Thursday, December 10, 2009

6-month review

December 10, 2009--  6-month review

Apparently I have already been here for 6 months.  I think that calls for a moments of brief reflection.  Maybe I will do this every three-six months—absolutely no promises.

Where am I?

I am still living in a country by the name of Moldova.  It hasn’t changed much sense I have been here, although my local internet provider promises me that faster internet is right around the corner.  I have talked about the possible changing of the political regime in earlier posts.  The latest news on that subject is there is no change—again.  Moldova currently has a interim president who will be there at least until next year.  The rather large communist party declined to offer a candidate for the presidency and boycotted the vote in general, leaving the reformist parties 8 votes shy of the 61 votes that are requisite for a presidential hopeful.  Interesting, yes. Prolonged politics just like the US, yes.   I’ll keep you informed.

What am I doing?

Currently I am exploring possible projects with my partner.  I would really like to do a project growing mushrooms with local farmers, but I have yet to have found a suitable partner for that.  I am also trying to put together a presentation that is based purely on cheap alternatives to expensive store-brought products for farmers.  We will see how that one goes. It is a rather difficult thing to do. 

Other projects involve trying to figure how I can help preschools here in my village.   There are a total of 4, all of which need help in their own sort of way.  One in particular is in considerably more need than the others although getting on the same page as to what is needed has proven to be a challenge. 

The one project that I have complete faith in right now, takes places at the health club that I mentioned earlier in my blogging adventures.  The club I have realized provides a great alternative for teenagers to do something productive, other than drinking.  I, for example, can speak from experience on the things the things you teenagers resort to, when they feel there is nothing to do in town.  This particular club, despite the endless character it possesses is in desperate of some essential repairs:  a roof that is the prime culprit for the growth of mold; a floor that has been the victim of 25 years domestic abuse from the dropping of weights; and a general scrub and paint job that would spruce the place up.   I would like to organize some sort of artistic contest where a local student(s) would be able to paint or add a piece of art to the décor of the gym when the place has been completed.  A forewarning to you all, my partner in this project and I have decided that the best funding source available for this particular project would be a grant in which I request funding from various sources in the states—including you kind folks.  I will keep you updated.  This may very well be the death of this blog.    

Can I talk to people in Russian, yes or no? Answer:  kind of, sometimes, maybe, all of which are suitable answers.  It is funny how fast a normal conversation can dive into the realm of Aaron-has-no-idea-what-you-are-talking-about.  I feel like I have gotten to a level where I can in general understand what is happening in conversation around me.  With adequate time, I can contribute a decent answer that mostly likely won’t be grammatically correct, but at least it is a try.  I am excited to see what an additional six months will do for me. 

How do I occupy myself?

Occupied is not the best word for it, merely the first word that comes to mind.  Pace in general is a lot slower here, I usually spend the first half of my work day exploring possibilities for projects and having small conversations with people at work.   I usually get distracted by a decent modicum of news via about 5 different sites.  Today, for example, I explored the how to use Google Wave and how I might be able help my partners here with it, if of course they have computers.  I usually spend a good chunk of my day exploring something like that. 

After a large Bulgarian/Moldovan lunch I will study a little bit with one of my two tutors.  I usually go to tutor classes for 2 hours at a time and twice a week.  A typical class consists of trying to talk without the help of books or dictionaries. We usually simply talk about the things I have done since the last time I have seen my tutor, after my new material has run out we descend into the Russian textbooks which I was given at the start of the Peace Corps which still, not surprisingly, contain a lot of material I don’t yet know. 

After the lesson, I either play games in English with a 4th grade class or I make my way to the gym.  Hopefully I have worked up at least a couple drops of sweat from the workout, otherwise the super-sized meal that is waiting at home will add two kilograms rather than one.  I have made a promise to myself to regain my health when I return to the states, it will have to wait two years though.   

Food in general—how is it?

I already mentioned I plan to give an epic fight to regain my health when I get back to the states, that having been said I haven’t become accustomed to nearly all of the food here.  From the overly-buttered and -oiled everything, to the sheer mass amount of food consistently in front of you , to the soup appropriately described as the “fat soup” amongst volunteers.  Yes I eat it all and it is pretty good, although if I was to name a top ten of things that I miss it food items would probably make up 8 of those slots.  I have found it is really easy to miss good food.
That is all I have for the moment, I am a little tired.  How have the last 6 months treated you?  Any big news that I don’t know about?

Cheers folks,



  1. Getting longer between posts, geez. I don't blame you, I would get tired of trying to come up with something to write about to. Good luck with the getting your health back in check when you come home. I don't advise that. But you may be more mentally tough than me. Not much has changed around here in the last six months. Eric got confermed last sunday. Thinking about going snowboarding this year. Been skiing/snowboarding twice in about ten years. Just kind of sounds fun for some reason. Probably take Eric and see how big of a fight we can get into trying to teach him, should be interesting. Might be pretty ugly actually. D is having his birthday party tomorrow at Chuck E Cheese, that is gonna be fun. I will tell him happy birthday for you. I been playing raquetball lately. Maybe you should find a place to practice that around there so when you come back we can have a compeditive match. Well that is about all I can think of for now. Later Bro

  2. oily food, fat soup?
    very strange, I consider Moldovan food by far one of the healthiest...there are exceptions of course, but it's organic to begin with, especially in the summer - tons of fresh fruit and vegetables. While living in the states I was thinking exactly the same about American food. Different perceptions I guess.

  3. Dear Anonymous,

    I feel that I need to apologize first and for most for talking in a fairly condescending tone about Moldovan food. I actually really do like the food here, and blame the attitude on a late night and lack of sleep.

    That being said, whereas the quality of Moldovan vegetables is rather high here, I can't give my personal label of organic to the food. There is good reason as to why water distillers are given to volunteers here. That same water is what is used on "organic" vegetables here in Moldova.

    I agree with you that American food can be extremely unhealthy as well. There is good reason why we have such high levels of obesity, but since you have been in America you know that we don't exactly have one uniform diet. America's menu is a hodgepodge of multi-ethnic varieties. You could say that it is unhealthy especially if the only way that you define American cuisine is by fast food, which is obviously chalk-full of preservatives and more than a few calories and fat grams.

    Much like it is hard to stay away from fast food restaurants in america, it is also relatively difficult to avoid meals here that contain a large amounts of saturated fats or sodium--two of the leading causes of such things as myocardial infarctions and a plethora of other illnesses. That particular difficulty may be one that I alone possess, but my mind tends to lean the opposite way on that.

    I am a self-described gourmand, a food lover, that being said I love the food here and love the food back home--in general. I try to keep it reasonably healthy while maintaining good taste. I think it is perfectly fair to point out a something that is unhealthy in your diet and say exactly what it is. I personally love american novelty foods like pizza, hamburgers and fried foods. All of which horribly greasy and generally horrible for you, but nonetheless delicious.

    Once again I am tired.


  4. Aaron, I love how you can still be so poliet even being tired and trying to explain your self to Mr./Mrs. Anonymous. keep the posts coming I love reading them. Take care and enjoy and cherish the time you have there. Oh by the way let me know what I could do to help out with those preschools!