Today, we had our final session with our language instructor, Galina. Only this time, it wasn’t a language session, but rather a history session.
Our Last Language Class:
After our history session, Galina had two more quick language activities for us before she could send us on our way. First, she wrote poems about each of us in Romanian. She posted them all on the board, and then we had to guess who each one was about. It was a really fun activity! Some were much easier to guess (especially the one that spoke about moving with his wife–there is only one married man in our group, so that was easy-peasy!), and some were a bit harder to figure out. Some were also quite funny, while others were more serious. Here is the poem she wrote about me (first in Romanian, and then I’ll try my best to provide an English translation):
Permanent e zâmbitoare
Cu româna stă prea bine
Nu știe cuvântul lene.
Are nume de regină
Foarte activă la română.
Are fani printre elevi
Cine este, cine crezi?
The translations goes something like this: Permanently is smiling / Miss teacher / with Romanian is quite well (good) / She doesn’t know the word laziness / She has the name of a queen / She is very active in Romanian / She has fans (admirers) through her students / Who is she, who do you think?
We also got some “wishes” or “fortunes”. I received two: the first said, “O să te căsătorești în Moldova peste doi ani” (you will be married in Moldova in 2 years), and the second said “O să lucrezi în Moldova 5 ani” (you will work in Moldova 5 years). I guess the two really do go together :).
A Brief History of Moldova Lesson:
As I mentioned, we also learned about the history of Moldova today. Moldova has a long and complicated history. The first civilization in the area that is now Moldova was that of the Dacians. The civilization lasted from the 18th to 16th centuries BC. The Dacians were tall and blond, characteristics that are pretty rare in Moldova today.
In 106 AC, the land was conquered by the Roman Empire, which is where the physical characteristics of today’s Moldovans came from (darker hair and slightly darker skin). The Roman Empire built a lot, as well as imposed their alphabet and culture on the Dacians. This is why Romanian uses the Latin alphabet and has much in common with the other Romance languages. The Roman Empire only ruled the land for about 2 centuries.
After the Roman Empire left, there was a period of relative calm, with some small, minor wars. In 1359, a medieval state began in which the name Moldova first popped up. It was at this time part of Romania, which consisted of 3 states: Transilvania, Muntenia, and Moldova. The area that was called Moldova included the present-day country of Moldova, as well as a large part of present-day Romania. Stefan cel Mare (Steven the Great), considered the greatest ruler in the history of Moldova (but he wasn’t a king- only a ruler), ruled the state of Moldova from 1457-1504. He fortified the borders and won 46 out 0f 48 battles that he fought (primarily against the Turks). After each victory, he built a church or monastery. Although some are located in present-day Moldova, many are located in present-day Romania. In Moldova, he built the famous Soroca fortress.
After his rule, the Ottoman Empire ruled Moldova from the 16th to 18th centuries. Although the Turks/Ottomans conquered the land, they did not impose their culture or language on the Moldovans.
In 1812, the Moldovan Empire divided into two parts. One part (present-day Romania) was taken by the Turks, while the other part (present-day Moldova) became a province of the Russian Empire. The province of Moldova, ruled by the Russian Empire, existed from 1812-1918. In 1918, the council of Moldova declared it wanted to be reunited with Romania, and it was a part of Romania from 1918 to 1940.
In 1940, Moldova became part of the Soviet Union as part of an agreement between Stalin and Hitler. During World War II, about half of the population served in the Soviet Army, while the other half served in the Romanian Army (under Hitler). In 1944, the Soviet Army took over. From 1944 to November 27, 1991, Moldova was part of the Soviet Union as one of the 15 Soviet Republics. A national movement had begun in 1989, and in 1991, Moldova was declared an independent state and the first democratic elections were held. The communist parties continued to hold the power until 2009, when the democratic parties gained control for the first time. They continue to maintain control today. The next election is this fall.
In addition to an overview of Moldovan history, we also learned about life under Soviet rule, including both the negative and positive aspects.
It was very interesting to learn more about the history. It’s one thing to learn about the history of countries other than your own when you are sitting in a classroom in the United States. It is a very different thing to learn about the history of another country when sitting in a classroom in that country and being taught by someone who has lived there throughout some of that history.