Last 100 Days, Days 20-16

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 20-16.  See all of my “Last 100 Days” posts here.

Day 20: I went home to the U.S. for Christmas, but before I left, my host mom accompanied me to the capital. We spent the morning walking around the center, and then she and her friend went to the airport with me to wave me off. (December 2017)
Day 19: One of my favorite Moldovan New Year traditions takes place on January 14. Children go from house to house, wishing each household a healthy and good new year, while throwing seeds at the entrance of the house. The seeds are meant to be good luck in the harvest in the new year. (January 2018)
Day 18: After a cold day cooped up in my house, some neighborhood kids begged me to come sledding with them. Imagine my surprise when I was instead ambushed by a brutal snow fight! It was a lot of fun, but I’m not sure I would do it again- these kids are intense! (January 2018)
Day 17: For my second “English Week” in Moldova, my partners and I went all out! For two weeks, we organized English activities, played special games in classes, had various competitions, and our students made so many posters it was hard to find space on the entrance hallway walls to hang them up! (February 2018)
Day 16: I was excited to attend my second Moldovan wedding this past winter. I joined my host family at the wedding of my host cousin. It was simpler wedding than my first, but just as fun, with plenty of dancing and laughter. My host mom’s family has been so welcoming to me and I’m glad I got to spend time with them. (February 2018)

Last 100 Days, Days 25-21

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 25-21.  See all of my “Last 100 Days” posts here.

Day 25: In the fall, our village was honored to welcome two guests from Peace Corps headquarters in Washington, D.C. Our students greeted them with the traditional bread and salt, we showed them around our school, and talked about education and learning in Moldova. (October 2017)
Day 24: Each village celebrates “Hram”, village day, each year. My village’s hram is held on November 21st. I attended a nice concert at our Casa de Cultura as well as enjoyed a yummy meal at home with my host family. (November 2017)
Day 23: Spending the major U.S. holidays away from home can be a bit sad, but a group of volunteers from my region of Moldova got together in the capital to celebrate Thanksgiving. We ate a bunch of delicious, fully American foods and really enjoyed each other’s company. It was a fun celebration, even if we weren’t home with our families! (November 2017)
Day 22: As the beginning of winter approached, we talked about winter holidays at English Club. My site mate and I taught the students about how we celebrate Christmas, New Year, and Hanukkah. The students especially enjoyed learning how to play dreidel. (November 2017)
Day 21: We spent the month of December in English Club creating posters for a U.S. state project. Each group chose a state, researched it, then created and presented a poster about the state. The students were very involved and active, sometimes staying an hour after our club had officially ended to work on their posters. Several of the groups did a really great job, and they all learned something new. (December 2017)

Last 100 Days, Days 30-26

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 30-26.  See all of my “Last 100 Days” posts here.

Day 30: We celebrated International Day of Peace at our school by having a short assembly about the holiday, forming a peace sign in our school courtyard, and asking students to reflect what peace means to them. The students had wonderful responses, such as “Unity, nonviolence, and collaboration between people”. (September 2017)
Day 29: Almost every Moldovan family, especially those living outside the larger cities, have rows upon rows of grape vines, which they use to make large barrels of house wine. I spent one early evening helping my host family collect the grapes that were then turned into wine. (October 2017)
Day 28: One October day, my host mom called me on the phone and told me to come to the garden in the valley to eat strawberries. Despite being thoroughly confused (strawberries in the autumn??), I went and to my surprise, there were a bunch of ripe strawberries growing in the garden, which I picked and immediately devoured. (October 2017)
Day 27: Teacher’s Day was celebrated at our school with a number of assemblies and concerts at our school. Each teacher received an armful of flowers from the students, and I even got some chocolate! (October 2017)
Day 26: My school and I spent about half a year writing and implementing a grant project to renovate and modernize our school library. It was an exciting day in October when all of our hard work was finished and we celebrated the opening of the new library with a big celebration and guests from parliament as well as from Peace Corps staff. The new space is beautiful, but more importantly, it has modern technology and about 300 new books for students to loan and use. (October 2017)

Last 100 Days, Days 35-31

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 35-31.  See all of my “Last 100 Days” posts here.

Day 35: At the very end of summer, my sister Heather came to visit me. After over a year apart, it was great to spend time with her (and my host niece Valerica also really enjoyed her visit). We spent most of our time in my village, and she even got to attend the first day of school with me. (August 2017)
Day 34: My village went all out to celebrate both Language Day and Moldova’s Independence Day. There was a competition to see which women baked the tastiest breads and made the best sweets, sour cream, butter, and brinza (a kind of cheese), as well as games, dancing, and musical performances. (August 2017)
Day 33: At the very end of summer, right before school began, my sister, a volunteer friend, and my host family walked through the fields at the edge of the village. It was a warm, sunny day, and it was so peaceful as we walked. (August 2017)
Day 32: We visited a nearby winery, Et Cetera Winery, while my sister was in Moldova. It was a wonderful, relaxing way to celebrate the end of summer. We stayed overnight in their guesthouse and enjoyed a delicious breakfast and exploring the vineyard in the morning. (August 2017)
Day 31: My second year of teaching began like the first, with a “First Bell” ceremony indicating the beginning of a new school year. This time, I knew what to expect and was really able to just take in the sweet tradition of literally “ringing” in the new year. (September 2017)

Last 100 Days, Days 40-36

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 40-36.  See all of my “Last 100 Days” posts here.

Day 40: When my parents were in Moldova, we spent an afternoon exploring Soroca. Soroca is a city in the far north of Moldova and is primarily known for it’s fortress. The fortress was built during medieval times and has been well restored. (July 2017)
Day 39: My parents and I also visited Orhei Vechi, which most consider the most beautiful place in the country. Historians believe this area was the first settlement in what is current-day Moldova. There is a centuries old monastery built into caves here, as well as sweeping views of the river valley. (July 2017)
Day 38: During my trip with my parents to the northern part of Moldova I saw some of the largest and most gorgeous fields of sunflowers. They truly stretch on as far as the eye can see, and will be one of the things I will probably never forget about Moldova. (July 2017)
Day 37: One of my favorite memories so far of my time here is attending the Graduation Ball and Ceremony of my 9th grade students. It was held in the evening, with the ceremony occurring just before dusk. The rest of the night was spent eating and dancing until the early hours of the morning. It’s also when I finally learned how to dance the “hora”, Moldova’s national dance. (July 2017. Photo credit: Amir Feinberg)
Day 36: Another highlight of my summer was when the “Turul Moldovei”, a group of Peace Corps volunteers walking through the southeastern part of the country and spreading peace, visited my village and stayed with my host family for a night. We enjoyed a delicious meal and time with my host family in the evening, and in the morning met with some students and visited our public library and Casa de Cultura. (July 2017)