June 14th, 2010—Welcome Youngbloods
So yeah, too long. I know. I trust that my most ardent supporters somehow got through the past couple months of my silence with all of their fingers and toes—congratulations. Life has become life here in Moldova, maybe that is the reason that I haven’t written as much in the past few months.
This last weekend, my fellow M24s and I became veterans in Moldova. We now have a group of M25s below us in the grand pecking order of Peace Corps Moldova. Something like 65 volunteers just came and had pretty much the exact same 3-day training course in Chisinau that we did. It was interesting to be on the other side of the first encounter with Moldova. Not to say that, I abruptly look like a hardened veteran, but I do think that my group in general has lost the initial wide-eyed look that comes with living in a foreign country. The new volunteers will at the very least live in constant surrealism for the next few months, it never seems to go away completely, but it definitely becomes less over the course of a volunteer’s time here. I still love Moldova and the randomness of being on the other side of the planet, the strange regiment has simply been incorporated into my daily routine.
The proper way to welcome someone to Moldova--with a mustache:
A few days with the new volunteers, yielded exactly what was expected—a lot of half nervous questions about life here as a whole. I loved seeing the enthusiasm of the new group and their appreciation of it all. It is hard to create the thousand-word picture, so when you can show someone exactly what you mean when you are talking about living in another country it is all the more fulfilling.
Not only did the last weekend constitute the new M25 group, it also marked the year marker of me being in volunteer. It is absolutely crazy to think that I have already been here that long. I feel as though I have accomplished a quite few things since I have been here, but not nearly as much as I probably could have. I may have graduated to 1st grade (by 1st grade, I mean the level above kindergarten not to be confused with a superior or top-rate form of understanding) Russian by this point but that still may be pushing it. I think I must sound like a pretentious little child when I talk because I can barely understand a conversation sometimes or talk for that matter but then I will drop a big word on someone that they weren’t expecting me to know. It like listening to a child babble on about what he did that day in practically incomprehensible language and then drop a famous Winston Churchill quote perfectly. I keep them on their toes.
One year here has produced a real feeling of home in Moldova, Peace Corps friendships that will most likely last a lifetime, a decent modicum of Russian language, and a respect of culture that goes far beyond merely celebrating St. Paddy’s day or Cinco de Mayo.