A few weekends ago I was able to join my host family at their village house (which they call the villa) for some much needed rest. They told me I needed a break from the computer and the meetings and projects that have filled up my time over the past year. So before I knew it, I was whisked off to the villa with a few books and a few clothes I could wear in the garden.
The water pump for the entire village had been broken so there was no running water and the house was still getting reorganized from the winter… it felt like camping and I loved it!
When we got there my host dad immediately could tell something was amiss with the cherry trees he had left guarded by stick-replicas of my host mom and host sister – who were supposed to guard and scare away the birds who liked to dine on the sweet cherries. I followed him out to assess the damage of the trees and he told me it was a tragedy… they ate about 90% of all the cherries. Next thing I know he was doing this…
He then declared “war with the birds”… please know that no birds were harmed or will be harmed, he did this to scare them away from the fruit trees.
As we ate dinner my host mom and dad were joking that my job the next day would be to guard the tree and keep the birds away. I happily agreed, as it seemed anything I tried to help with took extra patience for all of us and I seemed to do things at a slower pace than expected. I learned some new vocabulary that’s for sure.
The next morning after I ate breakfast and offered to help with things in the garden, they told me to relax and read my books. I found a nice sunny spot in the front of the villa near the cherry trees and started reading… and sure enough, those pesky birds were out in the tree again. I tried to scare them away by waving my arms and yelling in Romanian, but they didn’t move. Next, I tried yelling in English… and the traditional “SHOO-SHOO!” which seemed to kinda work.
My host mom heard all the commotion in the front of the house and then hands me an old tin can and a big stick. She shows me how to bang on the can properly to scare the birds. So there I was on a sunny Saturday afternoon reading a book and banging on an old rusted tin can with a large awkward stick to scare away the birds when they perched themselves in the cherry tree. Memories in the making.
My host family found it incredibly entertaining that I agreed to do this and we are all still laughing about it all. So who knows what my next task will be next time I make a visit to the villa house.
A few weekends ago I met my friend Katie in Chisinau and we made our way to her village which is about an hour and a half from the capital and is located along the Nistru river, not far from Transnistria.
She lives in a village of about 3,000 people and works with the mayor’s office there doing community and organizational development (aka rock-star). It was quite a treat to see her life in Molovata and see what she has been up to over the last ~7 months.
We hopped on the 5:15 pm rutiera that was standing room only by the time we got there. About 30 minutes into the ride, the rutiera quickly turned into a sauna and Katie and I could not help but look at one another and just laugh.
After that rutiera ride, I knew the weekend would be quite the adventure.
After an evening of eating and drinking with her host family, catching up on life and some needed rest we were ready for some adventure. The next day we set out for a tour of her village with her trusty dog-companion, Clifford.
We set out after breakfast and toured the village so I could see all the places she works and visits on a regular basis.
Katie made a new friend along the way, or maybe it was Clifford who did? – and he joined us for our little excursion up a steep hill to check out the view of the Nistru and Molavata from afar.
After about 4 hours of walking and exploring Katie’s village life we made our way back to her place where we met up with another friend who lives in the neighboring village and she joined us for lunch at Katie’s host family home.
It was such a fabulous and needed weekend away to be able to spend some time with this lovely gal and also to see Eliz too which was an awesome surprise. I am so grateful for Katie’s hospitality and friendship. I’m already planning my next visit to that area again in a few months. Until next time… la multi ani!