All of us might wish at times that we lived in a more tranquil world, but we don't. And if our times are difficult and perplexing, so are they challenging and filled with opportunity.

Robert Kennedy

Friday, June 21, 2013

This is 40.

The dreaded 40th birthday, it happened. I can tell you confidently that when I turned 30, I never dreamed that I would spend this birthday in Eastern Europe, and nonetheless...
I went up to Chisinau to spend the weekend with my best buddies. Since we are in the last few months of service, we are not allowed to leave the country. I decided to treat myself and rented a hotel room for the weekend. A real bed, a real shower, a pool, a robe, a terrace...yes, please. 
I gathered my best buddies together on Saturday evening and we went to a steakhouse. There are few of these establishments in Chisinau so finding one was a feat all in its own, but finding one of this quality?! Sure, I haven't had a steak in over a year, but this was one damn good piece of meat. It was a lovely evening and I was surrounded by really great friends. Jesse was behind the camera so he is not pictured, but he did come through as the MVP for best gift. He found an old Soviet theatre pin in one of the markets. I was truly emotion I'm not familiar with when it comes to Jesse.

Thomas, Jen, Chris and Me

Conrad and Michael

Dahnika and Thomas, everyone's favorite new couple.

Maryam, Holly and Lindsay

Me and John, one of my best buds.

Dahnika and me. She left the following Tuesday. Miss her already.

It was a pretty relaxed evening, but a great one. The rest of the week was pretty busy too but that was definitely my favorite evening. If Rozzi, Jessica, Courtney, Christina, Maria, Erin, Dylan and Jeremy had been there, it would have been the complete circle of my favorite group of Moldova pals. (Truly miss you guys.)

Also got to have a true Moldovan barbecue in the woods with my theatre friends. And when I say a true one, I mean, we were in the middle of a forest and it was awesome! These people are great.

Marinating the chicken with onions, water with gas and herbs.

Building a fire. Don't try this at home, kids.

Smokey the Bear would be horrified.

But it tasted oh so good...

Anyway, 40 came at me with a vengeance. I had to get new glasses which entailed having my eyes dilated. That was fun for someone like me who is naturally clumsy anyway. Had to get a mammogram...those are fun! I wish I could do it every day. (Please note sarcasm). Plus various other medical procedures that, well, nobody needs that much detail. I got poked and prodded by the medical team so that I could begin the process to leave Moldova. It only rivals the application process. 
After a week in Chisinau, I am back in Cahul now and the packing has begun. The apartment is just in piles. Things that I am taking, things I am throwing out/donating and things I am shipping. Subjectively, I'm kind of impressed at how little I have accumulated. I know PCV's who have it much worse. There is still a lot of work to do, but it's okay. 
I will be leaving my beloved Cahul in 2 weeks time and heading to Chisinau for the last week of my service. It doesn't even seem possible and yet time is not on my side here. 
So that was birthday week. When I turned 20, I was home from college working at Woodloch Pines, living in Pennsylvania for the summer. When I turned 30, I was living in Southern California in the middle of directing "Kiss Me Kate" for the local community teen theatre. I am now 40, living in Eastern Europe finishing a service with the Peace Corps. 
So when people say, 'where do you see yourself in 5-10 years' I just laugh. 
I have no fucking idea. 

And THAT is awesome!


  1. Happy birthday Jenn! I only wish our paths would've crossed more often here. But it's a small world...who knows when/where/if we will meet again.

  2. Happy Birthday (belated thought it may be)! I'm glad to know you.