Saturday, January 31, 2009

The world will see me as having 25 years soon.

The direct translation in Romanian when one asks, "How old are you?" and you answer, "Eu am 25 de ani." means that I have 25 years. If you ask me, I like the meaning behind the Romanian translation better, it makes me feel like I OWN my years. Like I took charge of it and have done something with it.

It's a rather different feeling with, "I am 25 years old" in the English language. That on the flip side brings me back to how, even though I try not to, but sometimes cave in, and just let life take control of me. I mean, you too have to admit that at times you want it all figured out for you, to have it all planned out.

At this very present moment in time, the realization that I am closely emerging on having 5 years minus 3 decades of life is very apparent. Therefore, I'd say that it is crucial to use this time for reflection and ask myself, "What have I gained?", "Do I have more than just the mere numbers of my years?"

The answer to that is..."Well, self I would want to say that I am not just the number of years, but that I owned those years. That it brought me to be the me today, in a good happy place în sufletul meu (in my soul)."

"The me" then replies, "That isn't a good enough answer! Are you kidding me? You know better than that! I am talking about the railroad dream from last night or the one about finding your path, give me some clear cut examples!"

"The other side of me" then says, "What do you want, a list or something?"

"The me" concluded, "You know that I am a concrete learner, tell me what you've gained in your 25 years."

"The other side of me" sighs in an overwhelming, almost annoyed kinda way.

However, after several minutes of deep contemplation, she finally decided to give up her list in knowing that she knows the other side of her very well. Better yet, she also knows herself well in that she too will end up benefiting from this darn forsaken list.

(Note: To those who thought the previous dialog was rather strange and that it worried you...even a little, here is my response......"You all know I have split personality by now, I am in the Peace Corps!" We are breed that way, just ask any of the other volunteers. Oh yeah, you all know that I am also an Asian American, we too are also breed that way. It is now in my blood)

The me such...mai departe...To list out all the ways in which I got this 25th year to wondering if I do or do not have, and if I do, why I might have a parasite living in my tummy should be an interesting thing to do indeed. (do read about the parasite in my tummy at your next disposable time and sitting...updates coming soon)

I know nothing about parasites living in tummies, but I do know one thing and that is on Tuesday of the first week in February of 2009, I will give birth to a bright brown eyed, smiling, optimistic 25 year old little Asian American living in Moldova-girl. What else is there to say. I will be a very happy and proud parent. A parent who can easy speak about herself in third person when addressing pride issues about her beautiful and strong minded daughter, who by the way will have 25 years of age, in life, in experiences, in love and hate and in seeing the sun. Also to add, in listening to YO YO Ma, Appalachian Waltz at midnight of one night, in a cold casa and wanting nothing more to do with this splash of release painted with colors of tiredness and anticipation for the coming 25th year in life, even though in full reality it already came in July of last year.

I am a result of one întimplare of one mutual showcase of love and devotion. That is what I have in my 25 years to put on the shelf.

To me..."Oh sorry, I'd forgotten about the concrete tad bit in your argument piece...maybe next time. However, don't hold your breath."

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Saturday, January 17, 2009

I took my own advice...

Did I say, "Open up the dialog?"
I did!! and I did just that!!

I talked to my Mayor today, presented him all my analyzes I did from the survey I conducted at the school and all my information on starting a Youth Council in our village.

He was beyond enthusiastic and boy am I so relieved, he wants the same thing I do! He talked about having a cleaning day! Who knows how many days I've walked around our village and said that exact same thing. I told him I want to start an Internet Cafe and have a place to hang out for them and he was very supportive and provided loads of ideas! I know that I complain a lot about not having a partner, I know that he is a busy man, but I didn't exactly approach him either.

Today is a Saturday, we have to work to make up for having time off for the holidays, and it was great to have 20 minutes to seat down and talk to him without interruptions. Right now, I feel really good about being here...about BREAKING THROUGH.

When I told him, "I need to find someone to work with me on this" he said, "Erena, I with both feet and hands will help you!" That was all I needed to keep on going.

Dear Ignorant Imbeciles of the World...I am writing to you!

Angry at those who do not push forward,
do not break through their shell and explore what is out there!

I am SICK and TIRED of those who are not aware of what is going on around the world!

If only they would stop to think about others for once,
just a minute of putting yourself in someone else's shoes
they will see that they are not the ONLY spoiled rotten
important person in this world!

That there is much more to life...
and even when you think that is all there is
there is still more!

I am PISSED off of those who think that the world evolves around them!

How could you not see what is so obviously there?
Everything is SO darn important only when it involves YOU!

How many other living, walking souls are there in the world?
Who suffers, who hunger, who can love and laugh and smile
and tell mind blowing stories?
Just like you!

Open up your F-ING eyes and see the rest of the magnification world,
and not just the 15 mile circumference you allow yourself
to physically and mentally travel to and fourth on a daily basis!

