There's Something about Mary

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

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Sunflower Season

One of my favorite parts about being in Moldova is how beautiful the countryside is.  Moldova had lots of rain the first 2 weeks of June and it has made everything very green and wonderful to look at while taking buses from my site to Chisinau.  This past week I was also able to see the start of sunflower season, where in some instances you can see sunflowers for miles.  Sunflowers make me happy and in the future will always remind me of Moldova.  Last week while I was walking across Moldova with a group of Peace Corps volunteers we spotted a few sunflower fields and then had a photo shoot.

O zi buna.


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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!


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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Agricultura Ecologica

About 3 weeks ago, I helped my partner prepare for a seminar about organic farming.  All I actually did was put together some packets.  As it turns out though, no one showed up, so the seminar never happened.  I was pretty disappointed and I felt bad for my partner because she had put in all sorts of work for nothing.  I couldn’t read her expressions though, so I am not sure how she felt about it.

On Friday as I was about to go home, she asked me if I wanted to go to Mihaeli (sp?) on Sunday.  I had nothing else planned so I said yes, and we agreed to meet at the office at noon on Sunday.  When I arrived on Sunday, I still wasn’t sure exactly what we were going to be doing, but we grabbed all the stuff from the seminar that never took place, loaded in a car and drove the 12 km to Mihaeli (sp?).  When we got there I realized that another volunteer lives in that village, so I called him up and he came down to join the seminar.  The seminar was suppose to start 1, and I don’t think it really did start till about 1:30, we sat around in the mayors office and looked at the pictures he had taken of town events.  Once the seminar started, me and the other volunteer walked around his village, he showed me the school, his house and then we stopped for a beer.

After the seminar ended, my partner and I drove to the house of one of the ladies who attended.  She uses the “agricultura ecologica” that my partner was talking about.  Here are some pictures.  Her tomatoes were delicious, and at the end, she gave us a bag full!



I also have a thing for corn fields, and I can’t figure out why they put the dry stalks together like this…but it still makes for some good pictures.


Noapte buna!