Sunday, January 22, 2012

Another Weekend Getaway

My package from America finally made it to Moldova which meant I had to undergo yet another 4 hour train ride into the capital to pick it up. However, this time I ended up spending the night in Chisinau instead of hopping back on the train again which meant I was able to take it a lot easier than I normally do on my Chisinau trips where everything is planned out and nothing can go wrong.

Spending the night in Chisinau was a pleasant experience but it came about because of a very startling event, Margaret, the vice director of Peace Corps Moldova passed away from a brain aneurysm while she was vacationing with her family in America.  Her children came from America to Moldova and we had a memorial service for her on Sunday in the morning. As volunteers who had just undergone training we had spent a lot of time with Margaret this summer during our training as she was very much involved and was always around trying to get to know everyone. The Peace Corps office will never be the same without her there.

Because of the memorial service there were very many Americans wondering around Peace Corps and like always it was nice to just soak up the little bit of America we could from each other while we could. My package made the trip worth it on its own by finding a way to utilize every available space inside the box and was remarkable filled with things that I would have never known to ask for but was very glad to receive. My favorite being the cow tales which I havent had in so long even before I came to Moldova and also real American coffee. I cant wait to finally get some authentic caffeine in my system tomorrow even though my wake up time is a little later than usual on Mondays so the caffeine wont be as necessary.

Instead of staying at the hostel like I did the last time, this time I ended up spending the night with a group of friends in an apartment that we rented for the night that was located inside one soviet era block buildings that are infamously renowned. Apparently it is quite common for some of the apartments in the block buildings to be vacant and instead of letting them stay vacant the landlord or landladies decide to rent them off for the night to make a little extra money until they find a steady tenant. For comparison for us to stay at the hostel it is about 10 dollars for each person but to rent an apartment, because there were 5 of us, we were able to split the cost and it only cost about 7 dollars for each of us for the night. It was a very interesting experience because from the outside the building is very old, and in need of a lot of exterior work. Once you step inside nothing really changes and the building looks almost abandoned. As if no one has done repairs since the building was built. Bare concrete walls, flimsy handrails, and very dangerous looking electrical wirings...But once you go to the actual apartment everything changes. It was fully furnished with a bathroom, a bedroom, a kitchen that came complete with kitchen utensils, it even had very fashionable wallpaper and artsy paintings on the walls. The lady we rented from was a real character and spent the better part of 5 minutes showing us around and making our bed for us. After a while she gave me a quizzical look and asked me how old I was. When I told her I was 22 she laughed and told me she thought I was 18. Then she proceeded to say something in Romanian that none of us understood until she tried again with charades. Basically she offered to wrap me up in a blanket like a new born baby but I politely refused the offer.

 Later in the night a very hardworking and selfless volunteer made all of us brownies with ice cream smothered with chocolate sauce served with hot cocoa. At that moment we achieved perfection. And to keep the perfection lasting as long as possible we all quickly found our antacid/pepto bismal medicines to counteract any funny business that might occur from our ridiculous over indulgence of chocolate.

I think that is most of the important things to say. Other than to point out that it is now officially winter in Moldova. We have snow on the ground and it has been on the ground for a week and we are constantly getting more. I am happy to report, however, that my center of balance in Moldova is remarkably improved from America and not only can I walk down unsalted side walk streets covered in ice/freezing rain/snow mixtures and not fall, I can even do a running sprint and slide a good 15 feet without causing any physical harm to befall myself. But of course I say that with my fingers crossed.

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