Can you see that there is definitely a pattern of IGNORNACE
that you are imparting onto this world
that is IMPACTING my life and millions of others out there?

Have some F-ing RESPECT!!
For the human morale.
The code of conduct of life...

Get to know your neighbor's stories
You'll see that they are not at all different from you
Speak up and open up the damn dialog already!
Come on ME!

Ok an explanation is owed...Why all the anger?

I walked into the casa mica for dinner to find my host dad already heating up a dish for me. On the radio was a broadcast about how the trend keep on increasing with people leaving to work abroad. My host dad, a person who always has a joke or two for me when he sees me, seemed very agitated, and repeated things over and over again.

Earlier today my host mom slipped on ice on her way to school and is currently at the hospital. She injured her spine and is not able to make major movements and will stay over at the hospital for several days. My host dad felt a lot of guilt by not telling her to be careful, as he normally does everyday when there is ice. He had to explain to me many times how he felt and then went on to talking about other things, he tends to keep on going once you get him started. I love that about him, I can just seat and listen to him talk. He doesn't care if I understand or not sometimes, he keeps on going, in the end I learn a lot of Romanian!

I sat and ate my baked chicken liver with union while he told me stories after stories about living abroad in Israel. He was the first in the family to leave and worked as a Grounds Keeper at a cemetery by the Mediterranean Sea for 3 years. He slowly saved up money to send over my host mom, then later his two children. Then he worked as a Dishwasher and a Cook at a restaurant for another 2 years. My host mom and sister worked as a Maid for rich families and my host brother worked in a Coca-Cola factory.

His stories encompasses, silly things he's seen, language trivia he's undergone, and different cultural experiences he's witnessed. Sometimes, I see how his eyes glimmer at the silly experiences, but sometimes I see the pain when he explains how much hardship they'd went through.

After one last pahar de vin toast to health, he said something that I didn't expect. That working abroad shortens your life. When I didn't understand what he meant by that, he took it literally and drew a line on the table cloth, "this is how long life is and this is how much it takes off at the end," and drew another line starting from the other end about 1/4 of the way up.

When I asked why that is, he explained that me being here is different, I have no family of my own, children or husband. For him, he had to leave his family behind, and even when they met up, it changed them. I then asked, "You're not happy at all that you went and learned and experienced many different things?" He said, of course he is happy, they learned about the world, they were able to provide for themselves by building a house, buy their children apartments in Chișinău and are able to live well until now. Then I couldn't help to think that I too benefited from their work aboard, for I am too living well, I mean we do have a bathroom in doors!! He finally said that the aspect of money changed them. That was the extent of his explanation, I'm sure you know what he means by that.

After hearing his side of this great phenomenon of people leaving abroad, and also after experiencing it first hand with a close person who will soon leave, I am full of mixed up emotions. The first thing that comes to mind is anger, anger for myself for not being more aware. Angry that I have to lose a friend. Angry and Sad that people here are left with this choice to be able to have things that I get so easily. Pride for them for having the courage to leave their homeland by choice (or not) and live dangerously in order to find a better opportunity for themselves.

I mean it took a lot for me to leave home to be here, but I also knew that I will have Peace Corps who will support me, and that there will be other Americans who will go through this with me. Moldovans who leave here are left to their own resources, sometime with no help, having to learn a new language without a 3 month intensive training and constant support like I did. They have to go through all of the same frustrations I probably go through without the same support with living in another country, with a different culture and traditions.

Then it makes me feel angry that there are not many more people I know back home who have this courage. For even, my courage is not at all equivalent. Then I get sad, because the situation here is environmentally and politically induced. On the flip side, I also feel happy that I and the people back home are free from this constant fear of having a family member or close friend leave or being the one who have to leave to provide for your family.

At this moment I can not express how much respect and pride I have for Moldovans.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Perfectly Happy

I am just that...fine, jolly, wonderfully happy
my day was full of smiles and laughter
but yet, can anyone tell me why the tears are present?
why it feels so great to let it all run down stream, streaming
fogging up my glasses...has the routine of wiping them become a joy?

Why I resort to listening to the songs, "my songs"
that I know will undoubtedly make me cry even more
reminisce even stories, my dealings

Has it been the endless emotional woes and yeas?
The ups and downs of a bipolar-like syndrome?
The life suit of a fellow PCV MD?

Or is due to hearing over and over again silent cries of others all day?
the fact that people sometimes look at me with envious eyes,
give me envious comments?
Is it the fact that I still am not perfectly happy with my life,
though others are so envious of it?
Is it the fact that I ask my self, "why" concerning that phenomenon
and still up end with the same answer?

Could it be that I see other's sad stories, sad dealings everyday
and I can't do anything about it?
Or maybe it's that, in spite of all of those things,
I still get enthusiastic "Hello!!!" from children?

Whatever it might be,
they are what they are,
Present...and that too is what I am
to experience all of the above
through the tears and still know that
tomorrow I will continue to get those
enthusiastic, HELLOS!

