The hardest part about being back in America from Moldova is getting back into the groove of the whole language thing. Before I left I felt like I spoke English most of the day, which is probably true, but not as true as I thought. I remember the first few weeks here I had excrusiating headaches because of all of the Romanian I was soaking in and trying to translate in my head, but eventually it basically became second nature (even though I didn’t really realize this). Now that I’m back and had a 2 week freeze of not speaking or hearing it at all, the headaches have returned… and full force. Headaches + jetlag = lot of sleep (which I needed).
My host dad and I attempted to visit a 70 year old Romanian teacher (and ex Principal) who had a stroke back in the Spring. Unfortunately when we arrived he wasn’t there because he was in Balti getting tests done, but his wife still followed the Moldovan tradition and invited us in for hospitality (aka wine and food). We’d just finished a huge breakfast (err, brunch… oops) prepared by my host mom so we didn’t eat the food but did appreciate the wine. She’d been working in Italy the last 7ish years and had a great story to tell about people helping people. She said that at 5am someone (remember… brain = overworked so some of the details are spotty) woke her up to go get a tractor (she lives in a village in the mountains). When she went to someone else’s house to go get it she rang the bell and instead of coming to to the door, the wife opened the windows on the 2nd floor and asked her what she needed. When she said she needed the tractor, she said her husband needed to put clothes on and then he’d be right down. Well, I’m not sure exactly what happened next… whether he came down or not… but people were walking by and asking her what she was waiting for, and then a couple of weeks later a woman she didn’t know walked by her and asked if the Moldovan woman was the woman that borrowed the tractor (or possibly someone was borrowing it from them). She said yes, and the woman felt so awful because apparently they never paid. And so she said that’s just how it is in her village in Italy, everyone helps each other and never forgets… and she wishes it was like that here.
However, I disagree with her. I think it is exactly like that here. It may not be how it used to be “back in the old days” but compared to where I grew up, people here are so helpful. One of the rutiera drivers came to the airport yesterday to help me with my bags and didn’t charge me for my journey back to Varatic, and then I had people waiting for me at my bus stop to help me with my bags. Maybe it’s just because I’m the American that stands out in the small village in Moldova (like the Moldovan standing out in the Italian village), or maybe it’s just because it’s not what I’m used to… but I love it. And you know what? I love Moldova. Except in the winter.