Sunday, May 24, 2009

My 1st Moldovan Wedding

My friend Olga had her wedding recently. It was my very first Moldovan wedding! I had a blast experiencing the traditions and customs.

Here is a break down of the events:

At 3 pm we arrived in north of Moldova to Mihaileni (4 hours drive from my village) after a masa at the bride's house. When we got to Mihaileni we were received by an array of guests and a marching band (coolest thing ever). Then we went to the Mayor's office to see them get registered.

Then we paraded over to the restaurant and started with the Hora right away. Then another, and another and 6 hours later, we were still dancing the Hora. This took place outside, without any chairs for resting purposes, but occasional wine shots to get energized again.

Here are some Hora dances:

The best part was when the villagers came out to celebrate as well. They brought their dinner and stood with their family and observed the festivities.

At 10pm we went inside and sat at the masa as the bride and groom's family danced around us. Then later there were a lot of gift exchange between the two families.

Here is a traditional dance with knotted bread to open up the gift exchange.

The celebration ended at 4am for us and then another 4 hours down south back home. I had a great time and so much fun. My feet were not so happy, however.

Here is me with the bride and groom.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Critical Periods in the Life of a Peace Corps volunteer

I had some down time today to clean out all my papers, manuals and books today since my social assistant borrowed my laptop. I figured, If there isn't anything to do, what is better than to clean right?

Well I ended up finding a piece of paper that shows all the stages that a Peace Corps volunteer goes through, which made me think...a lot about what the stages I've gone through and what I am going through now.

I think the most important thing for me to remember is that I am going through what is the norm. I am not alone! I am so much I hate to be so NORMAL at times, however, right now it is almost soothing to know this.

So I don't have time to post all the stages, but maybe I will one day so you can know what the ups and downs are like for volunteers, but today I'll share with you the stages I am at right now....

Month 7-10

Mid-service crisis
Doubt about program, role, self, government
Various Failures over time
Reflection: disillusionment, confusion in resolving frustrations vs. victories
New trainees arrive (June 11)
Holiday/vacation/break (Rome)

Behavior/ReactionImpatience with self, program, system
Blame on the program
Constant complaining

Holiday planning/Mini-vacations
Review work plan; set new goals
Plan vacation
Celebrate one year anniversary
Develop new recreation options
Write long-lost acquaintances
Explore better in-country relationships
Return to language study and practice

Month 16-20

Increased/more defined work pace(still in waiting)
Project work (yet again, still in waiting)
Awareness of time constraints
Realization of own limitations
Post PC considerations

Hyperactivity or apathy
Downgrade achievements
Over-identification in behavior

Visit new volunteers
Physical acitivity: "Get in shape"
Focus on relationships at site
Re-examine goals and time frame
Apply for GRE, write grad schools (check)
Explore work possibilities locally or in-country

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Zuia Mamelor!!

To celebrate Mother's Day I bought champagne and a box of chocolates, my host mom prepared an excellent dish of baked curry chicken and potatoes (yummmm) and we had a masa to honor all Mothers.

We sat outside and had a beautiful meal.

Host dad pouring the champagne!

Here we made a toast to all mothers and wishes of great health and love.

Hramului Gura Galbenei

Hram took place in Gura Galbenei on May 6th to celebrate when my village got settled, also representing when the Orthodox church in the village was built on St. Gheorghe's day. Among different activities, such as, a concert displaying Moldovan traditions, a wrestling match and other sport competitions for a prize of a roster, a goat or a turkey, there was also the dancing!

Here are some pictures I have to share:

In Moldova, where there is Hram there is a Hora dance!!! Here, it took place in the center of our village. It was great to see so many people come out and about to celebrate our Village's Birthday. It made me realize how big my village really is.

This gentleman is walking over to invite his wife to dance.

Here they are heading towards the dance floor.

Jamie (left) and Teresa (right) came out to celebrate Hram with us! My host mom is in the process of cutting into her wonderfully made chicken liver baked cake.

Here is the infamous liver cake!! It was very delicious!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Easter of the Dead

On our way to the cemetery packed full of people. My host brother is the one carrying a bucket full of tulips and host cousin is carrying the basket full of goodies to the right.

Once we got there we provided our offerings of knotted bread, candles and good treats. Everything is arranged in little grouped together gifts, for towards the end of the day we'll give them away as gifts to relatives. I came out with a beautiful apron, a lilac coffee mug, and tons of treats!

This is my host aunt. The best part about this holiday for me is to get to meet all of my host family's relatives, sit at a masa and eat and drink all day in the sun!

I love how colorful everything is. It is such a beautiful tradition.

Posing with the family.

What is in the mysterious baskets?? See for yourselves...the red eggs are great, you get to knock it open with another person and make wishes for well being and lots of happiness. Also, rub it against your cheeks for all kinds of great wishes to come true.

This is my host grandpa's grave.

This one is my favorite picture. On the table are the beautiful knotted bread, made especially for Easter, all offered to Jesus Christ.