There's Something about Mary

Stories and thoughts about my time as a Peace Corps volunteer in Moldova



I really need to learn to be prepared and also should probably invest in an umbrella…..

Today after Romanian class I decided to go to Chisinau, use the internet, relax a bit and maybe stop by Nr1 (a huge grocery store) to see what they had.  I went to the Peace Corps office, wasted about an hour and a half, then started waslking towards Nr1.  I walked all around the store, bought some wafer cookies, grabbed my backpack from the locker (the big grocery stores won’t allow you to take big bags in, so you store them in lockers and pick them up on your way out) was about to head out the door when I looked up and saw the downpour of rain.

Rain normally doesn’t bother me, I lived for 4+ years on the western side of Washington where it was common to rain every few days.  Let me say though, Moldovan rain is different.  It pours, it is miserable, and most times it seems to rain all day, instead of just for a couple hours like in Western Washington.

I didn’t bringa  coat either, I had on some khaki shorts and a tank top, thankfully not white ;).  I put my backpack in the locker once more and made a loop around the store, then even though it was still coming down pretty steady, I decided to brave it anyway, and get back to the bus to go home.  Luckily I had on my chacos because it made going through the rivers in the road much easier.  Now I am home and dry….luckily I don’t melt when it rains.

Btw…ploua is the verb for rain in Romanian.

Also, next Friday, August 5, I swear in as an official volunteer!


The continuing entertainment with the Frisbee…

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First it gets stuck in a tree…

Then Thomas uses his shoe to try and get it down.

Or someone climbs in the tree to shake it out, this time it was Joseph

And when both those options fail, you find a other objects to get it down, this time it was a piece of tubing from behind the schoolJohn wants to try too

Then then feel very proud after getting it down

And Thomas celebrates!!

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Cricova Factory

BTW….whenever I hear Cricova, I think of the Ricola commercials in the states, and giggle just a little. Cricova is a town located west of mine, and northest of Chisinau.  There is another group of trainees who live there, two of which are also ARBDs.  Also in Cricova is a winery!  Cricova is the home of the largest wine cellar in the world.  In Milestii Mici, south of Chisinau, is the largest collection of wine in the world.  The language technical instructors (LTIs) in Ciroescu and Cricova worked together and were able to get us a tour of the bottling factory for their champagne production.  The head of bottling for the champagne is the host father of Angela, one of Cricovas LTIs.  A couple weeks ago, a group of about 20 went on a tour, my first in Romanian, and with some translation help we saw where they store it, bottle it, and pack it for distribution.  At the end we got to try two white champagnes and on red.  (My first time trying a red champagne)  I also found out that champagne differs from sparkling wine because I champagne the carbonation is formed naturally.  We were invited back in the fall to see how they press the grapes, and last Friday we went back and toured the cellar, it felt so nice to not be sweltering hot for once.


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American Independance Day!

Sorry this is a couple weeks after the actual 4th of July…..When I accepted my invitation to the Peace Corps and realized that I would be moving to a foreign country, I started to think about what it was going to be like to celebrate American holidays in Moldova. Some holidays are super sentimental to me, 4th of July is not really one of them.  When I was in high school I was always working, usually right on through the fireworks, and I sadly always missed the bbqs that my parents held.  And in college I spent it with my friends, we drank beer, had some hotdogs and then would find a good place somewhere in Bellingham to watch the fireworks over the bay.  This year I had no idea what to expect.  As it turns out there is an American Chamber of Commerce in Moldova, and every year they throw a picnic. The picnic was held on Saturday, at a mini-golf park in Chisinau (I have heard there is all of 2 mini-golf parks in the whole country of Moldova).  Families, Embassy people and lot of Peace Corps volunteers were there.  Most everyone spoke English; there were games (tug-of-war, limbo, hotdog eating contest) and a band.  Only 5 members of my village came, we started off meeting some M25 volunteers (My group is the 26th group in Moldova, M26) and grabbing a drink before going inside.  Once inside we drank, talked to others and some even danced, even after the rain started.  At 10 o’clock the picnic was over, and we had a private rutiera (maxitaxi as they are also called) to take our village and 2 others nearby villages home. It was a very enjoyable night.  On Sunday we had a pancake breakfast (that included fresh raspberries and real maple syrup) sponsored by one of the Peace Corps groups.  I spent some time Chisinau, found out where a few big stores are, then relaxed for the rest of the day in my village with my host family.  Great weekend!

The other ARBD ladies and myself

Check facebook for more photos, they should be coming in the next couple weeks when I get my own internet access

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I survived….

On Sunday I went to visit my permanent site.  I was so proud of myself for taking the bus to Chisinau alone (not really high on my worry list), getting to the Gara de Nord, finding my Ruteria and making it to Rascani.  When I got there my new partner was waiting for me with a taxi, we then drove through town, she showed me the where the office was, the police, hospital, stadium and house of culture.  We got to my new house and my new host mom was super excited, and so sweet.  We all had dinner, my partner left and my host mom showed me around her house and her garden.  The garden is massive, and gorgeous!

Casa Mica...where I will be staying

A small section of the garden.

More garden

Casa Mara and well

I was pretty tired the first night, so I went to bed pretty early.  On Monday I got up and my host mom walked me to the office where I spent 90% of my day online reading blogs….hard work I know.  When I got home later I relaxed for a bit, and my host moms children came over.  They are all older than me, I think there are 4, and at least 2 live in Riscani.  We had dinner outside and drank way too much wine….oops.

Dinner with the new host family!

They even made me get in a picture

Mama and Tata Gazda

On Tuesday I went back to Chisinau with my partner where we had a site conference with all the ARBDs and partners.  I think I am going to have a lot of fun in my new host family and place of work


I <3 Moldovans!

Today some of my group and the group in the town next to us, Cricova, met and had a picnic in the middle of a field between our villages. It was a gorgeous day and the trail was great, several cows were seen along the way. One of the great things about Moldova in the Spring and Summer is the availablity of fresh produce. We have already gone through cherry and strawberry season sadly, But we still can get all sorts of other fruit. On our walk back we found a plume tree, and jumped up to get a couple to eat on our walk home. A nice Moldovan family saw us and invited us into their yard/garden to pick more. The mother even went as far as to get plastic bags to put out fruit in. When we were done picking, she invited us to stay for some wine (homemade of course) and placinta (a fried/baked bread that is filled with potatoes, cabbage, goat cheese or some combination of those). We sat with her family and had some placinta and a couple shots of wine before leaving to continue our walk home. She invited us back any time, even as far out as autumn to help make the wine. The hospitality of people amazes me, you would never get that from complete strangers in the US. It was an enjoyable day, and tomorrow I go and visit my new host family and permanent site. Wish me luck!

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My Permanent Site

So, today we found out our permanent sites, and we will all be going to visit them this coming weekend!  I am excited, but also slightly terrified, since I have always had the crutch of my host sister speaking a little bit of English, and having the other volunteers in my village that I could talk to.  But from what I have seen, I am the only volunteer in the area, and the nearest ones are 30-40 minutes away via bus or maxitaxi (rutiera).  We’ll see how this goes with limited language capabilites….

From what I can tell I will be working with the Association of Business Women in the raion I will be living in.  Raions are the center of several small villages, they have most every convenience that a person would need so they don’t have to go all the way to the really big cities. I will be staying with my new host family, which consists of a mother and a father.  So far this is all I know.  Here is a google map of where my town is located (I am the town slightly northwest of Baltis:

Oh, and I still have to tell you about my awesome weekend celebrating the 4th of July, Moldovan style….pictures to come, I promise 🙂