I wrote this last week and meant to post it, but I had techincal difficulties... so here it goes:
Ah, finally, the peace of pre writing my blog at home without having to worry about people hurrying me up or forgetting to write about things I was meaning to write about. But, since I’m in Moldova, the privilege of having a laptop to myself for a few hours was not a feat easy to accomplish. First, I needed somebody awesome and super generous that lived in my town, had a laptop and spoke my language. That was easy, in a second I called Eric. I managed to get to his house on the other side of the village (4 blocks away), after avoiding many possible cow collisions. Since I haven’t socialized much, when I got there I just had to hang out for a bit and enjoy the brief contact with another human being that speaks my language for an hour. The problems came after that hour, after it got dark. See, it was time for me to get home and I had never attempted to walk around my village at night. I realized that, not only do they not have street signs, they don’t have street lights either. So armed with my Ipod in one hand, and my cell phone on the other (for lighting purposes), I managed to avoid stepping on most of the cow shit that was on my way home. And I didn’t fall into any holes either. These little successes are what we like to celebrate here in Moldova PC PST (Peace Corps Pre Service Training). And I am celebrating by drinking a much deserved coca cola and typing on a laptop. Talk about small steps.
So yesterday I was in Chisinau, as you can see from my previous blog posting. It was a quick trip, mostly just to communicate with the real world for a few precious hours. I also learned some of the reasons of why Moldova is not in the EU. I mean, they are obvious enough, but I didn’t catch them. Apparently the older more conservative people are the ones that vote and they prefer the more old fashioned political parties. Young people are mostly working abroad and do not vote, so that leaves it pretty obvious. They are considered a not economically stable economy, but then, I think Rumania and Bulgaria were too and they’re still in. There is a lot interesting perspectives in this argument, especially since Moldova is such a small country, they always have the option of rejoining Rumania as part of that country (they used to be part of the Soviet Union, but before, Rumania), but that is something that they obviously don’t want to do, no even if it gets them in the EU. So yeah, it was a learning trip after all.
More news: I have adopted a kitty, like I said I would. A real Moldovan kitty! So since I have Rumanian class, I noticed that my teacher has two kittens. I wanted to steal one of them, but she wouldn’t let me. But two days ago, a new kitten decided to move in. And it’s the sweetest, cutest and most flea-ridden of the three. Still, it’s mine. My teacher said I could have it. Yeih! So I can’t wait to find out where I’ll be living so I can program the move. And eventual de-fleaing. Ah, and neutering. By the way, her name is Clara. Actually, in Moldova my name always ends up being Clara. Carla is too strange to say, and Clara is a Moldovan name so I get called that. Now kitty does too.
So I have a lot of free time here. And I have not planned accordingly. There is only so much educational reading I can take at a time, I need breaks too. So I grabbed the last Harry Potter book. And I finished it three days later. Peace Corps supplies Newsweek Magazines. I’m done with those too. So if you pity me you can send me all those books you don’t want to:Carla Avenia
Peace Corps Moldova
Str. Grigore Ureche 12
You know what else has saved me? All that music I stole from Deimian’s computer (thanks Damian!) and Sari’s music collection (thanks to you too babe!). So if you want to invest in my musical education, send me all that music you think I might like. You know what? Here’s a small list of things I need:-Books
-Winter Coats, scarves, hats, etc. (or money to go get the winter clothes I left in Madrid)
-Italian coffee maker
-Good ground coffee
-DULCE DE LECHE
-Cilantro and Avocado seeds
-Yarn and knitting essentials
-Sudoku or crosswords
-Maybe a guitar
-Letters, written by you dear reader
-Calls (011 373 68254344)
I cannot emphasize enough how much I would appreciate the Argentine food.
On another note, if you want to send me free text messages (which I usually get on the spot!), you can do it through www.orange.md
. You’ll see a box on the right side of the page I think, and there you just enter my number (0682-54344) and you tell me whatever you want (I hope it’s nice). Please, no drunk calls. Keep in mind when you call me at midnite US Central time, it is 8 am here and I am headed to class. Receiving a drunk call at that time kindda ruins my day, especially since you’re having fun and I’m not. Yes, it’s just a question of jealousy. Be nice, please (don’t want to mention any specific names… EHEM!)
