Wednesday morning I traveled from my site in Balti, two hours south to Chisinau (the capitol) to attend a PCV organized event entitled Storytellers. Hearing the stories of the first Ambassador to Moldova, the first Moldovan President, the first Peace Corps Country Director in Moldova and so many others who have been touched by Peace Corps in Moldova, made for a really wonderful day. (Of course, seeing my friends and hearing how their first two weeks at sight were going was a treat as well!)
After a day of inspiring Peace Corps stories, catching up with a few friends over a beer in Chisinau, I headed off to my host family’s house in Stauceni. I was amazed how excited I was on the bus ride to Stauceni, how much I felt like I was coming home. When I got there I was shocked to see the apartments that had been under construction during all of my PST, were completed. I was greeted at the gate with a hug from my host mother and spent the rest of the evening with my host siblings, who were overjoyed to see me.
I could not help but be particularly struck by the contrast between remembering my host brother’s first greeting and this one. When I first came to Stauceni, the entire first few days all he would say to me was, “Don’t speak english,” which he was saying in Romanian. This time when he saw me he jumped on me, hugging me until his Grandmom made him let me go and then spent the rest of the evening fighting with his older sister over who I would sit next to and play with.
My host mother had prepared a masa (huge celebratory meal) with all my favorite foods for dinner and we stayed up eating, laughing and drinking until almost midnight. The next morning I met two other volunteers, Max and Kate who had also stayed with their host families in Stauceni and we got a ride to the Swearing In celebration from our LTI (Language Teacher) Diana.
This year’s swearing in included several important Moldovan and American dignitaries, as well as traditional dances and songs performed by PCVs and two M28 speakers, discussing their PC experience so far in Romanian and Russian. (Videos to follow shortly.)