So yesterday (Sunday) I got up earlier than I normally would have on a day off (no language classes) and headed out to meet the other volunteers at the school so we could walk around town together and catch our bearings. It was sort of awkward for me though because for the past few days I have been in Moldova the mother of the house I am living in has been on a trip to Turkey and has not been home. Apparently she had gotten home the night before after I had already gone to sleep and when I had left this morning before she had woken up she got super excited and called my language teacher wanting to know where her American had disappeared to…
Walking around the town was great because we have all been very limited in what we knew about the town. The buses only drove down some streets and drove super fast so it was hard to really get a grasp of mental map of the town in your mind. We ended up visiting an Alimentara (food shop) and I was delightfully amazed to find that most everything I could ever want can be obtained from it. Later we made our way to the city center and saw the cultural center and a monument to the people who died from Truseni during the separation of Transnistria from Moldova about 20 years ago. The best part of the journey was visiting one of the volunteers house and meeting his host mother who was super nice and very excited to invite us all inside (8 of us altogether.) Like many Moldovan women she made sure we didn't leave without trying her cherries and some yellow cake and of course showed us all pictures of her family.
I had to leave a little early because I wanted to be back to my house so that I could finally meet the head of the household. Luckily I had already had two language lessons and was somewhat prepared because she spoke zero English and was surprised by my level of Romanian…in a good way. Especially when she understood that I did not know any Romanian before I came to Moldova and that I had only had two language classes so far. However telling her that took a very long time, lots of broken Romanian and a handful of gestures. And again like most Moldovan women would do she made sure to send me straight to the kitchen and fixed me lunch with many Turkish sweets for dessert. Foarte gustos.
Afterwards I followed everyone outside and helped picked cherries while entertaining a 7-8 year old with strange new English words.
We came back in and had a quick dinner. To give you a better idea of what meals are like I am usually given my own plate and utensils while the rest of the family just kind of sits at the table one or two at a time and after one person is finished another person sits down and starts eating whatever the other person didn't eat adding more food to the plate as necessary. One large glass of water in the middle of the table suffices to keep everyone's thirst quenched. Made for a very lively dinner table.
After dinner I was invited by the older teenage (19) boy of the family to watch an American street dance movie that apparently he likes alike. I hadn't even seen previews for the movie so either it is super new and it was bootlegged from some Russian website (very possible) or it was just a low budget film with little publicity (also possible) but I knew it was at least somewhat new because it featured Alicia Keys and Jay Z's Empire State of Mind prominently. However the movie was dubbed in Russian so I had no idea what was going on which I think made it ten times more entertaining then it would have been normally. And if you thought foreign films were entertaining when dubbed into English you haven't seen anything. With Russian dubbing it is usually just one very burly sounding Russian guy dubbing the entire film, both male and female roles. And from what I have noticed it seems like it is the same guy that dubs every single film. Either that or all Russian men sound exactly the same.
Anyway, rather it was the "amazing" American movie or the fact that everyone was super tired from picking cherries all day, I don't know but when I looked around the room ten minutes after the start of the movie everyone was asleep. I was about to join them when 3 phones all rang at once to announce that it was time to head to the discotheque. Yes the disco.
Going out is taken very seriously by Moldovans and everyone prepares themselves as such for the occasion. Unluckily for us as soon as we left the house it started raining. Luckily, perhaps unluckily, we were merely one phone call away from a ride in a Mercedes. I say unluckily because I have only noticed one driving style consistent throughout the areas I have visited. Everyone drives super fast and there are no traffic rules. So as soon as the doors are closed and 6 people are packed into a 5 seated Mercedes, we are careening down the wet dirt road at 50 km an hour with little to zero visibility because of the rain/lightning.
I was counting my many blessings after we arrived at the building three drift turns later and was very let down to see the place we had arrived at reminiscent of a train's snack car. Altogether five tables and about twenty people. It was a nice place with a flat screen TV, refrigerated drinks, a radio blasting European/American pop music. However about five minutes in the lights flickered and we lost the radio and the TV and were left with just our drinks, some chips and a pack of cards to keep us entertained. On top of all that the cards were a Russian deck of cards and in case you didn't already know, with a Russian deck of cards there are only 36 in a deck, so I was completely lost with every card game they tried to play.
When we finally made it home we were greeted with a dark house and candles. Luckily my cell phone has an awesome flashlight function…not just the screen turning white, but an actual flashlight. This particular function has come in handy so much that it is single handedly helping to alleviate a little bit of the withdrawal from not having my smartphone. (That in addition to the fact that my phone plays snake...)
Ok that was super long and drawn out but I really wanted to write it down so I would be able to read it later and remember it for myself. I hope you enjoy.