Life Lately in Moldova

Peace Corps Moldova

I was awoken at 2:30 in the morning last night to an earthquake.  This morning, I found out the epicenter was in Romania, and it was a 5.5 earthquake.  The room shook pretty good, but nothing in my room fell at all.  And it was pitch black, so I wasn’t able to see anything.  I just stayed in bed under several layers of blankets (it’s cold here at night!), and when it finished, promptly fell back asleep.  I think under normal circumstances, it might have alarmed me more, but I was so tired, I wasn’t really processing what was happening.

In other news, I’ve read 5 books in the past week.  Despite working and teaching and planning, I have wayyyy too much free time on my hands.  I’m hoping to fill that time soon with an English club or other club with students, but I’m still figuring out what they want and need, so it’ll be a bit until I start that.  Although I’m bored, I do love that I’ve rekindled my love of reading and that I have the time to read for fun.  I’ve read almost 15 books since arriving here, and I think that’s more than I had read in the 2 years prior to that.  I had gotten some books from the Peace Corps lounge, but now that I’ve made my way through them, I’ve been very happy to have a tablet that I can use with e-books.  I still prefer a real book, but it sure is convenient to have an e-reader!

The weather is finally feeling like fall!  This past week was actually rather cool, and I even wore lined stockings one day!  I think after the hottest summer I’ve ever experienced, my body is having more trouble adjusting to the cool weather.  At night, it’s been quite cold.  My host mom has mentioned that she’s never started heating the house with the soba this early, but that she thinks she might have to, as it has been freezing in the house at night.  I’ve been pretty comfortable with a big pile of blankets and a couple of layers of clothes.  I’m really glad I was able to squeeze my favorite blanket from home into my suitcase.  It’s warm and has been keeping me warm for the past 10+ years, and it seems to be doing the job just as well now.  The only problem is staying warm if I need to make a late-night trip to the outhouse (and I know it’s only going to get colder) or when I have to climb out of my warm nest in the morning- brr!

I am seriously craving “American” foods, namely my mom’s cooking (especially mac and cheese!).  I also really want to bake.  I’m trying to figure out how to make chocolate chip cookies without brown sugar.  I’ve heard it might be possible to get brown sugar in Chisinau, but haven’t had time while there to see.

I think that’s all for my rambling thoughts.

Less Than Two Weeks…

I’m finally past the two-weeks-until-Peace-Corps-staging point.  In just a week and a half, I’ll be heading to Philadelphia for staging.  Staging is a 2-3 days of training that occurs in the United States before you depart to your country of service.  In other words, staging is the point at which you say goodbye to all of your friends and family members and start your journey in the Peace Corps.

I have to admit, it was a bit of a shock to come back from our South Africa trip and realize I only had about 3 weeks left before I left.  Before our trip, it still felt like a safe distance away, but three weeks is pretty close!  I’m definitely getting a  bit stressed at the moment.  There’s a lot to do before I leave- buying last minute items, getting things settled at my bank, figuring out loan deferment, getting prescriptions sorted out, visiting and spending time with my loved ones, figuring out how to pack everything into so few bags, and much more.  I’ve also been subbing at our local elementary school, which I’m thoroughly enjoying, but it’s also taking away from the time I could be spending getting things crossed off my 2-page to-do list.  My lists have gotten a little out of hand…I have a to-do list, of course, but I also have…approximately 3 packing lists, a list of passwords for all of my online accounts, a list of luggage information, a list of days I’m subbing at school, a list of the people I want to see before I leave, and a list of things I still need to get.  I’ve always been a list-maker.  Just ask my mom- she’s always been a little annoyed by the hundreds of lists she finds all over the house.  But I think this time takes the cake- my mom actually told me today that she’s “never seen [me] make so many lists!”.  Oops!  I think there’s just so much swirling through my head, and I’m worried if I don’t write it all down, I’ll forget to do it.

I’ve also been a bit emotional the past couple of days (but I totally blame the season finale of NCIS on my excess emotion tonight!).  That’s not necessarily unusual for me, though.  I’m trying really hard not to think of all of the goodbyes and such that are coming.  Or the hundreds of little things I need to do.

Random Tidbits

Hello everyone!  I hope the weather is nice in your corner of the world and that you’ve had a good weekend!  Here are some random tidbits from my life:

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Hard at work (see #7 below)

1) I went to Rochester, NY for the weekend to visit one of my best friends from high school.  It was a fun weekend- we went to the St. Patty’s Day Parade, hung out, and I got to meet a bunch of her college friends.  She lives really close to downtown and I was impressed with the city.  It was actually a bit nicer than I expected.

2) I got my first sunburn of the year while watching the parade!  I was smart enough to put sunscreen on my face, but I didn’t think to put it on my neck/chest.  Luckily, I was wearing a long-sleeved crew-neck shirt and pants, so only a little bit of skin was showing!  I’m very pale-skinned and I burn very easily.  I try my best to make sure I cover up or wear sunscreen, but it still happens several times a year.  A summer never goes by without getting burnt at least a couple of times, despite my best efforts.

3) The weather has been really nice this past week!  Incredibly warm and sunny for upstate New York in March!  It’s been great to be able to open the windows and air out my college apartment, as well as soak up the sun while walking to and from my classes.  About halfway through last week, though, I realized I’m very short on short-sleeved more casual t-shirts.  I went shopping briefly on Wednesday, but didn’t end up getting any shirts- will need to go back soon!  I have a couple gift cards, so I guess those will be put to good use.

