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)

Last 100 Days, Days 45-41

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 45-41.  See all of my “Last 100 Days” posts here.

Day 45: Three of my host nieces spent about half of the summer at our house while visiting their grandparents (my host parents). I spent a lot of time with them playing, making them “English food”, and helping my host mom watch them. (July 2017)
Day 44: One day while the younger host nieces were doing something with my host mom, my host niece Valerica decided to dress up in my things. She loves to pretend to be a “photo model” and has quite the attitude! She certainly makes us all laugh. (July 2017)
Day 43: One of the highlights of my two years in Moldova was having the opportunity to welcome my American parents to my village. We spent about 3 days with my host family and it was so special to see the parents that raised me spend time with the family that has taken care of me during my time here in Moldova. (July 2017)
Day 42: While my parents were in Moldova, we visited the city of Comrat with my host dad. Comrat is the capital of the semi-autonomous region of Gagauzia. This region speaks primarily Russian, as well as Gagauz (a version of Turkish) and have a unique culture and traditions. (July 2017)
Day 41: Together with my parents and my host sister, we visited the Purcari Winery. This winery produces some of the best wine in Moldova and is located in the region I live in. We took a tour and did a tasting. (July 2017)

Last 100 Days, Days 50-46

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 50-46.  See all of my “Last 100 Days” posts here.

Day 50: To make up for an extra day off for school, we had school one Saturday in May. Instead of regular lessons, our school had a sports day. The younger students played different games at the school, and the older kids headed to the village’s sports’ field to play various games and competitions. (May 2017)
Day 49: The last day of school in Moldova is called “Last Bell” and there is a large ceremony to celebrate the end of another school year. A first grade girl sits on the shoulders of a 9th grade boy, ringing a large bell to signal the end of school. Since our village’s school only provides education until 9th grade (after that, students travel to other towns and cities), it was also a bit of a goodbye to the 9th graders. (May 2017)
Day 48: The first day of summer vacation is Children’s Day, a holiday celebrated across the country. Students of various ages sang, danced, and played at our local park as part of the celebration, and then every student received free ice cream. (June 2017)
Day 47: The teachers from my school decided to go on a day trip after school had ended. We traveled to the north of the country, where we visited the Saharna and Tipova monasteries. On our way home, we stopped to have a picnic. It was a lot of fun to go on a trip with my colleagues and we all enjoyed spending time with each other outside of school. (June 2017)
Day 46: Moldova has an abundance of fresh, delicious cherries! These cherries were picked from a tree in our garden and they were so tasty! (June 2017)