Monday, January 18, 2010

Hram = Huge Town Party aka Too Many Masas

Beautiful view walking through the park. 

Old New Year's January 14th: My partner teacher/ Best Moldovan Friend Natalia, her daughter, and her aunt

Hram - I guess you could compare this to the city's birthday. The entire town shuts down including schools (another day off!) and everyone parties. I went to a masa/dinner at Natalia's house, then came home for another one. After the masa at my house, we went to the city center where a huge concert was taking place. The entire town was there, and everyone was dancing. After the concert ended at around 10:30, we went to another masa at a family friend's house where everyone did karaoke and of course ate, ate, and ate.

Moldovan friends at Hram!

Host mama and me at Hram

Side view of the concert. I guess this is a famous Moldovan band, but not sure who they are. Everyone was dancing and singing to them. 

Host brother Costel with our cat Thomas.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Heck Yes Goal #2!

Goal Number 2 of Peace Corps
Help promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served.
I figure a good way to help accomplish this goal is to serve Moldovans with tasty American food and snacks.

  • Stove Top Stuffing: Had sent from home by Shawn & Natalie for Thanksgiving. Nobody liked it, so I ate it all. (-1)
  • Chili: made from scratch with help from chili seasoning packet sent from mom. Family liked it but thought it was too spicy. Interesting moment trying to figure out how to say ground beef in Romanian at the grocery store. (0)
  • Flavored Sunflower Seeds (BBQ and Ranch): sent from Grandma and brought to partner teacher's house. Her and her daughters LOVED them (+1)
  • Deviled Eggs: family loved them. (+1)
  • Homemade Mom Salsa: made and sent by mom. Initially family did not like it with tortilla chips, but then host dad put it on bread and all loved it. Also mixed it into a grain oatmeal-like dish. (+1)
  • Mocha Chai Tea Latte Mix: Sent from Bob and Carol, Host dad and brother LOVE it, mom and sister think it tastes like cleaning product (0)
  • Reeses Peanut Butter Cups: Really, who doesn't love these?? But all are confused by brown paper wrapper around actual chocolate. (+1)
 Total: +3, 50%
I best be cookin' some more!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

There's No Place Like Moldova

Winter Break was spent in Budapest. It was a wonderful 7 day vacation spent with several other volunteers. We walked around the entire city I'm sure and visited many sites. We saw several churches and the Parliament building, as seen in the photos above. We also went to a castle and toured the caves beneath it. The Grand Market Hall had many different stalls filled with foods and touristy things. The best part by far was all the delicious food we ate! We stopped at a Mexican restaurant called "Iguanas" where I enjoyed chips and salsa and a Dos Equis!We ate at several pubs where I ate the most amazing cheeseburger ever and some barbeque chicken wings. Of course I can't forget the coffee shops. We went to about 5 different shops throughout the course of the vacation where I ordered Chai Tea Lattes. Very tasty indeed! We stayed in a hostel which was great. I had never stayed in a hostel before, and I had the vision from the movies "Hostel", but it was quite the contrary. The host in the hostel was amazing and cooked us traditional foods and also gave us directions and tips for the best places to go. Everyday we were up early exploring the city. Although it was a great vacation and Budapest is wonderful, I was really glad to arrive back in Moldova, and even moreso to sleep in my own couch-bed in Edinet.

Set up the Christmas Tree with the family. On Christmas Day, December 25th, we went to the grandparents' in the village. We ate some tasty food. Following supper was a Christmas Concert put on by the 3 younger kids which consisted of songs and poems. 

It was odd having to work on Christmas Eve, but it was really fun to be at school on that day. There were no lessons taught, and every class pretty much had a party. This is my second grade class. The girls all dressed up in their fancy dresses and danced around the classroom in a big circle. After their party, they went home. Later that night at school was a concert put on by the 8th through 11th graders.
Christmas Eve I went to a birthday party in Balti with my tutor and her daughter. We ate and drank much and danced even more. It was a great celebration on Christmas Eve! My tutor, Luminita, is pretty much my second mom here in Moldova!