There's Something about Mary

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


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Thanksgiving

Last year my Thanksgiving was spent in Chisinau with about 80 other volunteers.  I was on a cooking team and we prepared all the mashed potatoes and stuffing for everyone.  Due to some budget cuts earlier this year the space we had previously used was not available and the country-wide Thanksgiving that a group in Peace Corps Moldova put on was not able to happen.  Instead volunteers put on regional events.

I was invited to the one in Balti (a city about 40 minutes from where I live).  I offered to help cook, and went down Friday afternoon (we celebrated on Saturday so teaching volunteers could come) to start prepping things.  We started off taking a trip to the grocery store to buy supplies then we started baking.  We made several desserts and finally went to bed around 4 AM.  The next morning more volunteers started to arrive and we got up and began more cooking.  Most all the classic foods from Thanksgiving were present including turkey (very fresh, killed and plucked 2 days prior), stuffing, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie and pecan pie.  Other foods included corn casserole, sausage balls, mac and cheese, stewed tomatoes and deviled eggs.  In total there was about 25 people at the Thanksgiving dinner, and we had plenty of food leftover for the next day.

The next day I went back to Riscani to celebrate my host mom’s birthday.   Per usual their was lots of delicious food and drinks.

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Happy Thanksgiving

Last year I wrote about different ways I have celebrated Thanksgiving in the past, so this year I thought why not tell everyone what I am thankful for.

  • First off, I am thankful for my parents.  My parents are incredible supportive and are always there to help me when I need them.  They even came to visit me and see how I live everyday.  It was awesome to share that with them.
  • My sister, even though while growing up we didn’t get along super well, she is always there when I need someone to talk to and I am blessed to have her in my life.
  • My friends, I have a great group of friends that always know how to cheer me up if I am having a bad day and even though we all lead busy lives we still find time to connect even though we are 10 hours apart.
  • Skype….It has made this experience much easier.  I can only image it would have been much more difficult serving in the Peace Corps when internet was not as readily available.
  • Other Peace Corps volunteers.  There is an awesome group of people in Moldova, they are very welcoming and I have made some amazing friendships to take back with me.
  • The great Moldovans I have met, including both my host families. I have gotten to know some great people in Moldova, that even with the little they have always make sure I am taken care of.

I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving.  Eat some delicious food.  I am so excited for next year to be home and have my Dad’s stuffing….I miss it 🙂


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Festivalul Cartofului (Potato Festival)

On November 11,  I went to a potato festival in a village about 90 minutes north of where I live.  The ride to get there was a long and obnoxious process that I talked about Here.

The festival was put together by the organization that one of my fellow volunteers works with.  He invited some of us to go check it out.  The festival was full of food, wine,  the hora (Moldovan dance) and even the Prime Minister made a visit.

After the festival I walked to the center of the village with two other volunteers, John and Shelbi, who live in the larget town about 30 minutes away.  Since we weren’t seeing any buses we decided to hitchhike back to Briceni.  John and Shelbi live in Briceni and that is where I was hoping to catch my bus back to Riscani.  We ended up catching a ride with a young family who was out in the village visiting their extended family.  The daughter was also in one of John’s English classes.  That night I ended up staying with John and Shelbi since my bus never arrived (somewhat common in Moldova), and Monday morning I made my way back to site.

    

If you want to see more pictures from the event, check out there official Facebook album here.

O zi buna!


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Lesson Learned: Don’t be in a hurry

A few weeks ago I traveled down to the capital early Saturday morning because a group of volunteers and I were visiting an orphanage about 45 minutes away.  My original plan for that Saturday was to takethe last bus back to my site at 6 PM, and then on Sunday head further north to a potato festival.  I changed my mind last minute when I saw how many of my fellow volunteers were in town, and ended up helping test a simulation game for Moldovan youth about the frozen conflict with Transnistria.  The next morning, Sunday, my plan was to go to a Potato Festival in a village outside of the town Briceni.  Briceni is about 4 hours away from the capital so I set my alarm for 5:30 AM so I could be at the bus station around 6.   I pushed snooze several times, got a little lost when I went outside due to the thick fog and ended up making it to the station around 7 AM.

Once at the station, two different drivers thought I should go in their rutiera.  I ended up taking my seat in one, gave the driver my money then was told I should go get in the other one.  Unlike the first one, this rutiera was empty, and as we were pulling out to leave another passenger joined me.  I took a nice nap, and then after stopping to pick up two more passenger my driver pulled off the road to what looked like someones house to get the rutiera fixed.  The driver gave us no explanation, and for the next 90 minutes we sat there in the cold van.  (Rutiera’s aren’t usually heated in the winter.)  We then continued on our way and finally I made it to my first destination, Briceni, a little after noon.  I got on another bus and went out to the festival to meet my friends.

The whole time I was sitting on the cold rutiera I was getting angry and frustrated because the driver never told us why he was stopping or how long he would be stopped for.  Then I remembered that somethings are out of my control and I really should just sit back and relax.  So remember, don’t be in too much of a hurry, sometimes life has other plans for you.

This was my view for the 90 minutes I was waiting in the rutiera

O zi buna!