Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Home and Finished

Figured since I kept this blog up over my two years in Moldova that I would tell everybody I'm home, safe, and my Peace Corps service is completed. Living in Moldova for two years I tried to keep this blog updated in some fashion whether it be through photos, stories, and general life as a Peace Corps Volunteer. Being a volunteer in Moldova was a challenge to say the least. I met a lot of wonderful people, and grew a lot as an individual. Hopefully you enjoyed an entry or two, and for future volunteers in Moldova I hope that this was of some help.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Soviet Medals

I was walking around with Mandy and we came across these Soviet medals at a sort of flea market. I don't know if they are worth anything, but since they are cheap and kind of cool we bought a few. I mostly picked the most Soviet-looking ones I could (Lenin and the hammer and sickle). Also notice there is one here that says "USA" and then some Russian that I don't understand. There is also a five-year anniversary pin for Moldova's independence. These pins are everywhere and I think I might even buy a few more since they are so cheap and kind of awesome.

Exactly One Month Left

So today I have one month left. I also think that today marks the exact anneversary of two years in Moldova. Pretty exciting and pretty cool.

With one month left there are very few things left on my work plate. Specifically at Evrica, we have to wrap-up our outreach project. This is a small project which aimed at increasing awareness of our center to the public, as well as specifically targeting street children themselves. We have created business cards for employees to carry, maps of where our center is, hand outs, brochures, billboards, and directions and informational handouts that are targeted specifically towards children that will hopefully entice them towards our center, and ideally a better life. So here it looks like we got a lot of printing and distributing in the works.

Also in work we have a few things left for The Village Project. We have a lot of simple wrap-up and conference left where we will be presenting how ours individually went, and what suggestions we have for it if it were to continue in Moldova. At the conference I believe that the Ministry of Education will be attending. This may be a step in a direction where their civic education project may become more participative.

So basically that plus a bunch of forms and medical exams and then I'll be cleared to leave. Good stuff. I plan on doing a few visits to other villages in Moldova, and taking a few pictures before I leave on a 10-day trip and then arrive home.

With this remaining time I will try to post random things or pictures to this blog during my final days here in Moldova.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Less than two months: what I miss

Summer is here. It's hot out. I won't dare complain about the weather after our six-month-long-winter. I stayed pretty tough throughout the first part of winter, but the last month and a half was pretty soul-crushing. Every day was short and gray and it was tough to stay positive in any aspect of my day here. I made it. Summer is here and Moldova is green. Soon enough I will be back in America. I leave on July 8th, and have all of my ducks in a row. Getting the next two months planned has made me think of America more than I have in the past. I think things that are awesome in America I have blocked out here so I don't miss things too much. Here are a few things I miss.

1. Parks. Good parks are great, and I think I took them for granted in America. Especially in Seattle where there are parks next to the water everywhere. I plan on taking advantage of this when I get back.

2. Books. Here in the PC library there are a lot of books, but it is nice to know what you want and then go and get it rather than settle for something just to read it.

3. Food. My God, there is great food in America: variety. I can't wait to hit up a Chiplote, Gyros, Thai food, and BBQ with my friends and family.

4. The movie theatre. There are theatres here but they play movies in Russian so I have never gone. The experience of going to the theatre in America is quite American and I miss it. Huge popcorn and Whoppers.

5. Swimming. There are a few pools here, but I have only gone once in Chisinau, and once here in Balti. They were both quite nice, but there is nothing like going for a swim outside in a lake/ocean with the sun out. There are a lot of lakes in Moldova, but we are discouraged to swim in them as they are polluted and many people grow all kinds of infections that I am not trying to get.

6. Beer. America has good beer and Moldova doesn’t. No question. Microbrews are on my list for my return.

These are only a few of the things that came to mind while writing this post. Of course there are many I long for. Of course I miss my friends and family. These are just a few novelties that came to mind.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Palm Reader

I was in the center of Balti today reading. A woman approached me, and asked if I wanted my palm read. I told her "No thanks." "Don't you want to know your future," she said. "No" I replied. Her, "Come on, I will do it for 10 lei." "No, have a good day." Her, "You're lonely." Me laughing, "No I'm not." Her, "Do you believe in God?" Me, "No." Her, "Why?" Me, "I don't think God exists." Her, "Give me five lei then." Me, "No, stop." Her, "You're selfish." Me, "Yes I am, that's why I've volunteered here for two years." Her, "You're going to die." Me, "We're all going to die." Her yelling and walking away saying things in Russian "!@#$%^&*()_z"

Monday, April 18, 2011

First Year In Hirbovat: understanding.

I have been thinking that the first half of my service was largely defined by a stage of understanding. Understanding Moldova, what defines it, the people, the challenges, the corruption, the traditions, my role (realistically), and Moldovans opinion on life. During this time I was extracting my own definition of Moldova in an effort to understand. And after all of this coming to grips with it.

