Answering my own questions…

A few weeks ago I shared about being nominated for the Liebster Award and in turn nominated a number of other Peace Corps Volunteers. Part of this award is that you answer 10 questions that are given by the nominator and then also come up with 10 questions for those you nominate to answer on their blog… and the cycle continues.

Since then, I’ve had some requests to answer those same questions… so, poftim!

IMG_8078[1]1. How many different countries have you traveled to and where?
In total 10. Within this past year of being in Peace Corps I have visited 6 new countries. I’ve traveled to Malta, Turkey, Romania, Switzerland, France, and you can’t forget Moldova. Before Peace Corps I had visited Canada, Aruba, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, and Rwanda.

2. What food item do you miss the most?
Hands down, I miss the BBQ Chicken Pizza from Home Delivery Pizza pub in State College, PA. There’s no way to replicate that pizza here.

3. Favorite book (or article) you have read so far since being a PCV?
I randomly picked up The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway one day when I was visiting the American Corner. It took me a little bit of time to get used to it but found by the end of the book I had enjoyed it and the change of style of writing I usually pick up to read.

4. Favorite item you are glad you brought with you?
Hmm… this was a tough question. I’m glad I brought the game, UNO with me. I taught my host sisters during training how to play it as well as my host sister in Balti. The game has come in handy for hangouts with the neighborhood kids and various events as well. I’ve learned how to explain the rules in Romanian too, so that’s a plus.

5. What is your favorite thing about the country you serve in?
My host families. I have 2 wonderful host families here in Moldova, one from during training and one that I still currently live with. I feel as if both of these families have made me feel like part of their own family and for that I am so grateful.

6. If you could choose between hot summers and cold winters, which would you choose?
Hot! I’d rather be warm than cold. Sundresses are more fun to wear in warmer weather than colder weather. Although, I do have to admit that I really like scarves (A LOT) and find them difficult to wear in warm weather.

7. Favorite food from your country of service?
There’s this salad I like that they make with red beets mixed with mayonnaise, garlic, and walnuts. It was the first food item I learned how to make here.

Best traveling companions, The Daultons!

8. From your experience, where is best place to travel to?
From my experience, I have found the best places to travel to are anywhere you have good friends or family to meet you when you get there. For example, anywhere that my dear friends, the Daultons live, send me away. They just moved to China, so I hope/plan to visit China in the near future.

9. If you could choose between the public transportation in your country of service or walking, which do you prefer?
I’d rather walk, although I have to admit if I am running late to be somewhere in town or in Chisinau or if it’s below zero I’m likely to take the public transportation even though it’s not my favorite.

10. If you could describe your Peace Corps service in one word, what would it be?


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!