Good people, glad to see that you’ve made it to the end. I’ve had an abysmal showing these last several months with my blog posts, but after two years things have become a tad blasé, making it hard to come up with original, intriguing posts. I have a little less than two weeks left in Moldova, and it finally has started to set-in that my time here is dwindling. Constantly I have been asked how I feel about leaving, and although I have lots of conflicting emotions, I have found a surprising undercurrent of calm satisfaction that I didn’t think would exist within me.
Two years ago I was fraught with nerves before leaving for Peace Corps. I couldn’t sleep well, I couldn’t concentrate on my work, expectations and daydreams permeated my thoughts twenty-four hours a day, and I was anxious to embark on my journey. As I close this chapter I am still eager for the next adventure to begin, but there is a noticeable change in my attitude that I believe is due to a confidence I have found within myself. Under no circumstances do I think I have changed the world during my service, if anything I am more pragmatic after this experience. However, after two years of riding roller coasters, battling cultural differences, and enduring the most awkward situations you could believe, I have found a resiliency resonating within myself.
If you ask a Peace Corps Volunteer to reflect on their service, I guarantee you that the overwhelming majority will tell you that they received more than they gave. I am no exception. I have had the privilege to work with extremely capable, dedicated, and sincere Moldovans in my site, and I know that we have accomplished a great deal together. I can only hope that our efforts have, and will continue to make an impact in the community. It almost seems inhumane to invest so much time and energy into personal relationships to one day say goodbye and leave forever. Even if I never return, I will always hold a soft spot in my heart for my community and this country.
It wouldn’t be proper to end my blog without mentioning what I am most looking forward to and what I will miss, as cliché as it is. I will start off by saying that I am looking forward to going back to school and pursuing my master’s degree. Other things that I am looking forward to, and in no particular order are: winters with proper heating, clean clothes, drinkable tap water, bathrooms that don’t flood, hopefully a lack of alcoholic neighbors, not worrying about catching drug-resistant tuberculosis (and herpes), comfortable beds, a functional kitchen, being close to my family, and last but not least, spicy food.
As for what I will miss: I will miss my host family- Olga and Tudor are family, and I could not have made it this long without them. My friends that I have made here have also been my foundation. They have made the good times the best times, and assuaged the tough times. I will miss having my own apartment, even as shitty as it is. I will miss the sounds of the village- the roosters crowing all day, the clucking of hens, the children giggling outside. I will miss natural, organic, garden-fresh cheap produce, brinza cheese, impromptu masas, the congeniality and open-arm hospitality even when the host has next to nothing to give, a national identity, my running trails, house wine, village markets, Moldovaneste, bucolic scenery of vineyards, the randomness of each day, Saints’ Days and traditions, sarmale, and Ladas.
It isn’t important what I will not miss. As time goes on I am sure that my selective memory will fade out the negative, and only the good will remain. Moldova has changed during my two years here, and I only hope that life will become easier for the Moldovans. It is through the struggles of this country that I have learned just how precious freedom and democracy really are, and how difficult it can be to achieve. I have come to realize that when something is broken, it is our responsibility to fix it. It is our duty as Americans and citizens of the world to stand up and fight for our justice, democracy, and freedom to ensure that we will live in a world that is brighter tomorrow than it is today.
Thank you Moldova for helping me gain my sense of self, for concreting my values and morals, for opening my eyes to a new world, and providing me with a lifetime of memories. Thanks to everyone that has supported me, my projects, my family, or has simply read my blog during this time. I am off to Indonesia for the summer to learn the Bahasa Indonesia language, study sustainable tropical agriculture, and trail blaze around the world’s largest archipelago.
“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” – Winston Churchill