The ride to New York from our hotel in Philadelphia began with bonding (via some version of hot seat) with some of the girls on my bus. By the time we were passing Newark we’d drifted into our own conversations and thoughts. A few of the girls were texting or calling loved ones and I felt so naked without my phone. For a second I was overwhelmed by this desire to text someone who’d appreciate it about this funny comment or a last thank you for my final dinner in the states and then I realized I was ok with not saying it all. It was a funny moment for me – that after months of obsessing, crying, celebrating and being terrified, I was alright with not being able to be in contact with people from home.
As we drove into New York I was glued to the window, looking not just at New York as a city, but at the last pieces and moments of time in America for over two years. I was so exhilarated and I had this flash back to that first day on the bus in Israel, that feeling of being alive, awake, present and just trying to take it all in.
Those of you who know me well will be unsurprised to hear that both my suitcases were substantially overweight and that I did not have to pay overage fees on either. After over five hours at JFK, we were all loaded onto the plane, bags checked and off to Munich. I had planned to sleep on the flight since we would be arriving in Munich at around 7a Wednesday morning, having left JFK at 5:45p Tuesday night, but things did not go according to plan and the little sleep I did get on the plane wasn’t sound. By the time we arrived in Munich I was getting my second wind, helped by being able to freshen up in the airport bathroom (along with just about every other girl in my group) before boarding the plane for Chisinau. Arriving in Chisinau felt slightly unreal, this moment I’d anticipated for so long was finally here. As we got off the plane and onto the bus we saw across the tarmac a contingent of PCVs waving signs and cheering for us. After four cities and three countries in under 24 hours – it was the most welcome sight I could have imagined.
The remainder of the day feels like a blur, seen through the haze of exhaustion – we had a pizza party (pizza here is surprisingly good), met our mentors, were briefed by the country director, given a water purifier, fire extinguisher, smoke detector, medical kit and then sent off to our host family’s for the night.
My host family consists of a mom, dad, host-sister who is 21, a dog and three adorable grandchildren, a nine year old girl, six year old boy and three year old girl. They live in the town of Stauceni, which is a short drive from the capital. As soon as I arrived at their home, I took off my shoes outside their home (we were advised to do this, since they don’t wear shoes inside here), was welcomed, shown to my room and told dinner would be ready in thirty minutes. They also gave me some great news – they have wi-fi!
Dinner was great, but almost silent for me, since none of the family expect my host sister speaks any english and I speak no Romanian as of yet. The language barrier will be great inspiration for me to study hard and I have to learn a few phrases tomorrow so I can at least tell them I enjoy the meal and ask the grand kids a few questions.
Its seven hours ahead here and I’m exhausted, so wish me luck tomorrow as I begin language classes and have my first full day in Moldova!! Also special shout out to RWB as they compete for the kickball championships tomorrow night – I know you guys are gonna kill it.