There's Something about Mary

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


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Spring Cleaning

When I was in high school my mom told me a story about how when I was little I use to go out and clean the road and sidewalk.  Afterward I would come to her and tell her how dirty the road and sidewalk was.  She was sure I was going to be a clean freak.  Jumping forward to when was in high school and college, she realized that wasn’t going to be the case.  My friends who have seen my old apartment or my car can totally vouch for this.  It was really bad, my dad told me how it looked like I lived in my car, there were clothes and shoes everywhere.  Since I have come to Moldova, I have made an honest attempt to be cleaner.  I make my bed almost everyday, and I really keep my room much tidier then it ever was in the U.S. (And I am going to try and continue the trend even after I am through with the Peace Corps. :))

Tonight after dinner my host mom went outside to clean up around the perimeter of the property.  I asked if I could help.  So while she had the rake, I had a broom and was sweeping behind her as she went.  I felt like that little kid my mom said use to clean the road.  My host mom and I chatted with the neighbors and they all seemed rather impressed that the “American” was helping. 

Saturday we have more cleaning planned.  I told my host mom I wanted to help, and if the weather is not too windy, we might be doing some planting.  My host family is growing some new vegetables this year, cauliflower, brussel sprouts and sugar beets.  The one I am most excited for is the cauliflower!

O zi buna!

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RISE Boot Drop

In Peace Corps Moldova we have several clubs that you can get involved in to do work on some secondary projects.  One of those groups is RISE (Roma Inclusion Support Education).  On March 17 I helped RISE with a boot drop in a village called Peresecina, where two volunteers live.

We talked about stereotypes and social status and gave away 30 pairs of boots to children in socially vulnerable families.  The weather was beautiful, and it finally felt like Spring was on its way.

Thanks Samuel Bistrian and Roma Boots for this awesome opportunity. These kids appreciated it.  

O zi buna!


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International Womens Day

International Women’s Day is celebrated throughout the world on March 8th.  And Moldova is no exception.

I celebrated with both of my host family’s.  Once in the morning with my family in Ciorescu (I had stayed the night there because I had a meeting in the capital the day before) and later with my host family in Riscani.

Women’s Day in Moldova reminded me of Mothers Day.  Except all the offices and schools are closed.   Flowers and gifts are given.  I gave both my host moms an african violet.  I was given a flower and some body wash.

Here is a picture of my host mom, with her daughters, one son-in-law and father:

Noapte buna!

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Religion and Post

In Moldova a vast majority of the population is Orthodox, some are more hard core than others.  And one of the stereotypes that I have come to realize is that a lot of Moldovans believe that all Americans are Catholic.  I have been asked countless times if I am Catholic, and with my limited knowledge of the language I just go with it and say “yes” because it is easier to agree then to try and explain that I am a different religion, and what that religion is.

Now, where is all this coming from?  Well, several weeks ago I was walking home from work, doing my best to avoid the mud, and I saw a lady who works in my building and is good friends with one of the ladys in my office, she was on her way to the basilica (church).  We talked for a bit and she told me how she had been fasting for 2 days, she then asked if I was Catholic, and if we ever fasted.  I told her that yes I was Catholic, but no, we don’t really fast. Later that evening as I was eating dinner with my host family, my host mom asked me about if we fast or ate Post.  I explained to her we didn’t, and when she asked why, I didn’t really have an answer.

So, what is Post?  Post is a form of fasting that is similar to eating vegan. Another volunteer that I went through training with is working on eating Post now.  She wrote an excellent blog about the rules and the why.  Here is a link.  It seems that some people are more strict on eating Post then others.  My host mom told me she only planned on eating Post for the first week.  And why now?  Post is observed now as a part of the Great Lent and a preparation for Easter.

With Easter coming that means Spring is on its way!

O zi buna!


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He gave a great perspective on why the Peace Corps should not receive any more budget cuts, and why it is such a useful organization.

In this time of financial meltdowns, budget crunching, and fiscal austerity, seemingly every government, business, man and woman throughout the world, have felt the repercussions of our current economic climate.  The saddest part of our governments current budget tightening, is that most of the casualties through budget cuts are to social programs.  I am not going to pass judgment as to whether or not certain programs deserved cuts or not because I am not knowledgeable enough with most of them.  However, there is one program that has seen substantial cuts that has greatly affected me and many others, that being the Peace Corps.  The following is my pitch to anyone in the U.S., as to why at the Peace Corps should never see cuts and why it is in the best interest of the country to have a strong, well-financed Peace Corps.

I think in the eyes of the American public…

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Mărțișor

March 1st celebrated Mărțișor in Moldova.  In Moldova and Romania this is considered the 1st day of Spring.  Literally Mărțișor means “little March.”  Small trinket with the colors red and white are given and worn on people coats for a certain number of days.  (Usually 10-14 days).  The color red represents love for all that is beautiful and the blood of brave young men, and the white represents purity, good health and the snowdrop, the first flower of Spring.

I was given 2 Mărțișor pins.  One from my host mom and the other from my work partner.  In our language and cultural sessions we learned about one of the different Romanian legends that said there once was a fight with the winter witch and lady spring.  The winter witch didn’t want to give up its place and lady spring cut her finger and a few drops of blood fell on the snow, and the snow melted, and Spring won over Winter.

ImageThis week we will celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8th.

O zi buna!