Well today and is Sunday and it is the only day of the week that I don't have to wake up at 7:30 to get ready to go to language class. Likewise I used this opportunity to catch up on some much needed sleep miraculously awaking at 10 o'clock. A new record. While the sleep was much appreciated I did feel a little guilty because I was supposed to wake up earlier and head out to the Orthodox church this morning. But I think I'd rather save that experience for when I speak Romanian a little better anyway.
As a sort of divinely appointed penance for my slothfulness, at breakfast this morning I was finally presented with the Moldovan food of my nightmares. Chicken Jello. Yes Chicken Jello. Think of jello, change the color to a pale yellow and imagine instead of chunks of pineapple or grapes there is instead two whole chicken legs floating in the middle. My Romanian is not so good so I still have a lot to learn about talking my way out of situations so despite my best efforts I still ended up with a little chicken Jello on my plate. I built up my courage and was able to force myself to take a bite. Surprisingly it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be…don't get me wrong I didn't go back for seconds but I would relate the taste to cold KFC gravy with a little extra salt. Edible just different from what I'm used to. Which is something I am learning to appreciate more and more. (And if I was to make a comparison, at least all Moldovan food is very natural, compared to most American food which is packed full of preservatives and artificial ingredients.)
Moldovans in the town that I live in do things a lot like I am used to but with slight differences and it is getting easier and easier to appreciate and acknowledge the differences in our cultures. The town that I am living in now, however, is more of a suburb of the capital city and I am sort of curious about what the more rural parts of Moldova are like. I won't have to wonder for too long as we are scheduled to visit our permanent sites in early July. I think that the situation I have now is the best situation Peace Corps could have given me. I have a lot of set rules to follow, a lot of my time is already planned and I am near the capital. So everyday is not as much as a culture shock as it might have been in another town in Moldova. Makes it a lot easier for me to get used to living in a new culture and learning a new language in a place that isn't as much of a culture shock as I was expecting. And learning a foreign language is so much easier when you can leave the classroom and test everything you just learned with every person you pass on the street in contrast to in learning it in high school or college where that is nearly impossible unless you are lucky to have a friend that is already familiar with the language. In addition the the handy practice I get from the unsuspecting Moldovans I am also extremely lucky to have the best Romanian teacher I could ask for. She has been teaching Romanian to Peace Corps volunteers since the beginning of the program 20 years ago and teaches either French or Russian when she isn't teaching Romanian, that's language training experience you cant argue with. Our class even asked her why she never taught English and she said teaching three languages was, "sufficient" even though her English is very fluent and accent free.
So you will understand when I say that I feel very confident that by the time I leave my training I will be as prepared as I can be for my Peace Corps service and so incredibly thankful that everything has worked out as it has so far.