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.