There's Something about Mary

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

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11 things I have learned

I have now been in Moldova for 11 1/2 months (June 8th will be one year), so I thought I would share a few things I have learned.

  1. Picking my feet up when I walk.  The sidewalks and roads in Moldova are not flat,so shuffling your feet doesn’t work well.  Plus when entering most buildings and rooms the doors have a ledge that you have to step into.  I picked this up quick after tripping over myself the first few days.
  2. Moldovans typically dress based on the season, not the temperature.  I still dress for the temperature, so when I would wear my open-toed shoes in early Spring or late Fall because it wasn’t too cold outside I got a lot of funny looks because March and October are not the typical months they wear open-toed shoes.
  3. Cell phones are very important to Moldovans and they will answer them wherever they are.  Just last week I was waiting to get my change from the cashier at the grocery store and she got a phone call and proceeded to answer it and have a conversation while I, and others behind me waited for her to finish.  I wonder what would have happened if I ever did that at my last job in the US.  I am thinking I wouldn’t have had the job for much longer.
  4. The concept of queuing has not made it to Moldova.  I can usually wait patiently, but I do get slightly annoyed when the little kids try to go   of me just because they are small and most people don’t notice.  A couple of weeks ago I had a staring match with a young girl and she realized I wasn’t going to let her go before me.
  5. Moldovans drive fast!  When crossing the street you have to check multiple times before stepping foot into the road because the cars come out of no where, even on roads that you would assume people would slow down on.
  6. Stairs are short.  I usually take them two at a time.  It reminds me of a Big Bang Theory episode where Sheldon discusses with Leonard the science behind building stairs and if they are centimeter off they can trip people.
  7. It is completely normal to see men drinking beer at 8 AM.  I remember last summer going into the capital for training and while on the bus driving by the little shops, men would be having a beer and drinking with their friends.  At least it is better than drinking alone.
  8. It doesn’t seem to matter what country I am in, but old men still like to talk to me.  Even when I was in Belgium I had lots of strange chats with older men.  Maybe one day my friend Karas prediction will come true and I will marry an older man….only time will tell 😉
  9. Ice cream is really cheap when you convert the Moldovan lei into dollars, which makes it hard not to eat one everyday when it is nice outside.
  10. Last year, when I arrived a group in PC was selling t-shirts.  One something about how in the rutieras (mini buses), there is always room for one more.  I think the saying goes with Moldovans mentality of hospitality.  At masas (meals) they can always make room for one more person at the table, sometimes the host will take their own plate away, go wash it and then give it to the new person who has joined the table.  They never seem to stress, they just know that there will be room, and everything will work out.
  11. And lastly, I think this is the best decision I have ever made for myself.  I don’t regret it for a second.

O zi buna!


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Lenin, where is your head?

When I first found out that I was going to be living in Riscani, the first thing one of the other volunteers told me was “The one thing I know about Riscani, is you have an awesome statue of Lenin.”  He was right, in the center of town, and directly in front of the building I work in was a huge statue of Lenin.

On Monday, when I was leaving the building and walking home, I looked up and noticed that Lenin’s head and shoulders were missing.  (And I of course didn’t have my camera with me to take any pictures.)  The next time I saw my partner in the office, Wednesday, I asked her where Lenin’s head was>  She then told me how the president of the raion council (district council) wanted Lenin to be removed.  The communist party is trying to just have him moved to another place in Riscani.   From what I understood, the communist party is not happy about what the president of the raion did, either is the mayor.  They also think that it is illegal.   They said that if Lenin is not whole again by May 19 then they will protest.

According to the local news station, this is the 4th attempt to have Lenin removed in the last 3 years and he was originally constructed in 2003.

(And if it wasn’t pouring down rain, I would have a more recent picture of Lenin.  Check back, I will get one)

Image     Image

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Spring pictures

Spring in Riscani!  It was beautiful, but very short.  Last weekend the weather hit the mid-80’s and the sadly it was too much for the tulips.

April showers (not fun when trying to dry laundry)

First flowers of the season

Cherry trees, part of the garden and rain clouds

This poor man mows the entire soccer field with a push mower, then rakes up all the grass clippings.  It is a job that takes several days to complete

O zi buna!

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Somebody That I Use to Know

Gotye – Somebody That I Use to Know

I first heard the cover of this song when the youtube video was being posted on Facebook by lots of my friends.  It reminds me of a friendship that I had before coming to Moldova.  It really hurt to lose that friendship, but I thinking back now, I think it has made me a stronger and better person.

If you have never heard this song, I recommend it, as well as the rest of Gotye’s album. 🙂

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Paştele blajinilor (Memorial Easter)

On April 23rd I celebrated Memorial Easter with my host family.  So some might ask, what is Memorial Easter.  Well, it is a celebration for your loved ones who have passed away.

My host mom informed me a couple days prior that we would be going to one cemetery where her mother, brother and grandmother are buried, and my host dad would be going with his side of the family to a different cemetery in town. And one thing my host mom told me several times is the cemetary that her family is in is also the Roma cemetary, and there are lots of Romas.  I found it funny that she really wanted to point this out to me.

So we got up on Monday morning, called cab and met up with my host moms side of the family at her daughters house.  From their we walked to the cemetery, with flowers and food in hand.  We made it to their amiy plot and I watched as they set out the food, smal gifts and flowers over all 3 of the graves.  We had a few glasses of wine and waited for the priest to come over and bless the food.  We waited about 30 minutes and in that time we visited with the other family’s around us, gave gifts from the deceased, and took shots of wine.  The priest then came, blessed our food and said prayers for the people who had died.  After we made our way back to my host moms, daughters house, where we continued our meal.

On the way out of the cemetery I was very impressed at how much stuff some family’s brought with them, and how elaborate the meals and headstones were.  As I was taking pictures, one Roma famiyl asked about what I was doing and who I was in Russian.  My host mom responded in telling them that I was an American living with her for 2 years, they then insisted on me taking a shot of vodka with them and gave me a colored egg and some special Easter bread before I went on my way.





O zi buna!