There's Something about Mary

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


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20 Facts About Moldova

Some fun facts about Moldova 🙂

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  1. Moldova is placed the 12th among the top world wine exporters.
  2. Vine growing and wine making in Moldova counts for almost 5,000 years.
  3. The largest underground wine cellar in the world, Cricova, is “hidden” in this country.
  4. The Milestii Mici’s wine collection of 1.5 million bottles has been included in the Guinness World Records at the category The Largest Quality Wine Collection in the World.
  5. Strong Drinks Museum, in Tirnauca village, is the largest building in the world in the shape of a bottle (28m).
  6. There are 30 monasteries (some of them dating back to 15th century) and wood churches.
  7. The second official language of Gagauzia, situated in the south of Moldova, is a dying out language, with only 200000 speakers.
  8. Russia still has 2,500 troops and 22,000 tons of ammunition in Transnistria.
  9. The Cave “Emil Racovita”, in Criva, is the 8th greatest…

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Lately

Lately, my life seems to be going by really quickly.  In less than 4 short months I will be an RPCV (Returned Peace Corps Volunteer) and on my way to meet my good friend in SE Asia for a trip before traveling back to the US. 

Here is a little bit of what I have been up to lately:

  • Daylight savings- It happened in the US almost 2 weeks ago, but Europe doesn’t switch it clocks until the 31st of March, and since I like my laptop to be on West coast time, I have been realyl confused for couple weeks.  Luckily this confusion will end soon.
  • Eye problems-Last week my contact was giving my some problems, so I switched to my awesome Happy Potter-ish glasses.   I am not entirely sure what the issue is, but I am still wearing the glasses, and today when I talked with the doctor at PC they instructed me to keep wearing them and gave me some eye drops that will hopefully help.  Also she said no mascarea.  😦
  • Consolidation – Tuesday we had a practice consolidation point test.  My consolidation point is in Balti, so not far, but also not fun to have to go to after a 6:15 AM wake-up call.  The consolidation point is used incase there is some sort of emergency in the country, our safety and security officer will contact the staff, then the staff member contacts a designated volunteer (warden) and then the warden contacts the volunteers on his/her list.  Hopefully we won’t ever need a real consolidation!
  • Work- I am currently closing up my project that I won last year, which pretty much just means a lot of paperwork to fill out.  And I am also handing off leadership positions that I held for committees within PC to the M27s to take over for next year. 
  • Vacation – Tonight I leave for vacation.  I am starting in Romania to visit 2 PCV friends I have there and then going to Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia for 2 weeks.  Also I found out yesterday that the day I get back, my host mom leaves for a 3 week trip to Ukraine, so I won’t get to see her for most all of April.  It will be weird not to have her around.  😦

And lastly Go Zags!!  Good luck in the NCAA tournament!


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Making Sarmale

Back in September before my parents were coming to visit I helped my host mom in Ciorescu prepare sarmale.  Sarmale is a tradional Moldovan dish of rice, vegetables and sometimes meat, wrapped in either cabbage or grape leaves.  They are very popular throughout central and eastern Europe, and like many other Moldovan dishes, every family has their own recipe.  I did find out that they are harder to wrap then they look, and I was much slower at it than my host mom.

Also, here is a link to a recipe for sarmale from one of my favorite food blogs: http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2009/02/alexs-moms-stuffed-cabbage/

O zi buna!


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My Best Friend in the Winter

One question that I get asked a lot by people in the US, is how I stay warm in Moldova.  To answer the question of how I stay warm I always answer “my soba” and then I get blank stares or silence because not many people know what a soba is.  It is a stove that  is in almost every Moldovan house.   Some use gas, but most are run on wood and/or coal.  They are built with bricks and some also use ceramic tile.  The heat is radiated from the bricks and it is able to heat the surrounding rooms in a house.  My host mom takes care of the soba for me, she starts it around 4 pm and then keeps adding coal throughout the evening so it is nice and warm throughout most of the night.  So the soba is my best friend all winter because it keeps me nice and warm on the cold winter nights.

Hopefully the soba won’t need to be used much more as tomorrow is the first day of Spring in Moldova!

O zi buna


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Host Dads Birthday

In August it was my host dad, from Ciorescu’s, birthday.  I offered to make him a cake.  Cakes in Moldova are not the same as cakes in the US.  I am not sure what it is that is different, but usually they tend to be a lot sweeter.  He said he wanted chocolate, so the night before I made a chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream frosting.  I got to their house around 5, and my host mom and host sister were busy preparing food, along with a neighbor and a few other ladies I knew.  I asked how I could help and worked with 2 of the ladies on preparing a salad.  The table was set up outside and around 8, we finally started putting the food out on the table and other people started showing up.  We all sat down to eat, had some toasts and listened to some Moldovan music.  Later on karaoke was sung, and their was lots of dancing.  Overall it was a very enjoyable night, and I think I went up to bed around 4 AM.

   

 

(More photos can be seen on my Facebook page.)

O zi buna!