*Here we continue the interview series we started several weeks ago, with one from another Peace Corps Volunteer in Moldova, Hayle. Hayle’s interview doesn’t really follow the same Q & A format of the others, but still a great read.
My name is Hayle and I am a 26 year-old Peace Corps Volunteer. I currently live in a village of about 3,000 people in northern Moldova where I teach English to grades 4-12. I was born and raised in a small coastal town in Southern Oregon.
I attended Oregon State University, and that is where I first learned of Peace Corps. It was my senior year of college and I just happened to see an advertisement for a PC presentation that caught my interest, so I stopped in. I was inspired. It lit a spark in my soul and I knew I had to do it. No question. I didn’t really discuss it with anyone, I didn’t really think about it, I went home and started my online application. A year later I found myself in tears at the Eugene airport boarding a plane to Moldova. To simply answer the question “how did you end up here? In this moment, in this time, in this place” I am here in this moment, at this time, in Mihaileni, Moldova because of a spark. A spark of inspiration. A spark of hope. Would I do it again? Yes. It has changed my life and forced me to grow in ways I wasn’t sure were possible.
Moldova. It’s hard to sum up my thoughts about Moldova in just a few sentences. But, here goes nothing.
My favorite thing about Moldova is the people. The people are hard-working and hospitable. They have very little but appreciate it greatly and have no problem giving all that they have. Some of my favorite stories come from being welcomed into the homes of people in my village; whether it be because they just made bread and wanted to share it with me or because their grape vines were full and they wanted to send me home with a bag of fresh grapes. My least favorite thing about Moldova is… Well, there’s a tie. I hate the mud. Walking to and from school through mud, cow poop, and puddles definitely gets old. I also dislike rutieras. Rutieras are what makes up Moldova’s public transportation system. They are overcrowded, smelly, slow, etc. The drivers can be very rude, so can the people on board. Pushing past you or expecting that it’s ok if they squish you against the seat, or put their butt in your face because they don’t have room to stand. Bottom line, rutieras suck.
I recently wrote a blog post about the things that I have learned in my short 25 years, some of the lessons came from my time in Moldova.
-Expectations usually end up in disappointment. It’s best to go with the flow and take everything with a smile and a grain of salt.
-Say yes 95% of the time
-Offering your time speaks wonders to those in need
-Trust everyone until they give you a reason not to
-Quality trumps quantity
-Sometimes you give more than you receive. Don’t stop giving, just know your limits
-Home is more than a place. Family is more than blood. It’s all about the people you surround yourself with an the love you have in your heart
-If it were easy everyone would be doing it.
Some days it feels like I’ve been in Moldova forever, I’m in a routine to the point that Moldova feels like home. Other days, I miss my real home; my real parents, my dog, my best friends. I am fairly content with where I am and I have learned to adapt well. Other than my peoples I miss the convenience of heat in my home and work place, I miss the ability to drive, and I miss foodie restaurants that cover the Pacific Northwest (aka good food).
If I had to sum up my experience in Moldova with a quote it would be “respond to every spark that lights your soul on fire.”
It describes how I got to Moldova and it describes the work that I do. Motivation is found in places you see a spark. Whether it is in a struggling student or finding the spark in yourself. Life is about finding that spark. Letting it catch fire. Feeding it. Letting others see the spark and helping them light their own.