Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Enchantment of Life

Cherries. Fresh cherries; spending but a brief second in my hand between being plucked off the branch, and being popped into my mouth. I would say, and Ash would agree, that the amount of natural life, greenery, and fertility is possibly what has astounded us the most in our first 10 days in the great (albeit tiny) nation of Moldova.

We arrived after an overnight flight from New York JFK, connecting in Munich early in the morning for just enough time to pass through security, use the bathroom, and start boarding our last leg flight. There were 54 of us "M26" volunteers (we're the 26th group of volunteers to serve in Moldova since PC was invited here in 1993) stepping off the plane and waiting for our luggage - some in vain since it had been announced before takeoff that we had too much stuff with us for Luftansa to be able to fit on the plane - and I'm sure we looked a bit dumb struck. Local time was just past noon as we exited the modest but clean airport into the brilliant Eastern European sun and tried to cram said stuff into two waiting buses.

Honestly the rest of that day is a long blur. Somewhere in there we heard a welcome address from our Country Director, received cell phones and local currency, water filters, fire extinguishers, and oh, how could I forget; smoke detectors. I remember this because when you've been traveling for over 24 hours and you open a bag to find a smoke detector, your only logical conclusion is that you're going crazy.

Ash and I had to say goodbye to each other as we were split into groups of about 8 or 9 volunteers according to sector (she is Health Education, I'm Agribusiness Development), and shipped out to our respective host villages to meet our host families. Did I mention we didn't have any language lessons before meeting our host families? Yea, about that... I was fortunate that my host sister speaks a bit of English, so the first meal in the house wasn't complete silence. Ash wasn't so fortunate, no one in her family speaks English, although now that is definitely a positive as she is picking up the language (Romanian) super fast :)

Moldova is an absolutely gorgeous country. Green rolling hills and some of the most fertile soil on the planet, everything grows here. Every other tree is a walnut tree (I can't wait for whenever walnuts are ripe!), most families who live in a house (as opposed to an apartment - think outwardly decrepit Soviet block buildings) has an AMAZING garden and usually at least one kind of fruit tree. As I mentioned, cherries have been ripe for the picking so far. They are starting to disappear though, which is extremely sad until I look in my back yard and see all the raspberries beginning to ripen on the bushes and the red of strawberries glinting out from under their green leaf ground cover.

To say this is a different experience than PC Niger would be a laughable understatement. It is neither better nor worse, simply incomparable. Suffice to say that one similarity is that we feel safe and are, in spite of the overwhelmption (don't judge my words :), excited for the next two years (hopefully this time!) here.


  1. Hi, I have been visiting your blog. ¡Congratulations for your work! I invite you to visit my blog about literature, philosophy and films:

    Greetings from Santa Marta, Colombia

    Hola: soy docente en Colombia y admiro la labor que realizan los miembros de Peace Corps alrededor del mundo, especialmente en el sector educativo:¡Felicitaciones!

  2. Gracias por su comment! Espero que podria visitar tu blog muy pronto. Hasta luego!

  3. I would never judge your words! I love overwhelmption. Miss you guys. Praying for you!