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.