There's Something about Mary

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

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To my Fathers

With this Sunday being Fathers Day, I thought I would post about the fathers in my life.  The three fathers in my life are my 2 host dads that I have met in the last year and then, most importantly my dad back in Washington.

Let’s start with my host dad in Riscani:  He is a very quiet man, and our conversations are very limited.  I think most of this is because his primary language Russian, so we usually come to stopping points in our conversations because we can’t understand each other.  Both of my host parents in Riscani remind me a lot of my grandparents in North Dakota.  My grandpa in ND is not a very loud man, and because his hearing is bad, my grandma explains a lot to him.  My host dad can hear just fine, but he does have trouble speaking Romanian to me, so when I tell my host mom something, she explains it to him in Russian, he gives her his response, and then she translates his Russian back to me in Romanian.  It makes for an interesting dinner conversation.  A couple weeks back my host mom went to Bulgaria for a week, and I was able to prepare food for myself for the week.  Every night he would come in and ask if I had eaten, and if I was cold.  He is a very hard working man, he gets up early, and doesn’t stop working until the sun goes down.  Below is one of my favorite pictures of him, taken on his 75th birthday last year (Christmas day).  Moldovans aren’t known to smile often, so it is great when you can capture it.

My other host father lives in Ciorescu.  He has a son my age who lives in Italy and a 17-year-old daughter.  At first we didn’t communicate much, probably because my language was so bad, but as I got better we got to know each other better.  My entire host family in Ciorescu knows that I enjoy beer, and every time I have gone back to visit, they have beer for me. We have bonded over drinking beer, and on several occasions the two of us have finished offa 2-liter of beer in one night.  During the rainy summer mornings he would drive me to school and in November before my vacation he drove me to the train station and waited till my train departed before driving home.  My host mom in Ciorescu has told me how he asks how is “american fată” is (American daughter) when I have not called for a few weeks.

And last but certainly not least, my dad in America.  Oh, how I miss my dad.  He is always telling a joke, and loves to tease anyone, especially my sister, my mom and I.  I remember when I was younger I use to get so upset about it, and realized much later on that if I didn’t react to him, he would stop.  If I would have figured that earlier, my teenage years would have probably been a lot easier.  My sister has his sense of humor, and I like to push peoples buttons like he does.  Never was a good idea when we use to push each others buttons.  My mom says that we are a like in that way, and I was never good at backing down.  After graduating college and moving back home we were able to get along better than when I was in high school.  Even though there were some tough times, I have never doubted how much he loves me, and know that he will be there to support me in the decisions I make.  He can make an awesome breakfast too 🙂  Hope you have an awesome day Dad, and drink some good beer for me!

It is great feeling to feel loved by not only your family in America, but also the people I have come to live with in Moldova.  I know I have said this before, but I am so blessed to not only have one great host family, but two!

Happy Fathers Day to all the Fathers out there!!


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Căpşuni şi Cireşe

It is currently the season for căpşuni şi cireşe (strawberries and cherries).  And almost every night I have been going outside to pick handfuls of both to enjoy as nightly snacks.  Love Moldovan fruit season!

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My Red Cup

When I lived with my host family in training last summer every morning I drank tea out of the same red cup.  Even over this past year when I went to visit on weekends they would always give me the red cup.  I found it to be kind of comforting to know that the red cup is always the one I received my tea in.

A new group of volunteers arrived last Thursday evening and I found out a couple of weeks ago that my host family from training will be hosting another volunteer this summer. The new girl living with my host family now gets my red cup.  Which is a little sad, but I am glad they still encourage me to visit and I know I will always be the first volunteer they ever had. 🙂

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SPA Project

All through training last summer and the extra two weeks we had at the end of September/early October I heard about writing grants.  And in January, my program group (ARBD) along with our work partners had a training about how to write grants.  My partner and I talked a little about the idea she had, but didn’t really get much going with the writing until the end of March, and then it was put on hold even more with the Easter celebrations.

But now I am happy to say that we completed our grant proposal in mid-May and presented it last Friday to the SPA review board.  And on Tuesday I received am email from my program manager that pending some small changes/additions our proposal was approved for funding!!

So, what was the project we submitted?   Well, my partner wants to do some basic business training seminars for the people in the rural area of our district.  The 3 that we are going to start with are business planning, writing a business plan and basic accounting skills.  We are also going to offer the business planning seminar to the youth at the local agro-college (similar to a technical school).  There are some other aspects of the project also, but that is the main portion.

Thank you to SPA and USAID for providing the funding!

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Ultimul Sunet

On May 31st all the schools around Moldova celebrated “Ultimul sunet”  or “last bell.”  I did not attend the ceremony, but heard that speeches were given by students, teachers and some community leaders (mayors).  The seniors all walked through at the same time and received certificates and then the “last bell” was rung and the ceremony was over.

Every school starts (September 1st) and finishes (May 31st) on the same day.  And it makes perfect sense to me why, I remember going to school in Washington and the different school districts in my town would have different start dates, some before Labor Day and some after, and also different vacation schedules.  That is not the case in Moldova.  But I can see how it would make life super simple.

And congrats to all the education volunteers for making through the year!

O zi buna!