There's Something about Mary

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

11 things I have learned

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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!


Author: Mary O

Hi, I'm Mary. I am orignally from Spokane Wash., where I lived for 20 years of my life. I went to school in Bellingham Wash, at Western Washington University and graduated with a degree in Business Administration. In June 2011, I moved to Moldova for the Peace Corps. In the Peace Corps, I am an Agribusiness and Rural Development Volunteer, and live in a town called Riscani, which is about 3 hours northwest of the capital city. I love Moldova, but there are somedays where I really miss all my friends and family in the States! Email me if you have more questions!

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