I am back in Stauceni for Phase three of my Peace Corps training, which happens to coincides with Stauceni’s hram and my youngest host sister, Maria’s, birthday. (Training starts Monday and Saturday was hram!)
It’s just before seven am this morning when I’m awoken by my host sister – quickly and quietly I roll outta bed, grab the giant animal balloon being offered me, my camera and my present and make my way down the hall to Maria’s room. We open the door and the family around me immediately bursts into La Multi Ani – the romanian happy birthday song.
Presents are given and we begin popping champagne and drinking it by the goblet full along with chocolate; the kids are given kiddie champagne. We head downstairs and have a light breakfast before we start getting ready for church. I attended my first orthodox service and first church service since being in Moldova.
You’re probably wondering – What is hram? It is the “city day.” Every village, city or town here has one and always involves lots of food, wine, cognac, some dancing and maybe a concert. Our hram coincided with my youngest host sister, Maria’s birthday, so naturally a busy day of celebrations, masas and wine was ahead.
After church and a meeting in Chisinau, I returned to Stauceni, just in time for Anastasia’s performance on the main stage at the festival. Two of my site mates from Balti who were also in Chisinau for the same meeting and a few of the members of Team Stauceni, who were back in town early were all there and I got to enjoy the concert with them, before we headed off to our respective masas. My site mates and I were invited by a friend in Stauceni’s house before we headed off to the evening concert and my family’s masa. All in all it was a fun day, busy and filled with lots of food, wine, music and friends.