our faces.
From there it was on to the hotel where we were to stay for the first two nights then off to our training sites in our respective groups. Those first two days were hectic to say the least. We were introduced to PC Staff and addressed by our CD. We got to explore Chisinau, the capital of Moldova a little and talk to other Volunteers. They all love it here and had adapted quite well. I will write more about Chisinau when I have more of an opportunity to explore.
We started Language Classes immediately, they are intense but I am going to enjoy them since our teachers are great and this method of teaching with complete immersion is very effective. We are scheduled to have classes every day except Sunday, which we have off.
I’ll write more again soon. I am not sure when, since we are going to our training village and I am not sure of the availability of the internet at my host home. Until then,
Pe curind (see you later)

June 14, 2009.
This evening we were dropped off at our host families in our training village. Wow – when I was alone in my room I again had this overwhelming feeling of “OMG what did I do? Why did I leave my home and come here where I know less than fifty words of the language?” I even got a little teary eyed, but composed myself and went out to join my host family for dinner. I needn’t have worried, my family is great. My host mother or mama gazda speaks a little English, though my tata gazda speaks none. Nevertheless, they were so very warm and welcoming on that first night that I knew that everything would be fine.

July 2, 2009

A Mix of Events

First I want to say a big ‘thank you’ those of you who follow this blog. Thanks also for being patient with me. It’s been a while, but here I am. Training continues to be grueling with language classes five hours a day and very long days as well. It is going well though, we have our first language assessment next week and our teachers are convinced that I will do very well. I, on the other hand, am really hard on myself so sometimes I think I know nothing. We have to pass our final language assessment at Intermediate-Mid based on a scoring system developed by the American Council on Teaching Foreign Languages. If by Swearing In we test at Int. Low we can ask to be on plan to improve. So pray that I make it.

In addition to intense training, PC organizes cultural events for us to get to know more about Moldovan culture. One such event was an exhibition of traditional Moldovan dances and also a presentation about the Roma people who live in Moldova. The Roma people are often castigated in Moldovan society and are likened to gypsies who will steal from you and do you harm. We were presented with the history of Roma people and how they are trying to get more information out on themselves. They are also trying to integrate into Moldovan society by selecting professions such as medicine to be more visible to other Moldovans as well as their own community. One thing I was reminded of after the presentation is that one should not generalize.

We were also fed the Moldovan traditional dish known as mamaliga – corn meal made with butter and other ingredients that is foarte delicios – very delicious!!!!! There was brinza –home made cheese that is very much like feta cheese, placinte – pastry that can be filled with vegetables, cheese, or cherries and is sooo very delicious. Moldovan food is very good and very tasty. My host mother also cooks all of these dishes so I get the full menu.

Life in Moldova has been really good so far. My village is absolutely beautiful and I enjoy being here very much. It’s a simple life where you breathe clean air and eat fresh fruits and vegetables on a daily basis. Where I am awakened by a good amount of roosters each morning and even attached by a rooster - yes attacked- I had to show him who was boss though and now, when he sees me he makes a speedy escape!!!

Not all Moldovans share this feeling about life in Moldova or village life though, as Moldova has a long way to go as a country. Twenty-five percent of Moldovans of working age leave in search of jobs in other countries. Most times working illegally to send money home for their families. Those of us who are here to make a difference, even if it is a small one, are grateful to be here and pledge to do the best job we can. That is why I hope to be placed where I can work with youth. I believe that change can occur and it starts with the youth of Moldova, who have so much to offer their country. They are very intelligent and creative and the more of them who see that they can make a great life here in Moldova for themselves and their families, the quicker this sentiment will spread so that they can realize the vision of a better Moldova.

That’s all, I promise to post more often.

O zi buna. Have a nice day!!!

August 1, 2009

Today is a good day on dial-up

Hi all, apologies all round for the long break in blogging. A few reasons: training is very intense, at present I only have dial up which is inherently unreliable and add to that the phones don't always work.

Anyway, it's coming down to the wire now. This is our last week of training, COD anyway then swearing-in next Saturday then off to our new sites. My new site is one hundred kilometres south of Chisinau the capital. We had our site visits to meet with our partners whom we will be working with for the next two years. Also to meet our new host families.

