Happy International Women’s Day!

At this point in time here in Moldova it seems like there is a celebration around every corner. Today was no exception. Today, March 8th marks International Women’s Day around the world and it is widely celebrated here. Many businesses were closed and people had the day off from work.

I had the opportunity to help my host mom in the kitchen in the morning while learning how to make some traditional mayonnaise covered salads. For lunch, I met up with some other volunteers in the city center to catch up and to celebrate the day. After that, I journeyed home to help with the final preparations for the evening meal celebrating Women’s Day.

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Our masa (meal) before the main dishes were set on the table and before we sat down to eat. Note the salads on the table, I helped make them! I didn’t manage to take many photos as I had hoped.

On this day, women are celebrated well – usually men, children, or friends give gifts of flowers, candy, scarves or slippers. My host dad gave us ladies in our home each a flower and my host mom gave me a flower vase to put it in.

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The tulip in the vase sitting in my windowsill. 

After dinner, I went for a walk with my friend Ana for a little adventure through the city center to get out for some fresh air and to walk off all the food I had filled myself with this evening. She is so sweet as she gave me a handmade bouquet of flowers with some delicious chocolates tucked in with them!

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The boquet of flowers Ana made for me tucked in a cute heart-shaped box along with some delicious chocolates.

That pretty much sums up my day, celebrating and being celebrated on this special occasion. Simple, but yet full of many of the people who have been part of my life here over the past 20-some months. Which, if you know me well you know that it fills me up when I get to spend quality time with people I love. It was a good day. 🙂

Wishing all you beautiful ladies near and far a Happy Women’s Day! May you know how much you are loved! xoxo

HAPPY VALENTINES DAY

5 Fun and Unique Signs of Spring in Moldova

Here it is, almost the end of March and signs of spring have been noticeable for a few weeks now. I had great intentions on sharing this information at the beginning of the month, but time has gotten the best of me lately.

The following are the top 5 ways I have discovered that spring is around the corner in Moldova. Enjoy!

1) Celebrate Martisor [mar-stee-shore]…

A martisor that my host mom gave me to wear on my coat.
A martisor that my host mom gave me to wear on my coat.

March 1st marks the first day of spring in Moldova. In honor of this day, known as Martisor, people make or purchase red and white pendents and give them to friends and family. They will wear them for the entire month of March pinned to their clothing or coats, close to their heart. It is believed that when you wear it for the entire month of March that you will be strong and healthy in the year ahead. On the last day of March you then take it and hang it on a fruit tree and make a wish. If the tree blooms in the spring then your wish will come true.

There are also some interesting folktales about the story of martisor, you can read about a popular one here.

2) Women’s Day…

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Flowers from a vendor in Chisinau.

International Women’s day is a big holiday that is celebrated very well here. Flowers and/or gifts are given to all women on this day in celebration and honor of the role that women play in every day life. I had to travel to Chisinau that day and met many strangers who wished me a “happy day” and some even smiled. I saw lots of flowers everywhere, many being purchased and many men and women walking through the city with them. I’m pretty sure the demand for flowers for Women’s day in Moldova is probably equivalent to flower demands for Valentine’s day in the US, if not more.

3) Kindergarten children singing and dancing…

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Every kindergarten classroom hosts a program called Matineu in honor of their mothers and to celebrate spring. I was able to attend 2 of these celebrations with some of the classes I teach English words to every week. During this hour long program, the young kids are dressed in fancy costumes and they recite poetry, dance, and sing songs about spring and their moms. I had taught them a song in English a few weeks prior to this program called “I love my mommy”…. and the surprise was on me when I got called to the front of the room in the middle of the program to have them sing it (which I was not prepared to do so).

Also, I included a short little clip of one of the songs that took me by surprise – I didn’t know there was a Romanian version of this song. Let’s see if you can recognize it… it was a popular song from 1997. Oh the new things you can learn… I have to admit, I didn’t know what to think of this at first but it’s kinda cute.

4) Spring flowers…

One of the many snowdrop flowers you can find at the beginning of spring.
One of the many snowdrop flowers you can find at the beginning of spring. (This photo was taken by one of the youth from a photo club/workshop I started a few weeks ago)

Beautiful spring flowers begin popping up around the beginning of March. Many of them can be found in the forest. My host dad said you can oftentimes find people selling them along the road. The first ones that pop up are snow drops (pictured above) and some small wild purple flowers that I don’t know the name of yet

5) Thick Mud…

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A muddy road my friend Katie and I ventured along in her village.

Mud… or glod as it is known in Romianian. This is something that is not scarce here in Moldova. In the villages where they have no paved roads it can be extremely muddy, and requiring you to clean your boots multiple times a day. In the city, there is still a lot of mud, but at least there are some parts that you can get by without muddy shoes. Ugh…glod for days.

Happy Spring!