Tuesday, September 1, 2009

To Golden Leaves and an Empty Office

I realized I haven't written in awhile, so much time has passed, and yet not so many new interesting dealings to report, or has it, maybe it's that I am so used those abnormal happenings that I'd forgotten that the me a year ago would completely appreciate such an experience. Thus today I am attempting to get back on this writing wagon and tune the rest of the world in what has been happening.

As I am typing this I am sitting outside on our wonderful electric green couch that looks like it traveled in time from the 60s that has a very classic Moldovan pink and maroon blanket covering it, with Julia, my cat sitting right by me.

Earlier I saw Julia bring Markisa, our kitten, a baby rat. I was in the middle of sweeping our front porch as she came up all proud that she had found such a prize winner for her baby. As Markisa head over to the rat and gnaw at it, I was standing there in place just observing her excitement in my own excitement at such a sight.

Now Markisa has given up on tossing the poor rat around and is asleep in her little bed and the rat is abondaned a few inches away from my feet by the couch. My host dad said that it is Markisa's and we will leave it there for her. For how long, I don't know, I just know that I am not bothered at this awkward feeling of disgust at a dead rat by my feet.

With all that has been going on, I would like to express my gratitude for summer. For fruit, and vegetables and even more than that, longer days and me, with a much happier deposition to keep on learning and busting it. July was just like how the Moldovans call it, like being in an oven. It was so hot, some days, just walking to work, which is just a few feet away from my house, would make me sweat. On the other hand, having longer days allowed me to have activities going on after work and allowed me to work on the mural and help out around the house on canning veggies and making compot for winter. As the summer is narrowing down, I am not sure how my feelings are on winter, however I do have a trip (to Rome) coming up that will take my mind away form the most depressive time of the year.

* * *

Here I am weeks later staring at this update. I am currently sitting in my now empty office, with bare walls and my social assistant missing. She has left on her 3 years maternity leave, thus has cleaned out all her belongings. What does this mean? It means that my days are very quiet. No longer filled with funny stories of newly wed life (she just got married) and baby awaiting stories. I do miss that.

As of now we still don't know who will be in her place. I surely hope that the next person will be as cool as she was and will be enthusiastic with helping me write up some grants or start some sort of project. Our current project to repair the high school's bathrooms is currently at a turning point, whether it's for the better or not, I'm not sure. My partners are busy with the school year starting up again and of course, the fact that I will be on vacation has helped bury that issue a bit. I am, however, looking forward to a new start once I get back.

For now, I am enjoying my time traveling around Moldova and hope to continue to visit other volunteers in the future to get a more comprehensive picture of the country.

On Saturday I caught a bus to Comrat, the capital of Gagauzia, which is an autonomous sourthern region of Moldova about an hour south of my village. People in Gagauzia are descendants of Turkey and Bulgaria and even have their own language, Gaguzian tho everyone speak Russian. Romanian is much understood there but very few actually know how to speak. It was such an experience, the moment I entered the city, all the signs and establishment are in Russian, and I felt as if though I'd left Moldova.

The reason for my visit was to visit one of my mentees, who has been there for one month in site, and is still settling down, though has been great learning Russian and finding work within her youth organization. I am so proud of her. She showed me the city, which is beautifully laid with paved roads and restaurants and big government buildings with a huge church and park with trash cans etc. I was blown away at how Western European the feel of the city was compared to what I am used to seeing in rest of the Moldova.

My mentee and I sat and talked for most of the days I was there and she ended up doing such a great job translating our conversations with her host mom who speaks no Romanian. I talked to her in romanian and some words she was able to make out, but she would reply in Russian. The history of how Moldova came to be is so interesting in how it divided up the people into these regions of separate identities of one's own culture and language.

There are only 4 more days until I get to be in the eternal city of Rome! I can't barely wait.

Signing out.