There's Something about Mary

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



It has been a little bit over a month since my Hram, sorry it is a little late, but better than never I suppose.  So, some of you may ask, what is Hram?  Hram is the celebration of the city or the village you live in.  It all coincides with the biserică (church) in your town, and the saint that the biserică is named after.  I have heard that Saint Mary is a popular day in Moldova, her celebration is around the 27th of August.  Moldova is a rather religious society, so it doesn’t surprise me that the celebration has religious meanings also.

Rîșcani had their Hram on September 21.  All the schools and offices were closed, and two fellow volunteers came to celebrate with me.  My host mom had been making treats all week in preparation.  It all started with a masă, which literally translates to table, but in this case it means large meal.  Several courses were served, we drank house wine and homemade vodka.  Then we made our way to the center of town.  In the center they had beer tents, a stage, a cotton candy machine, some small things for sale and some carnival rides for kids.  My host moms granddaughter is part of a dance group, so we watched her dance, listened to some music, and drank some beer.  Later on when it got dark there was also fireworks.

The first course of food and Samir

Nkosi (another voluteer), Melanie, Elisabeth (German friends), Me, and my host moms grandaughter (the dancer on the right)

And Thursday I was invited back to my training village for their Hram.  It is their 100 year anniversary!


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Laundry can’t be too difficult right?

I have been really lucky with my housing placement in Moldova.  My host family in training had an indoor shower, toilet and a washing machine.  My permanent site has all the amenities too, they actually have two machines, one that my host mom uses outside in the Spring and Summer and another one for the colder months, I wrote about it in August.

Yesterday I told my host mom that I wanted to my laundry in the morning.  She told me no problem, just that we would use the indoor machine.  I figured something like that, so we agreed she would show me how to use it in the morning.  The machine is actually in German, so it was all kind of a guessing game.

This morning I got up, got my clothes together and asked for her help.  We turned it on, and nothing really happened.  You could hear the water running, but it didn’t look like any of the clothes were getting wet.  She called my host dad inside, and he couldn’t figure it out either, so they called the neighbor, who they bought it from.  He came over, spoke some Russian to my host mom and she told me it should work and we should leave now, when I get home from work it will be done.  When I got home she told me it didn’t work.  So I grabbed my computer and opened the trusty Google Translate hoping I could figure out what all the buttons translate to.  There was one that translated to “spin” so I pushed that and tried again.  Some of my clothes were wet, but it was like the machine filled up and never did a spin cycle, because they were all in the same position as when they started….strange.  The “spin” button didn’t seem to make any difference, so my host mom had my host dad carry in the washing machine from outside.  And that is how I washed my clothes tonight, using the shower to rinse them.  My host mom was nice and took them outside to hang dry for me.  I have a feeling it will be several days until this whole process is complete.

Upon further discussion with my host mom I realized that she has never actually used the inside machine, and she prefers just to hand wash her clothes in the winter.  I am now determined to get the machine to work before I leave, or at least figure out why it doesn’t.

O zi buna!

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Amazing Day

I am going to make this quick, but today was a great day.

When I got home from work, the 2 guys who work with my host dad were making up some wine, so I got to observe, taste and take some photos.  And after the wine I went with my host dad to a family members house for my host mom’s father 87th birthday!  He is the cutest old man.  This was the first time I had met him, he told me how he had heard my host mom talk about me, but didn’t know who I was.  “Cine Mary?”  he asked.  We all ate a lot, and drank some homemade vodka.

Pictures to come soon…promise

Noapte buna!


Mama Gazda doesn’t understand my footwear choices….

My choice of footwear has been a hot topic in my house this last week.  I don’t really like shoes and would prefer to wear my birkenstocks (which I left in the US) or my flip flops every day of the year.  The other day I was tired of wearing my one pair of close-toed choices I had brought to Moldova, so I wore my flip-flops to work instead.  My host mom had so many questions for me on my way out the door and then when I got home she kept asking if my feet were cold, which they were not.  Then she showed my host dad what I was wearing and the other guy that works with him.  It turned into a long conversation, and I am pretty sure they think I am slightly crazy.  Today I wore my chacos on my walk, and once again got all sorts of questions.  I also get some funny looks from the people on the street who see me, but I like my sandals and will continue to wear them for as long as I can!

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Is it really October already?

My dad emailed me to remind me the other day that I haven’t updated my blog in awhile.

Well, I am sad to say that summer is finally over.  On September 26th, I started my third and final phase of training, there was a few cold days, but for the most part the weather was amazing.  I left the capital on October 8, deciding not to go to wine fest and stay an extra day.  Now looking back, I am glad I did.  When I arrived back in Rîșcani, it was kind of chilly, and my host mom was waiting at the end of the road for me.  We got inside and it was pleasantly warm since she had already started the soba.  The following day it rained all day, I never left my pajamas or my house.  I heard from several other volunteers who left on Sunday and said they got soaked on the way to the bus station, and continued that way all the way home.  Since then it has been very fall like and raining off and on.  Luckily today, it only rained in the morning (before I woke up), and the afternoon cleared up.  I decided to go for a walk.  I first headed to the piața, and bought some apples, so  can make these, then I decided to explore.  I walked through a park and found an old ferris wheel, that still turns when the wind is strong enough and since I was almost at the edge of town I decided to go to the entrance.   Here are some pictures.





My host mom has recently started an agrotourism business and the cassia mica that I live in is equipped to sleep up to 7 people.  In August and part of September I had two girls living with me from Germany, I’ll post about that another day.  And this week, and for the next 2 or 3 weeks I will have 3 guys from Chisinau living with me.  They work for the Ministry of Finance and are up working in Rîșcani for a couple of weeks, not entirely sure why.  The other night they asked if I wanted to have a beer with them.  It turned into me drinking with them till almost 3 am….oops.

O zi buna!