It didn't start out very well. My roommate's brother passed away suddenly in the middle of the night so she left on an impromptu month long trip to California. Without her here, suddenly I was reminded of what it is like to live on my own and be responsible for everything. It took a while to get back into the swing of things but it all worked out.
On the brighter side, I got to meet the US Ambassador to Moldova. He came to Cahul to observe one of the English programs here and he invited me, Jesse, Liz and Maggie out to lunch with him. He was a super nice guy from North Carolina and we chatted for a good hour. At the school, he was really supportive and took questions from the kids for a few hours and posed for photos. It was a great afternoon.
|Embassy Worker Mike, Jesse, US Ambassador Mosier, Maggie, Me and Liz|
|Ambassador Mosier poses with the kids from Cahul and Ceadir-Lunga (Chee-ader-loon-gah)|
|Ambassador Mosier with Sasha's brother, Vlad.|
Valentine's Day came and went in its uselessness as per usual. I had a lovely dinner with my Russian tutor, Natasha and we toasted to be single gals.
We had a COS (Close of Service) draft. This means that the Country Director drew our names out of a hat and assigned us what date we were leaving. The first day we can leave is July 9th and only 5 people can leave per day (budgeting). My name was drawn first. I couldn't believe it. I mean all of a sudden there is a date and I have to plan. It was a fun day getting together with all these people that just 2 short years ago, I didn't even know and now we are all about to leave. From there we had an all night Super Bowl party complete with wings, blue cheese dip and chili cheese dogs. The boys, as usual, all passed out by 3 so I wound up watching the game by myself. And that's okay. Side note? Beyonce rules!
|The group of us after we found out when we are leaving. Look at the smiles. Significantly smaller since 21 people have resigned or been sent home since we first arrived.|
|Kitsy and I at the Draft. We were in training together and have since become great friends. |
She is called Kitsy because her name is Jen too and we needed a distinction in training.
I met with my program managers and my work partner and we had a very productive meeting. My organization has recently won a Democracy Grant from the US Embassy for funding to produce another anti-trafficking festival like we did last year as well as a 10 month awareness campaign in Cahul and the surrounding villages. It is a pretty big deal as only 7 organizations in the entire country of Moldova won these grants. So these last few months here will be busy with a lot of things to get done before I leave. It is exciting to have things to do though.
Yesterday I judged a song/drama competition for English week here in Cahul with Liz and Jesse. 6 of the schools here in Cahul as well as 4 from surrounding villages competed. Each school performed a song and a drama scene. It was interesting to see the different interpretations and pronunciations of English songs and theater. My favorite was the production of 'The Adventures of Tom Sawyer' when they performed a hoedown type dance to 'Cotton-Eyed Joe.' Hearing Tom Sawyer in a Russian accent was definitely a highlight of my time here in Moldovan. It was a fun day. After being lectured by the host teacher to be non-biased when picking the winners, she was none too pleased when her students did not win and tried to convince us that we had made a mistake. It is just remarkable the level of corruption that is still left to be dealt with here in Moldova. Overall, it was a good experience though.
On the home front, my brother Bob turned 50 last Sunday. I was sad to have missed it but know I will see him soon. He's doing so well at this point in his life, he had a lot to celebrate.
I will try and write more in my last few months here at site. The winter is slowly coming to a close and things are starting to move again, thank Goodness. I am at the 4 month mark now. I can't believe how quickly the time has gone.
**Side note - an overdue review of Les Miserables.
I went to Romania to see the movie in a theatre with some friends. I believe it is now a Pavlovian response but when I hear that music, emotion fills me up instantly. I had heard mixed reviews from my hyper-critical theatre friends so I don't know what I was expecting when I went in. But from the first chord to the last note, I loved every second of it. Yes, I loved the close ups, yes I loved Russell Crowe, yes I loved Marius' quivering lips, every second of it. It was beyond my expectations for what could be done with that movie. I honestly don't care if people don't like it, the point is that I did. And really...isn't that all that matters????