Ah, so as part of the project we’re working on during PST, we walked around the village a lot. We discovered a lake. Yes, there was a lake behind Ratus. I just had no idea it was there. Even though it’s two blocks away from my house. But whatever. In any case, the lake seemed very nice. Then I realized that I was the only girl hanging out there. Only men were there, fishing away. Then I looked uphill behind me. And on the hill that descends straight into that lake, guess what there is. Yes, a trash dump. A gianormous one. So following the laws of physics, it is safe to assume that every time it rains (or even when it doesn’t), the trash just drains into the lake. From which men are fishing. And I’m guessing it’s not sport fishing. Now I know why PC told us not to eat the local fish. This is one reason. The others have to do with contaminated water in general. It also explains a bit why we shouldn’t eat the mushrooms either, I mean, they grow by absorbing water. Even though the official don’t-eat-mushrooms policy says that we shouldn’t eat them because the people that handpick them don’t always know how to distinguish the good ones from the poisonous ones, so there are lots of cases of mushroom poisoning. Or just upset stomaches and maybe some vomiting.
So in that walk, that’s not all I saw. I noticed that a bit past that lake there was this big house that seems abandoned, and that happened to be where I went out “clubbing” the first Saturday I was in Ratus. I put clubbing in between quotation marks because… well, it reminded me of going out in Lobos (Buenos Aires). For those of you who know, I’ll just leave it there. Anyways, I found out that this seemingly abandoned building is a temporary night club and the future mayor’s office. Nice combo.
Another mentionable event was the Team Building like a week and some days ago. Team Building day sounds awfully boring and stilly, but it was actually a lot of fun. I think it’s mostly because of the awesome volunteers that were arranging it, and because the staff was a blast to have on our teams. In any case, we learned to ask for help, to work as a team, and how to make lava boots. And yes, the lava boots were definitely the best part. Hmm… maybe the great dinner that PC treated us to afterwards… I’m split 50-50!
As for living adjustments, there is a lot of things that have changed. Nevertheless, by now I’m used to them and not bothered too much by them. Yes, I have an outhouse. And to learn how to use it without peeing on yourself is an acquired skill. Something that I might even consider putting on my resume. So doing that is easy, but doing the other thing is different. Still, since we have class 6 days a week, I think most of the people in the village take advantage of the fact that our teacher has a toilet and we hold it in until we have class. I know, it’s kindda mean, but… learning how to conjugate 20 new different verbs in one day is too!!
Then there is the bathing situation. I like to bathe everyday, at the very least, every other day. Here, every other day is strange. Since heating the water is a process of: cutting wood, burning the wood in the oven-heater thing, waiting for that to heat the water, and then being able to bathe, we don’t get to do that as often as I’d like at least. The good thing is that since nobody else gets to bathe that often anyways, we all pretty much smell the same and we can’t say anything about each other. So I don’t feel bad about not showering for 48 hours. Sometimes.
Last but not least, we have the food. The food is great, mostly organic. Some of the plates get repetitive though (like soup or guiso). And they don’t carry nearly enough spices. Some things are just plain weird, like chicken jelly. Not kidding. Or spaghetti with the sauce composed by chicken fat. This last one doesn’t taste bad, but of course, it can’t be good for my butt. In any case, to their standards I eat very little. What weirds them out the most is the fact that I don’t eat breakfast, and that I drink an awful lot of coffee (because it’s Nescafe, and I am used to espresso).And then there is the Vincenzo story. For all of those who are interested, yes, we still talk. Once a week. I had the call on Friday night. We also text each other, and when I’m online I let him know and we meet up and chat. I miss him, but I feel the distance growing. I just hope we can still manage to stay in touch over these few months. I’ve asked him to come over during the winter holidays, and I do hope with all my heart that he does. But, I am hoping yet I do know that he might not, so I’m prepared for either.
If I think overall; it was a busy week. There was the walk about town adventure, going to Magdacesti (our neighboring town) for more education and a beer afterwards. That same day we had our first incident of harassment, and the girls dealed with it as best as they could. Ah, and we walked home from our neighboring village. What used to be a 2 minute bus ride turned into a 30 minute cow shit avoidance marathon. The next day we had a special part of the class dedicated to phrases on how to tell people to leave us alone in case this harassment happened again. And the next day we had a field trip to a small town where we learned about Moldovan handicrafts and had a nice snack. And the next day, we went to Perescecina (I think it’s spelled like that) for our weekly vaccines and training. Friday we had class and then the church field trip. The weekend was spent mostly in Chisinau. It just seems that I had a lot free time anyways. So Mom, please still send me the Sodoku and the yarn to start making my scarves. Who knows, if worse comes to worse I’ll exchange my handmade scarves for books.