4) Speaking of clothes shopping, I’ve been working on figuring out what to bring to Moldova with me and what I still need to purchase clothes-wise.  It’s a little tricky, because we only get 2 suitcases and have to pack for four distinct seasons.  I got a really nice winter coat for Christmas, and I’ve ordered LLBean Bean boots (they should work as both winter boots and rain boots), but I’m still looking for a pair of black dressier (ish) boots that have good rubber soles and a good tread.  I found a pair I loved, but they didn’t come in wide-calf and the regular-calf ones didn’t fit.  Depending on where my permanent placement is, it might only be acceptable to wear dresses and skirts (and no pants), so I’ve also been trying to build up my dress and skirt wardrobe.  I don’t really mind wearing dresses and skirts (although it is a bit harder to keep warm, so I’m still working on figuring out that piece), but don’t have many.  I bought two dresses and a skirt at Old Navy last week, and also ordered a skirt and a couple of dresses from ThredUp (but ended up returning the dresses- they didn’t fit.  I love the skirt though!).  We’re getting there!

5) We were out of eggs all week last week, but we finally got some, so I made some banana bread this afternoon- we had a few very over-ripe bananas that worked perfectly for bread!  I already had two slice- yum!

6) The end of my undergraduate college experience is getting closer and closer each day!  This semester has been flying by very quickly, and the end is fast approaching.  It’s definitely bittersweet.  I’m really excited to start my new adventure and a new chapter of my life, but there are many things I will definitely miss about college.  It’s been a (mostly) good four years, and I’ll be sad to leave.

7) I’ve been putting off the dreaded edTPA (a portfolio-based assessment to become certified for teaching in New York State) since the fall.  I made a little progress over Christmas break and my February break, but really need to tackle it and get it done in the next couple of weeks.  I spent about 5 hours this afternoon/evening getting some of the lesson plans done, which apparently requires spreading papers across half of the living room floor (see photo above)- oops!  Guess I should clean that up before I head to bed!

Snow and Ice and Rain, Oh My!

I don’t know what the weather’s like in your neck of the woods, but it is especially icky here.  The temperature is hovering right around freezing, it has been raining all day, and the ground is solid ice.  My college didn’t cancel classes, so I’ve had to already brave the horrid sidewalks and have to again in a bit for my afternoon class.  I stepped in a puddle that was 3-4 inches deep (there was no other option-things are flooding!) on my way to my morning class.  The water was so, so cold!  It felt like my toes got to hang out in an ice bath for way too long.  Not fun.  Then after my class, I went to the campus post office to send some letters and check my mail, and the little incline up to the post office was entirely ice!  Very scary.  I’ve survived thus far, though, and my feet finally have feeling back in them after an hour in my warmest, dry-est pair of socks.  I don’t have rain boots, so hiking boots it is for the walk to my second class!  Hopefully, they’ll keep me nice and dry!

I have to admit, though, I didn’t feel so bad about the weather once I called my mom.  My hometown got into the -20s/-30s over the weekend and lost power for over 12 hours.  Most people have electric furnaces, so this has wrecked havoc across town.  Even a couple of days after heat has been restored, people are discovering burst pipes in places that seemed fine yesterday.  My grandparent’s house (they’re in Florida for the winter) has leaks, our church has leaks, the middle/high school has burst pipes, our other properties are still thawing out but most likely have leaks.  Add to that a number of fires, and you’ve got a very miserable February break.  My mom told me the firefighters haven’t sleep in over 2 days, and are running out of food and drink supplies.

I saw someone post on Facebook that at least it’s not snow.  I disagree.  I’d much prefer snow to this icky weather.  At least snow is easier to remove from the sidewalk than inches of water!  And it’s definitely more beautiful.  It has certainly been a weird winter.  It’s been way warmer than usual and we’ve only gotten a dusting of snow here and there.  And now this yucky ice/rain mixture.  It’s only February, but I’m thinking spring can come now (and I generally like winter!).

Update: I didn’t get this posted earlier, so I’m going to add the update that it’s now snowing big fat snowflakes and it seems a lot better out there.

How’s the weather where you live?  Any fun weather-related stories?

My Wishes for 2016

quote for blog

I still struggling to believe that it’s already 2016!  Instead of goals or resolutions this year, I wanted to share some of my wishes for the year to come.  As much as I enjoy making my yearly goals, I know that this year is going to be very different and include many varied experiences, so I wasn’t sure what goals to make.  Thus, wishes for the year to come instead.

I wish for happiness.

Regardless of where I’m living or what I’m doing, I hope this is a year filled with happiness and joy.

I wish to experience growth.

This will be a year full of change for me, and I hope that as I go through those big life changes, that I experience growth and change for the better.

I wish to make new friends.

As I leave college behind and move to new places, I hope to forge good, valuable friendships.

I wish that I handle hardships with grace and patience.

With big changes come hardships.  I hope that I handle those hardships well, and use them to grow rather than get upset and give up.

I wish to try new things.

This also goes along with growing as a person, but I hope to have the courage to try new things, whether it is trying new foods, going new places, or experiencing new things.

I wish to live life to the fullest.

I want this year to be a year in which I live life fully, without holding back.  I hope that this is a year in which I live the life I have always wanted.

I wish for peace.

In my life, in my communities, and in the world.

What are your wishes/resolutions/goals for the year to come?