It all started on Saturday morning when me and my host mother were invited to the next door neighbors house for a praznic, or feast. Apparently it is customary on the 7th anniversary of your husbands death to invite others to you house as a sort of remembrance of their passing. As with all feasts or masas in Moldova there was a lot of food covering the whole table. Way more then the guest could ever hope to eat. And just to make sure the host makes sure to fill the table up with more and more dishes, literally piling them on top of other dishes to make room, in order to ensure that the table is always full and that the guests eat as much food as they can handle. To go along with the feasts the host also gave each of the guests a gift called a pomana. A pomana is a very common tradition in Moldovan culture and is the quintessential gift. It generally consists of bread, a candle, and some sort of token (a dish towel or handkerchief). Sometimes the pomana might also include some candy or cookies as well as a way to light the candle such as a box of matches. Once you receive the pomana it is always expected that you light the candle and thank the host for the gift.
We left the praznic quite suddenly as a majority of the guests stood up at once and headed for the door. Generally the host's job is to keep the guests as long as possible feeding them as much food and wine as they can, while the job of the guests job is to try and eat as much food as they want while also being sure to politefully decline when necessary to avoid being a unsatisfiable guest. Whenever some one tries to leave the appropriate response from the host is to ask the guest why they want to leave and convince them to stay a little longer. Of course when you act as an individual it is easy for the host to lavish you with attention and guilt you into staying a little while longer. Which is why it is important to act as a group. If a majority of the group all make a concerted effort to leave at once generally the host changes their tune and acknowledges that their job is done and they can allow the group to leave.
After we left we made a run back home grabbed our stuff and headed out again to head to Chisinau. My host mother had recently had a guest who was one of her friends that lives in Chisinau and of course after having invited her to visit us, she returned the favor and invited us to visit her. We ended up arriving later in the evening had another meal and spent the rest of the night watching television. In particular we watched a concert that was happening on the other side of town celebrating the 576th anniversary of the founding of Chisinau. I struggled with thinking about Chisinau being that old and especially when I considered that it was founded before Columbus ever dreamed of traveling to the New World. As it was raining all this weekend I was surprised to see the amount of people who actually turned out to the outdoor concert in the public square in front of the statue of Ștefan cel Mare. I later had a better understanding of why while watching the concert because all of the performers were very talented and the concert came complete with flashing lights and fireworks.
My real reason for going to Chisinau though was to have my mid-service medical evaluation and luckily I was given a clean bill of health. I have to go back in on Wednesday to have my dental appointment and to have my TB test read by the doctor…which at this point I am happy to report looks to be negative for TB.
All in all it was a very productive weekend as I also was able to buy a new pair of shoes, read a book, have a chicken quesadilla at taco time, and jump through another hoop toward getting my new debit card, although it appears that jumping through a few more hoops will still be required. Hopefully all of the nonsense will make me cautious enough to never lose another one.
Some videoclips from the concert….
Not really highlights so much just videos that have pretty good quality to them.