Both mine are awesome. I love my new host family and especially fell totally in love with one of their granddaughters. She is seven and just such a sweet child. I felt very welcome and my Romanian was truly put to the test since none of them speak English. I did well though and was really proud of myself. Speaking of Romanian, we had two language assessments and I aced both of them. I was a little apprehensive about having to learn a new language but I have picked it up quite well. To the point when my present mama gazda speaks English I always say to her "nu inteleg" which means I don't understand, I tell her, in Romanian, that I don't know English, I only know Romanian. It's a laugh for us all.

So, coming down the the wire here in my host village is bitter-sweet. Things I will miss are my familia gazda, they have all been so very kind to me that I will never, ever forget them and will continue to visit when I leave and even when my service is up. The hills and valleys and fields; the calm and quiet of village life; the cows, sheep, goats, the gaggles of geese that always have something to say when you pass them, the horses that occasionally fart while you are passing. I will miss having to negotiate the various piles of poop from all the animal mentioned above; running in the fields with my new running buddy; hanging out with the other trainees, we have become so close and look out for each other; my teachers, they are all so very cool, awesome teachers and very kind too; and so much more that I can't mention in one session.

I am also looking forward to starting to work, getting down and accomplishing my personal goals that I set when I came here. It will be so great.

Anyway, more on these later, for now, I am going to hang out with my fellow trainees on our last Saturday here in our host village. More to come later.

Thanks again for all your prayers and well wishes. It encourages me greatly, keep the comments coming.

August 8, 2009

It's Official

Today I was officially sworn in by our CD as a Peace Corps Volunteer. The first phase of Training is over and now it is time to get to work. I also got the results of my first official Language Proficiency Exam and I scored a whopping Intermediate High. Intermediate Mid is the required level so I am pretty darned proud of myself. Eu pot sa vorbesc limba romana - I can speak Romanian.

I also moved to my host community that I will be working in for the next two years and it is awesome. My host family is great though it was sad leaving my host family in my training village. Moldovans are kind, hospitable people and I feel the love here as I did in my other village.

On Friday we had our farewell party and my group got dressed up in Moldovan national costumes and danced Moldovan dances and sang Moldovan songs in Romanian. It was so great. I even sang a duet with a fellow trainee, in Romanian! It was awesome. Imi place Moldova!!! I love Moldova.

This journey has been great so far and I look forward to all the wonderful experiences I will have here. I will share each and everyone of them with you all.

Once again thanks for all your prayers and well wishes.

June 10, 2010

One Year Anniversary in Moldova

One year ago today I arrived in Moldova. Wow how time flies. I remember sitting on that last flight we took here and having a moment of "O my gosh, what am I doing? Why am I doing this?" I was excited and terrified at the same time. When we got off the plane and entered the arrival hall we were greeted by our awesome Country Director and other staff. When the first of us collected our luggage and went through the exit doors, I heard a loud cheer that was PCVs already in country and I immediately exhaled. Things were going to be fine.

Over the last twelve months I have learned a new language to the point where I can function in my community and the country. I have met new people, my Vasieni host family in particular with whom I have made a strong connection and have a strong bond. I have eaten different food, some of which I absolutely love, others, not so much. I have drunk house wine, which I had never done before. I have helped with grape harvesting to make said house wine. I attended an Orthodox Christian Easter Service, much different from what I am used to.

I have had lots of highs and some lows here in Moldova. It is truly a sacrifice that we make to enter Peace Corps. It is also an enormous learning opportunity. I have learned to relax more. To be more easygoing. To stress less. To let the small stuff go. To choose my battles. Along the way, I hope I have taught some things too.

I still struggle with being here and away from family and friends and the conveniences of America. I am still not as busy with work as I would like to be and that sometimes makes me question whether I am doing any good at all. I take it one day at a time though and try to look for the positives for being here. Deep inside I am also committed to serving out my time here. I am committed to being present and in the moment throughout the remainder of my service here.

So, here is to me and my colleagues who persevere here in Moldova. Here is to our second year. To the new Trainees and eventual Volunteers who have arrived today, it will be okay!!!!

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 In Country category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Holidays and Traditions is the previous category.

Preparations is the next category.

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

Powered by
Movable Type 3.33
© 2009 - 2011 Slow Travel