Yesterday, on Saturday morning, my host mom knocked on my door to tell me to get up and get ready, because we were going to a baptism! “Well, okay,” I thought, “I haven’t been to a baptism here, so I guess I might as well go.” A couple of hours later, when we were both dressed and ready, we headed out. My host mom mentioned something about Chisinau, so I assumed the baptism was in Chisinau. Spoiler alert: it wasn’t. We walked down the main road in town for a bit, then a car picked us up and took us to Causeni, the nearest big town, where we took a rutiera* to Chisinau. There, we met a host aunt and host cousin. The host aunt explained that she couldn’t come to the baptism but gave us some bags with gifts to take. We waited some more (I think in all we waited almost 2 hours), and eventually my host sister came. She also couldn’t make it and gave us another bag of gifts to take with us. At this point, I had realized the baptism wasn’t in Chisinau, so I asked my host mom where we were headed. Dubasarii Vechi. I hadn’t heard of there before, so I googled it. So we were headed north!
Eventually, the rutiera came, and we managed to get seats. I think it was about another one and a half to two hours before we arrived in Dubasarii Vechi. From what I saw, I believe it’s a fairly small town. We walked to my host brother’s place. I was greeted by Valerica, the host niece that was visiting for the first couple of weeks at site. I also got to meet her baby sister, Eva, who the baptism was for. After meeting most of my my host-sister-in-law’s family, we headed to the church. The ceremony was fairly similar to baptisms I’ve experienced in the United States (I grew up in a protestant church). The main differences: the ceremony was held as a completely separate service, the godparents were much more involved, and it was longer.
After the baptism, we walked back to the house, where there was a very nice masa**. According to some of the guests, I “look Moldovan” and they thought I was my host mother’s actual daughter, and were wondering why I was so quiet (although I understand a lot when speaking one-on-one, it’s a lot harder when there are a lot of people). When they found out I was American, they started to try to set me up with various male family members and acquaintances. My host mom tried to tell them I’m young and have plenty of time, but they responded with “She’s 22! I had 2 kids when I was 22!”. It’s a regular occurrence here, so I’ve learned to just laugh it off. As it was getting dark, we headed out, along with several bags full of food to take with us.
I enjoyed getting to meet more of my extended host family! It was a very busy, long day, so I slept really good last night!
*Rutiera: a mini-bus (kind of like an extra-large van). / **Masa: literally table, but it is also used for meal or, as in this case, a special meal for a celebration.