Jethro Tull in my auditory canal

I am warm, comfy, with tummy full of sarmele and crab salad. In my bed after a day that seemed so full, but yet, I really didn't do anything besides the usual constant observation of traditions and customs.

Thus, I am suffering from a simmering headache that is telling me to lay of the daily parhar de vin and shots of cognac. However, I do take today as an exception, it is my host dad's birthday and he sure deserves a day to himself.

Speaking of it being my host dad's birthday, here is a funny story... All day today, my host dad has spent about 90% of his day at the masa, receiving toasts, serving food and having conversation overload (which is what he is really good at, talking), and drinking. Well, by the time I got home from visiting Olga and Liliana I found myself locked out of the house. I went to the hiding spot and the key wasn't there. It seemed like they'd left, the front porch light wasn't on, but usually when they leave they leave me a key. I figured they'd thought I would come home late or that they'd simply forgotten to leave the key. It was very strange, both the casa mica and mare were closed. I searched for other hiding spots and found old keys, in which, I tried every which one of them.

After about 20 minutes of sitting out in the cold and texting my friends, I observed that the window to the TV room is flickering with light. Thus, I figured someone had to be home, for they would never leave the TV on if they are not home. I called, and sure enough, my host dad attentively answered the phone. He came to the door not knowing that he accidentally locked my host mom and himself inside the house. I entered the house laughing so hard. "Only in Moldova," Veronica said in answer to my text.

A Turn of Events...

Yesterday was my first time seeing Olga and Liliana after coming back from Prague. It was very nice to get to hang with them, but I found out some bad news. Olga will be married in the spring. Her finance, who was working in Moscow is now living with the girls until they get married and she'll move to live with him in his village up north of Moldova. This means that she'll break her teaching for 3 years contract in Gura Galbenei and that I will lose a close friend in site.

This saddens me. I feel like I was just robbed of something. We had so much potential, in working on projects here in site, as well as becoming really great friends. Now she is too leaving. They are also talking about going to live in America to work illegally after they get married.

They asked my opinion on the economy and jobs in America. I told them straight out, that if they want to work in America illegally they would have to settle with really hard work for little pay. I also gave them the jest of how bad the economy is for Americans. After all of that, they still seemed insistent on going. They said, that it is close to impossible to make money to save up to buy a house, to start a family in Moldova.

Mai scurt, I am still as much alone as before. I need to start over with the clubs, for they all fell threw. The kids just stopped coming and I am still on a conquest to get a partner.

The good news is that I am settling much more on my outlook here than I did before. I think Prague really helped rejuvenate me. I felt more ready to come back and retry. I am much more accepting of things happening around me. I don't overreact, instead what I do is take myself aside from the situation and just plainly observe and ask myself, "Why is this happening, what are people doing and why are they doing that?"

This has allowed me to try to see other's perspectives in the moment of situations, and not to take in my emotions or reactions towards the situations first. I swear it is the only way I've found to get through some of the yelling that takes place at the Mayor's office.

Deci, I am still on a quest and am still trying to hold up my FIERCEness!!!

HOnestly OK

The following are lyrics that I've found to perfectly express what I was going through my first several months in site. It is somehow nice to reflect on that time, to see what I was going through and has eventually overcome.

I also recommend listening to the song.

HOnestly OK

Safe in my own skin
I just want to be
Happy again
I just want to feel
Deep in my own world
but I am so lonely
I don't even want to be with myself anymore

On a different day,
If I am safe in my own skin
Then I wouldn't feel
lost and so frightened
but this is too deep
and I am lost in my own skin

free trade of our world

Saw on the label of my Old Navy tank top hanging out to dry in the cold winter air, which I bought along while before coming to here, that says, "Made in Moldova". Who'd know for many months I wore that tank top underneath other pieces of clothing and had no idea it was made in a place I'd end up living in today. Crazy Ironic!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Happy New Years!!!!

According to the Old Orthodox Catholic calendar today is the beginning of the New Year!!

Last night we celebrated my host dad's birthday and the new year with a full masa!!!! I helped with making the salads and there were definitely a lot more mayonnaise I was instructed to use, then I can ever admit to putting in any dish.

Throughout the night, children came to the door and praised us with well being for the new year, with bells and lots of excitement. In return my family gave them money and candy, but once that ran out, my host dad resorted to walnuts and apples that came from our trees. Once that distribution were given out, we didn't see many more come to the door. My host mom said that the word must of made its way around to the other children.

This morning I was woken up by yelling outside my window, due from a heavy night of partying, I couldn't get myself to get out of bed to see what all the commotion was all about. Once I walked out the door for tutoring later in the morning, there were corn all over our door steps.

Then when I went to work, Domnul Grigore walked in praising good cheers and threw corn at me for several minutes while I stood in amazement. He told me to collect it in my hand to predict how many children I'll end up having...I collected 6!! WowZZZAAA! Domnezeu Ma Ajuta!