January 20, 2010--This is a Story of Perseverance
I awoke with headache and a yearning to stay in the place I had awoken... although duty patiently prevailed. "I must be at work" I told myself. Life called, I answered by rolling back over in bed. After one hour of listening to the debate of the little apparitions on my shoulders, I moseyed into life. Convinced that the day would be a failure, I went to work and did what any failure would do. I wasted away the gift of time on random internet browsing. I read every article related to healthcare and the populist hangover facing America after the Massachusetts election. Just when I thought I had had enough of my nose leaking like a high-powered squirt gun and my "for-fun" reading curdling the blood in my veins, I sat and contemplating my early departure from work and the ensuing laziness that would come of it.
I sat... I sat... I sat and then my partner blindsided me with a wintertime picnic—today is the day of John he said—and in our particular office building “the Day of Johns” because two people are named John (Ivan is the direct translation of John). To hear that we were having a picnic at work was odd enough, despite the fact it is the dead of winter. The patient side of my mind said give this an hour, if you’re still feeling like hell you can go home.
The thing with any given masa in this country is that giving a little bit of time no matter the type of celebration it will get interesting with patience. Within an hour the huge table I usually sit with my computer was cleared and a table cloth spread to its edges, with a multitude of workers from the other offices throughout the building. I realized very quickly that I had been introduced to all of the men in the building quite long ago and the new faces present in the room were all women, who were in turn introduced to me as “not-married, not-married, and not-married”, normally in America this would make me a little uncomfortable, but since I have lived in Moldova I have become more accustomed to the statements and questions in this vein. I can’t tell you how many times I have been introduced to a female here, and asked immediately in her presence whether or not she is attractive. Alright actually that is still a little hard to deal with, both because of the language barrier and the obvious awkwardness.
This masa ensued for the better part of the afternoon with the guest list being refreshed every hour. One of the more interesting guests was a local priest, with a jolly smile on his bearded face reminiscent of a post-high school Santa Claus, who brought Kraft singles (WTF, where did he get them?), wheat bread (the first I had seen in a long time) and tartar sauce (interesting mix) and an icon of the Virgin Mary (he is a priest, it’s not weird) to the party. Knowing that my partner Ivan is not religious, he gingerly laughed when he placed the iconic Virgin Mary picture on our bookshelf when Ivan was out of the room. I thought it was quite funny, mostly because it was a priest, who normally I see as extremely serious in Moldova. Maybe I just don’t make it to the church enough here, maybe things get a little more wild there. J
On this particular morning I decided to wear my Yak Trax for the very first time. Yak Trax if you are unfamiliar are amazing little slip-on traction additions to your shoes, they work extremely well. I found myself disappointed that I had not worn them earlier, it would have prevented the two spills that I had taken early in the year on the ice. Anyhow, this being my first day using the little gems, of course, the risk of losing them would be at an all-time high. It always seems that way for me. If I don’t ruin something or lose it the first day I have it, I can expect that it will be safe for at least the next year. So “how could I possibly lose my Yak Trax on the first day of using them?” You ask. Well, I gave them away to the young Saint Nick. You might think “Why the hell would you do that?” as I thought when was doing it and even now. The answer is that I was called out, being the number one diplomat for America in my village in Moldova, it was hard to say “no”. I was asked in front of a dead-silent room full of people “Why don’t you give those to the priest? He is a priest after all”. With all eyes on me and my decision, I sensed the corner I managed to get myself into (merely by not wanting to fall on my ass that morning, can you blame me?) and dutifully handed the Yak Trax over with a sigh and a pitiful “Why not?”.
Overall the day was a success, the patience of waiting out the sickness led to yet another unforgettable day in Moldova. Yet on the negative side I am still able to fall on my butt any given day of iciness. Good ol’ status quo of life I suppose.
Unfortunately, I wasn't anticipating the Day of Johns and didn't bring my camera, hence the reason you only get pictures of the Winter Wonderland.