{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.

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{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.

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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.

{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.

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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 I can only imagine the history these doors have experienced and most likely they were originally made by hand.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.

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

{Photo Friday}: Turkish Coffee

Have you ever tried Turkish coffee? Not only is it served in a tiny beautiful ceramic teacup it brings a delicious flavorful coffee taste. I just returned from a quick 4 day trip in Istanbul, Turkey where I met a dear friend and her family for a quick visit. Such a fun-filled time visiting, sight-seeing, and trying new foods!

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Tell me, where have you tasted the best coffee during your travels? Do you have a favorite?

{Photo Friday}: My Valentine’s Day 2016

This past Valentine’s day I found myself on a random quick trip to visit some exotic animals. This is where I met these ostriches. This wins the most random Valentine’s day ever. Who knew there were ostriches in Moldova?! I learn something new… everyday. I love this place.

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The ostriches of Moldova. 

{Photo Friday}: Lights are out for the holidays

Around mid-December the center of Balti was all decked out with colorful lights, a stage, carnival rides, and cute little shops that sold sweets, hot wine, and toys for kids. Since we celebrate a number of holidays for about a month straight, they are still out this week since yesterday marked “Old New Year” from the Orthodox calendar.

December through January feels like one big celebration. “New” Christmas kicked off the celebrations on December 25, next was New Year’s on January 1, then another celebration on January 7, which is “old” Christmas, finally ending all these holiday celebrations on January 14 for “old” New Year (also St. Vasile Day).  It made this holiday season more festive with all these lights throughout the center of town.

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The center of Balti during the holidays with all the festive lights.