Life in Moldova After the COS Conference

 I have been thinking about returning home for a longtime.  In some ways I have probably beenthinking about it ever since I arrived here. During the first year of service we counted the number of months livedin Moldova andduring the second year we counted the number of months remaining.  A Returned Peace Corps Volunteer once told methat the days crawl by and the weeks and months fly by.  He was absolutely right.  I had many slow days in Moldova,but I also feel as though some months passed at blinding speed.  How exactly does that happen?

For a long time returning home was a distant, unreachablegoal.  I often thought about thewonderful things I would as soon as I arrived. Who would I see first at the airport? Who would call me first?  Wherewould I eat my first meal?  How longcould I be on the internet?  I could goon and on with these questions, but I think you get the point.  Last weekend I attended our mandatory Closeof Service Conference with my group- the proud M17s.  We were 39 strong when we arrived inSeptember 2005 (that sounds like a really long time ago), but medical problems,graduate school, and career opportunities dwindled our number to 18.  Now that our conference is over, home seemsso close that it scares me to some extent. I still think about the wonderful things I will do when I am home, butnow I have lots of other questions running through my head.  What will it feel like to be back at“home”?  What have I missed during thepast two years?  Can I readjust to havinga normal schedule?  Will I ever find ajob?  And where in the world will I lookfor a job?  About a year ago I wrote onmy myspace page that after I finished the Peace Corps I would rejoin the realworld or something awful like that.  Thatstill sounds rather accurate to me.  Yes,I am looking forward to starting the next thing in life and being able to usethe skills I learned in Denver (and in Moldova), but the thought of resumes,interviews, applications, etc. is frightening to say the least. 

To me the most important part of our Close of ServiceConference was spending time with the other volunteers from my group.  Sure thinking about saying goodbye, fillingout paperwork, and learning about post-service benefits was important, butsimply being around the other volunteers was also important for me.  From Dave’s very “awkward silence” to theflaming cheese and from the fireman lifts to singing “Umbrella”- ella, ella,behhhh!, it was a fantastic time!  Themost memorable moment was hearing what we thought was a gun shot while sittingin the lobby of our hotel.  Turns outthat that noise was actually the explosion of a plastic bottle filled withfermenting grapes.  I never knew plasticcould rip like that!  At some pointduring the next three months we will all go our separate ways and who knowswhen we will see one another again.  Iwas joking selected to be in charge of our reunion since I am our group’srepresentative for the Volunteer Advisory Committee, but that is a position Irefuse to take.  Sorry guys, but VAC isnot student council and Moldovawas certainly not high school.  There arelots of other people who would be much better at organizing a reunion!  I have several friends, who as Returned PeaceCorps Volunteers, will always be able to relate to my experiences, successes,and frustrations, but there will be some things that will only make sense toother volunteers who served with me in Moldova.  No one will ever fully understand the“Moldovan standard” jokes, why I despise potatoes, or references to the “fake”country.  The positive side of all ofthis is that this experience was unique for all of us and it will forever bepart of our memories.  I know thatseveral other volunteers read my blog so if I don’t say it again in the future-Thank you for everything M17s; it was a hell of an experience!




The conclusion of the Close of Service was a huge relief forme because it meant that I no longer had to worry about two major things:getting a departure date and the end of service language exam.  I was obviously excited to get the firstdeparture date because it means that I get to see you all that muchsooner.  Half the excitement of cominghome is that I will soon see many of you that I have not seen in two and insome cases three or four years.  I wrotea million things about how worried I was about our language exam, but I cangladly report that it went fantastically well. The actual test was less stressful than I anticipated it would be and Ireached my goal of reaching the advanced level. I guess all of the tutoring sessions and constantly thinking of how toexplain or say something in Russian paid off. It remains to be seen, however, if I will be able to “turn off” myRussian thinking mind once I am home and get some much needed sleep.  I am surprising myself academically left andright between my performance during the language exam and the fact that Icontinue to make progress toward finishing my paper so I can graduate thisquarter.  I have no idea where mymotivation for the latter is coming from, but I have been very successful inmotivating myself to write a few pages every evening.  Remarkable success for my procrastinatingself let me tell you!!!!  Just overtwenty pages to go and, of course, lots of editing and it will be done.  Hallelujah! 

Things in Ceadir-Lunga are the same as always- crazy.  This week my host mother is watching hergranddaughter while her parents are vacationing in Odessa.  She is not driving me crazy yet, but that isbecause they are usually outside and out of the house.  A few months ago I gave her a ball to playwith and she learned to say that I had given her the ball because my hostmother must have asked her the question 200 times.  Apparently, she made the association with theverb “gave” and not the ball because now every time someone asks her who gaveher something she says my name.  My hostmother thinks this is hilarious, but I simply think it is time for a newquestion.

To wrap up, please let me know if you have any requests fromMoldova.  I would be happy to bring you something sojust let me know!  See you soon!

2007-08-29 05:59:59


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