I have been in Moldova for about 6 months now. Whoa.
Over these past 6 months, I have found myself adapting as my routine and life continues to change during my service with the Peace Corps. So what has changed for me personally? Let’s see…
Coffee? What is that?
I used to have at least one cup of coffee every day. Now I may have it about once or twice a week, if that even. I do enjoy a warm beverage in the morning, it just now means I drink tea. Otherwise it takes me longer to wake up and even longer to be able to engage in a conversation, especially in Romanian.
Boil and filter the water.
In order to drink the water here and not get sick, we must boil and filter it since the water quality is not the greatest. In some cases for volunteers, myself included, giardia makes an appearance in ones health system even with taking such precautions.
Recycling & reusing everything.
I have found myself saving random things in order that I may possibly be able to reuse it later. It has worked out well for me so far, especially when it comes to finding new purposes to use things when wanting to keep stuff creatively organized. For example: reusing boxes that packages are sent in from home are great for keeping shelves organized. (Or entertainment…if I had a cat).
Late night hours.
I’m a morning person. But here in Moldova I somehow have switched to a night owl. I stay up way too late working on various things and sometimes am able to get in a phone call every once in awhile to someone at home with the 7 or 10 hour time difference.
My schedule changes daily.
I’m a planner. I like to have things planned out or have an idea of what to expect. However, I am learning here that life as a Peace Corps volunteer means that if I make plans and they actually happen then I get a win for the day. Learning to be flexible and spontaneous with plans on a daily basis is the norm now. One thing I can usually plan on is that my plan will change.
Getting really excited about simple things.
Clean clothes. Warm and dry feet. Getting home before it rains. Cake for dessert (or breakfast). A seat on the mini-bus. Packages from home. Warm socks. Cozy blanket. Hot water. A good book. Finding chocolate in my Peace Corps locker. All good and yet simple things that I make me really, really happy. Well, maybe this hasn’t changed all that much, but it’s reaching new extreme levels.
Eating copious amounts of bread and sugar.
Each day it seems as if I am faced with a surplus amount of bread and some form of sugar. Bread is served with every meal (breakfast, lunch, & dinner) – it is a staple here as part of the Moldovan cuisine. Sugar…well, I seem to find it everywhere as well – the little biscuits (similar to cookies) are just too good and I haven’t even sampled all of the different kinds there are. And don’t forget about the different kinds of chocolates too.
Hungry for something in particular? Too bad.
I have very little say in what I eat for dinner. But I am oh, so thankful that I live with a host family and that my host mom makes dinner. I don’t even think about it anymore, but I realized recently that if I was a really picky eater that this would be a challenge for me as I really don’t know what I’m going to eat for dinner until I sit down at the table. Sometimes I get to pick between rice or pasta — and I am grateful that my host mom has learned that I really like mashed potatoes. I now eat them about once a week.
Long & short walks, everyday. Everywhere.
As Peace Corps volunteers we are unable to drive any type of vehicle, so that means we get to take public transportation and walk to our desired destinations. This I don’t seem to mind at all since it is a great way to process thoughts, get a little bit of exercise, and take in my surroundings. However, on really cold, frigid days it makes me question so many of my life decisions at that point.
These are just some of my own personal adjustments that I have noticed as I have transitioned to a new season of life here in Moldova. All is well, and each day brings lots of laughs and new perspectives as I journey on this adventure.