Classroom Notes: Are there shopping malls and fast food?

This is part of a series, “Classroom Notes” that I will be sharing as I connect with a classroom in the U.S. through the World Wise Schools program. You can read the previous posts about this series here at CLASSROOM NOTES.

These two classes of 6th graders and 7/8th graders have brought an interesting perspective to my Peace Corps service as I share with them my experiences so far. The first group of letters that these students have written included many questions about my life as a Peace Corps volunteer. This weeks edition includes shopping and fast food!

Where do you go shopping for clothes? Is there a Macy’s? Are there malls? Is there a Target?

When I do go shopping for clothes, which is very rare for me here, I would go to the second hand market where people sell used clothing that is donated or sold at a low-cost mostly coming from Germany. The are no large department stores like Macy’s or Target, but there is a large store that can be found in both Chisinau and Balti that feels similar to Costco, Sam’s Club, or Wal-Mart. It’s called Metro and you can find clothing and food sold in bulk there. Since I live in Balti, we have one here and it is a 15 minute walk from my apartment. As for malls, there is a large shopping mall in the capital city of Chisinau (which I have not been to yet) and then there are a few other shopping-mall-type places that are like a smaller version of a mall.

This is the large Metro store that I can walk to from my apartment.
This is the large Metro store that I can walk to from my apartment.

Do you have fast food there?

Yes, there is fast food, but it’s not a typical thing for people to eat fast food here since many families eat meals at home. McDonald’s can be found in Chisinau, but it seems to be more of an up-scale-fast-food restaurant with American food and it is also expensive. The type of fast food you can get here would be considered a kebab or shawarma – meat with cabbage, tomato, french fries, and sauce rolled into a pita-type bread. They also have hot dogs and serve some sort of version of a hamburger or chicken sandwich at various places too. At most of these types of fast food places they can range from a building with a window where you order and pick up your food or you enter a building, but there is no seating and sometimes a thin table along the window or wall where you can stand to eat the food.

Keep in mind that every Peace Corps volunteer’s experience is different – so the information have I shared may not be the same story from others’ perspectives and experiences.

Stay tuned for more “classroom notes” coming…next week!

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