{Photo Friday}: Golden Fall

I had the great opportunity to get out with a friend one weekend to visit one of the many parks located in the capital city. It was an incredible fall day, complete with an idyllic setting and fall weather. I’m glad we stayed long enough to explore and adventure through the park to catch the best sunset I’ve ever experienced in Moldova.

img_8176

Among the many visitors at this particular park, we had the chance to run into some random goats enjoying the fall day as well. It was such a great afternoon that I cannot help but to share more photos.

Advertisements

{Photo Friday}: Cathedral Park View

I’ve moved to the capital city and get to see this view on a regular basis as I pass it at least once or twice a day on my way to the office. The view is through the Triumphal Arch and looks into the center of the park onto the Nativity Cathedral, which is the main Orthodox church in Chisinau.

img_7884

{Photo Friday}: A View from the Rutiera Window

Instead of a photo for today’s “Photo Friday” I have a short clip of a video of what it’s like right now to drive through Moldova. The fields are beginning to turn a golden color as the sunflowers are blooming. It’s breathtakingly beautiful!

Also, you’ll notice in the video the transition between driving on a not-so-great road to a newly renovated/constructed road.

{Photo Friday}: Wedding Dance

I recently had the honor to go to my first traditional Moldovan wedding celebration. My friend, and also work partner had married a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (RPCV) who had served in Moldova before me. They recently just celebrated their marriage in Moldova with a full on traditional Moldovan wedding.

IMG_6228
The hora, a traditional dance in Moldova, is usually danced at all celebrations. At this wedding, guests danced the hora around the couple and traditional dancers in the center. This particular hora was quite fast as you can tell by the blurriness in the photo.

Farewell to February & March

Time flies when you’re having fun. February and March flew by quickly. I’m still wondering what happened to winter but am grateful for the change to blue skies.

In February I hung out with some amazing youth as we worked on various projects.

I went on a random adventure and visited an exotic farm on Valentine’s day with my friend and her family… and we got to meet some moody, muddy ostriches. (Who knew there were ostriches in Moldova?!)

IMG_5073
The ostriches of Moldova. 

Along with a local teacher we hosted a location to take part in the “Write On Competition” at a local school. It was optional to take part in this creative writing competition, as you can see in the photo all girls showed up for this opportunity.

IMG_5079
The students practicing their creative writing skills during the write on competition. 

Also, in February I made a quick trip to Istanbul, Turkey to visit my friend Shelby as she was meeting all of her family there for a family vacay. How could I pass up the opportunity to see her when she was a 1-hour flight away?! It was so fun to see her and get to meet her family and to explore Istanbul together.

DSC_0737
With Shelby as the Blue Mosque sits behind us. 

Then before I knew it, March quickly approached and signs of spring were appearing everywhere along with gifts of¬†martisor. Early on in March a few of us volunteers made the quick trip to fellow volunteer’s village that is right outside of our city to make bread and placinta for the day. We had a wonderful time getting to know her community and her amazing partner teacher she works with as they showed us how to¬†make these delicious filled pastries using a brick oven in her home.

Between February 28 – March 5 we celebrated Peace Corps week. A few of us volunteers in Balti met with a number of students from the local University and talked about our experiences as volunteers. It was fun to meet them all and hear their questions. My favorite question one of the students asked was “If you could describe your experience in one word, what would it be?” My response (which I never did get to share with the group) would be “Adventura!”. Every day holds some sort of random grand adventure.

10415591_1082748341777316_10691712176454387_n

We celebrated International Women’s Day on March 8, while each week I met with two different teams of girls in Balti who are preparing their projects for Technovation Challenge.

IMG_5270
Girls from one of the teams in Balti working on their project. 

It’s been an amazing journey over these past 22 months (!) and sometimes I still can’t believe this is my reality. Over 2 years ago I had made the “Peace Corps leap”and decided to leave my comforts of “home”, my friends, my family, and a job I enjoyed so that I could do something that challenges me daily. But… if you haven’t noticed through my blog writings… I love it. Peace Corps’ slogan of “The toughest job you’ll ever love” is so true.

12779188_10209109729280791_6271991777528271564_o
Celebrating Leap Day on February 29 with some awesome local youth.

Welcome to the little corner of my life where I get to hang out with amazing youth and teach them how to jump for photos, visit exotic farms to see ostriches, and travel to new places to meet friends from home. Each day I am grateful for the new day and the adventures that each one unfolds.

 

{Photo Friday}: Let’s Eat Mamaliga

It’s time to share about this popular traditional dish: Mamaliga! The yellow sticky porridge-like-bread is made from yellow cornmeal and served with meat (we usually eat it with pork), scrambled eggs, sour cream, and brinza (homemade cheese).

As noted by Wikipedia, it is a traditional dish found in Romania, Moldova, and Western Ukraine. “Historically a peasant food, it was often used as a substitute for bread or even as a staple food in the poor rural areas. However, in the last decades it has emerged as an upscale dish available in the finest restaurants.”

I have been told many times by my host family that it is often eaten with your hands, as I try to use a fork to mix it all up and properly distribute the mamaliga with the other ingredients.

photo
My host mom prepared mamaliga to eat this past week — so good!

{Photo Friday}: Albastru Doors

I have this strange fascination with taking photos of doors. It doesn’t matter where I am, I continue to be drawn to them. Especially when they are particular colors of albastru, which means “blue” in Romanian. I stumbled upon this unique¬†set of doors during a walk through a nearby village. I can only imagine the history these doors have experienced and most likely they¬†were originally made by hand. I think they’re beautiful.

doorsofmoldova
A set of blue doors found in the village of Corlateni during a spring-time walk.