As I’ve mentioned, I’m sharing a photo and a look back on my favorite memories in moments in Moldova for each of my last 100 days here. I’m counting down, so here are days 75-71. See all of my “Last 100 Days” posts here.
Earlier today I watched a short video an American who has traveled to every country in the world. The video included a picture and a short anecdote about each of the countries. It was an interesting peek into the various parts of the world. And then Moldova came up on the list…and I was so disappointed. There was a picture of a man ice fishing and the traveler simply said, “Very cold.” That’s it.
Why did this make me feel disappointed? I truly believe Moldova is a beautiful country, and although my time here has not been without its challenges, I’ve really loved the opportunity to live here for two years. If I could edit the video I watched this morning, I would say something like this: “It’s a beautiful country with sunflower fields stretching as far as the eye can see, and incredibly welcoming, wonderful people”. I would also recommend that this traveler return during the warmer months.
Winter is long and cold here, and while there are some snowy days with everything coated in a fresh layer of white snow that are really beautiful, Moldova presents its best self during the warmer months. In the past few weeks, Moldova has emerged fully from spring and begun to bloom. The grass is a vibrant green and daffodils and tulips are sprouting up in gardens throughout my village. The plentiful fruit trees are full of delicate white and pink blooms. Baby goats and lambs frolic in the fields. Garden plots have been plowed and planting has begun, showing the deep, nutrient soil. The birds are singing and the children can be heard outside laughing as they play.
Soon, summer will come, and those fields will be turned into various shades of green, tan, and yellow as the corn, wheat, and sunflowers grow. The days will be consistently hot, and the days will become a bit more lazy as people must take breaks at the hottest period of each day. Fresh juicy fruits and vegetables will fill the outdoor markets in every village, town, and city. The smell of barbecues will fill the air. Flowers of every kind will grow along fences and in front gardens.
I, for one, am very happy the warmer months have returned and with them, Moldova’s true beauty. So, if you’ve ever considered visiting Moldova, you might just be (pleasantly) surprised! Just maybe plan your trip for the spring or summer!
*See my posts about places to visit in Moldova here.
As I’ve mentioned, I’m sharing a photo and a look back on my favorite memories in moments in Moldova for each of my last 100 days here. I’m counting down, so here are days 80-76. See all of my “Last 100 Days” posts here.
As I’ve mentioned, I’m sharing a photo and a look back on my favorite memories in moments in Moldova for each of my last 100 days here. I’m counting down, so here are days 85-81. See all of my “Last 100 Days” posts here.
Life as a Peace Corps volunteer challenges a lot of notions we have about how life should be. One example: my best friend in Moldova for the past two years? She just turned 8 yesterday. A lot of other volunteers’ best friends in Moldova are also much younger or much older. In a lot of Moldovan villages and even larger towns, there aren’t a lot of younger adults, since many of them are working and living abroad. Since the majority of volunteers are in their 20s (though there are also others in their 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60s!), this means that most of us have friends that are either kids or significantly older than us.
For many of us, some of our first friends at site are kids. Why? Kids don’t see the barriers that many adults might- they are open, friendly, and don’t care how well we speak their language. Play, whether tag or hide-and-seek, is an international language. Kids are also patient and naturally helpful. And so many of the first relationships volunteers develop with locals are with kids.
In my case, my best (and first) friend at site is my now-8-year-old host niece Valerica. She was six when we first met, on the day I moved to my village. She came to pick me up from the capital with my host mom (her grandma).
When we arrived in my village, she took my hand and said, “Let’s play!”. My host mom often tells others about how she was so nervous when I first moved in, saying “I thought she [me] would be so bored and lonely. And she only spoke a bit of Romanian! But Valerica just started playing with her, and it wasn’t a problem at all!”
She doesn’t live in my village, but visits during the school breaks and spent much of last summer here. She is cute, funny, smart, energetic, and loves to spend every minute with me. One of her favorite activities is to pretend to be a fotomodel or model and have me be her photographer. I usually indulge her.
I will miss her so much when I leave, but I hope she’s old enough that she will remember me. And I hope that someday she can come visit me in the United States!