So we got summoned back up to Chisnau for a few days for some more language trainings. We were back in the school we were in all summer but it's a little bit different in the winter...it's freezing. They don't use a lot of heat here and since all the students were off for the week on Winter Break, they certainly weren't heating the school. We all sat in the classrooms in our winter coats and gloves and tried our best to stay warm during classes all the while desperate to look forward to the coffee breaks. Because of our love of coffee, well yeah, but also to hold the warm cup. We were all in the hotel for 3 days. The English Education and Health Education volunteers were there for a week. But the weekend was the first time we had all been together since the summer. It was evident that people had become more comfortable now and the groups of friends had been established. In summertime, it was all politeness and pleasant greetings but as with any situations, now there were groups. I hesitate to use the word cliques because it wasn't a vicious thing, there wasn't a competition or anything mean spirited, you just migrate towards the people who make you comfortable.
Lyndsey and I met up right away when we got into town and headed out to lunch at a greek restaurant with Brittany. The food was a little pricey but it sure was delicious. We met up with Maria and Maryam and we all headed to the hotel. Maria, Lyndsey and I decided to share a room and since we checked in so late, we were on another floor from all the volunteers which proved to be quite nice. Another volunteer Craig was COS'ing (Close of Service) the next day so everyone was meeting up with him at a local restaurant. I usually don't like to go places where EVERYBODY is going because I don't like being a part of a loud group of Americans. However, I did want to say goodbye to Craig so worst case scenario we would just go and then leave shortly after. As suspected, it was a LOUD group of Americans and Lyndsey and I couldn't wait to get out of there. Fortunately, as we were trying to leave, a table opened up at the opposite end of the restaurant so we grabbed it. We were joined by Pat, Sarah and Dahnika and then Brendan and Natalie. I had spent a lot of time with Pat during the previous training and he's fantastic. His wife, Sarah and he are both from CA and I had met them at the farewell dinner. Dahnika is in Sarah's program and Brendan and Natalie are English Education. Brendan is down in the South near me so I had already known him but I didn't know Natalie too well. Regardless, it was a nice, low-key group and we had an enjoyable dinner. We headed back to the hotel soon after as we were pretty tired from the day. Lyndsey and I met up with Maria there and wound up just hanging out in our room and doing nothing. We had to wake up early the next day for language class. It was a long day and hard to focus in a cold classroom but it was good to see everybody. For lunch we headed to the delicious, Italian place we had discovered the last training. That night I wound up going out with another huge group for dinner against my better judgment and again wound up going back to the hotel early. There was a bunch of people in my room watching Dirty Dancing and I could tell they were quite impressed that I knew every single word and dance move to the entire movie and its soundtrack. (FYI; impressed = annoyed). 50% of them weren't even born when it came out so I didn't really care...
The next day we had more language and then most people decided to take off. Lyndsey and I headed over to Lindsay and Conrad's new apartment. We had been planning for weeks for a 'cool down' dinner after training and it was awesome. When we got off the bus, Lindsay M. ran to the piazza to pick up some vegetables and Lyndsey R. ran down the street to get some water. So I was just standing there at the bus stop with my luggage.
This man in very broken English came up to me and asked if we were Americans as he had heard us speaking English. I told him we were. He asked what we were doing in Moldova. I explained to him that we were all volunteers and we moved here for 2 years to work on community development. His eyes widened and said "Why?" I didn't know how to respond so I smiled and said "Why not?" The man smiled at me with tears in his eyes, took my hand and said "Thank you. Thank you for helping me and my country." I smiled. And he walked away and got on the bus. I just stood there and got teary eyed. Lyndsey returned and asked what was wrong and I said "absolutely nothing" and I told her the story. She cried too. By the time Lindsay returned she was convinced something horrible had happened but we assured her it was quite the opposite. Because after 2 days sitting in a cold school and learning a foreign language, it took one moment to be reminded what we're doing.
From there we headed back to their apartment and Lindsay made Buffalo chicken dip and Conrad made us blue cheese burgers. It was so awesome and just the night we all needed.
But now it's back to reality. Headed back here yesterday on the cold rutiere. Although can't lie, I much prefer that to the hot summer ride. I can bundle up enough now to be comfortable. Summer was insufferable. When I got home Jesse was visiting along with Rachel (who lives in a neighboring village) who had missed her bus and Holly was making Tortilla soup. Home at last.