- Having our own cars! While it's nice not to have to worry about gas prices and car insurance, it's even nicer not having to squeeze into a mini-bus with 20 other people in 90 degree weather for 3 hours.
- Air conditioning and central heating. Enough said there.
- Customer service! I worked in retail in America for 4 years, so I'm really big on the customer service whether it be in a restaurant or in a store. Here in Moldova, they are not. If you want something, you track down that waiter/sales associate and ask!
- Our own culture! Don't get me wrong here, I love Moldovan culture. It's great! But I'm excited to be able to do "American" things and not be considered weird. For example, last week I wore a long sleeve shirt with a short sleeve shirt over that. It was cute, and it was warm. My partner saw me and said, "Oh wow, you are so American! We would never wear anything like that!"
- Being treated like an adult! Perhaps it's because most of us volunteers speak like we are four year olds or maybe because we act weird and do weird things, but everyone treats us like we're kids.
- Tea at Luminita's house! Luminita is my old tutor/basically my mom here in Moldova. We used to do tutoring together, but we stopped doing that and now have tea dates instead. Her husband, Vlodia, joins us. We have cookies and talk about everything. Her husband speaks mostly Russian, so I learn Russian from him and he learns Romanian and English from Luminita and I.
- Natalia! She's my partner teacher and best friend here. I know I wouldn't have lasted this whole time without her. The best times with Natalia are when we buy a big bottle of beer and sunflowers seeds and sit at her kitchen table and talk.
- Candy with Coffee! Whenever you order coffee at any cafe/restaurant/bar in Moldova, you get a piece of candy on the side. The more expensive and fancy the place, the better the candy.
- The Hora! Some volunteers may not like the Hora, which is the national dance of Moldova, but I absolutely LOVE it. It doesn't matter where you are, if an upbeat traditional Moldovan song comes on, someone is bound to start a Hora. I was at a bar once, and these scary mobster looking guys came in all wearing leather jackets and completely in black. Some music came on, and they all jumped up, got in a circle with hands held, and started to Hora. The Hora brings people together!
It was so hard to say goodbye to everyone back home. I remember crying and all that jazz. But it will be even harder to leave here I think, because I'll most likely never see these people again. When I left home, I knew I'd be returning after 2 years. Unless I plan to vacation back to Moldova someday, I will be saying goodbye to these people for the last time. Man, that sure puts a damper on things.