Moving to Balti (switching PC sites) I entered a different stage where hit the ground running. Or so I felt in comparison to my first year. Many ask me or think this change of sites would have been difficult. It wasn’t. I came equipped with an invaluable understanding. This allowed me to make more practical choices and I entered a stage where I thought I could be more effective.

I think I have been thinking of the first year of my service as a PCV because next weekend is Easter. And next weekend I go back to Hirbovat to visit the family that I spent almost a year with. I have not gone back since I left June 1st, 2010. I have called them and talked on Skype a few times, but my communication has been minimal. The host family is great, and I like them, but distance often leads to a lack of communication.

Easter was my favorite holiday I spent with my host family, and because of this I am fairly excited. Easter here includes standing outside of the church all night until the priest blesses your basket of food with holy water. Candles illuminate these baskets. After this ceremony everyone heads home and eats the food. Similar to Catholic’s “lent” Eastern Orthodox has a 40 day tradition where they cannot eat any foods that are from animals. Basically vegan. After Easter they are free to eat whatever they would like as they celebrate Christ rising.

I look forward to the weekend, the company, and seeing the village that has taught me most I know of Moldova during my first year in this country.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Cooking lately.

I have been cooking a lot lately. This weekend I tried a few new things. These, surprisingly enough, are the result of me spending too much time on stumbleupon.com. I had checked this website out once before, but never sat down to make a good profile that includes many checked interests. I listed cooking as one, and ran across recipes. Making these my favorites I soon was inspired to bake them up. I find that cooking here has been a great way to occupy my time while living alone. I also realize that it is a benefit to living alone as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Moldova as many host families are a bit iffy on letting volunteers touch their kitchens. This especially applies to you if you are a man.

Some awesome scones.

Lemon Bars.

Garlic Potatoes.

2 years.

So I leave on July 8th. It really seems unreal. In some ways yes, it did seem like time flew by, but I also think about how much I have grown, and how many different things I have done here. Adapting to a new culture, and trying to understand why Moldovans think one thing or another has been quite the challenge to put it lightly. I've learned Romanian and that was probably the easiest part. All sorts of challenges exist while being a Peace Corps Volunteer, and the majority of them tend to be mental. Or for me they have. It has built a mental toughness that I have to take time to realize I have gained when comparing the moment I came here at age 23, and then now at age 25. Growing takes time, and in my case that time has been 2 years in the Republic of Moldova.

Playground Finished

Hey we finally finished our playground. Below you can find pictures of the playground, as well as the celebration.

Here is a short article on the playground.

An album of pictures from the playground celebration.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

An update of sorts

I spent a lot of time at home today, and it was really nice to enjoy some time by myself. I got the time to edit a lot of photos that I had not given myself time to, which has been fun. Also I have spent some time drawing today, which I have not done since last year.

A couple of weeks ago I started teaching a class at the university here in Balti. It is starting to pick up and I look forward to the discussions we will be having. The focus is American Film: Studying American History and Culture Through Film. Click the link to our blog. I keep it pretty basic. The focus is for them to get a better idea of America's history and culture while improving their English skills. The course is largely discussion based. The class has also allowed me to develop a relationship with the woman who works at American Corner (a sort of library resource center from the US Embassy). things seem to be piecing themselves together well.

At Evrica, the street children center where I work, we have spent the last couple of months planning an outreach-based project. We have so many resources available in our center, but the public and possible beneficiaries do not know we exist. We hope to get our name out to the community in order to attract more children to the services of our center. It is an interesting idea. We plan to simply advertise, but the bigger portion of the project will include local partners playing a large role. These will largely be the workers of bars and stores as they see street children begging and selling flowers more than others. Instead of asking them to leave they can provide them with information on our center, and if they are interested they can call us. They will also be given a mini training on how to approach street children most appropriately. The social assistant and psychologist will check in regularly with these community partners for information. We believe that this will lead to more children receiving the services we offer, thus alleviating the problem more aptly in our community. I am hopeful we will have success in this project. We have the interview for the project this coming Saturday, and soon after we will find out if we will receive funding.

I have not been exercising but have been eating pretty healthy. It snowed again yesterday, and so I have kept to the house. Here I tend to cook a lot more than I used to. I do feel a bit guilty for not running more often, but I hope to do so more often when it warms up.

Monday, February 7, 2011

This dude wants chocolate

Boy: By me chocolate!
Me: Chocolate? Why? I don't want any.
Boy: For us to eat, why don't you want it?
Me: I don't have an appetite.
Boy: You don't have an appetite, I have an appetite!
Me: Find a job. Make money.
Boy: Nobody will accept me to work.
Me: Okay, try harder.
Boy: I will try.

I bought this kid a Snickers last week. Now he thinks I'm going to do it every time I see him. Whoops! He is pretty cool though, so maybe another time.