I will fight anyone who tries to tell me that they have a more awesomer priest in their village in Moldova than me…and I will win every time because ours is the best. No, seriously. He is.
The first time he showed me his awesomeness was one year minus 40 days ago today at a praznic, or anniversary, of the death of the husband of one of our neighbors. I was still pretty new in town and didn’t know this family, but I asked my host mom if I could go along to see what a praznic was since I hadn’t been to one before. She chuckled, but let me come along. At this time they were “celebrating” the 40 days since the death, which includes a huge meal with close friends and family and a blessing from the priest. As soon as he saw me (not knowing I was going to be there) he sent one of his kids to the store to buy me some candy and some fruit. And that’s when the awesomeness began.
There have been more times of awesomeness, but the next that that really stands out in my head was on the Day of the Dead at the cemetery. The priest went around blessing everyone who had died, and when he got to me, he paused. My host mom had let me write my mom’s name in the “book of the dead” for him to read, and he asked me how to pronounce my mom’s name correctly before he began. Then he sent me with his daughter to the church to give me an icon. … and the awesomeness continues.
So now we’re back to another praznic,, celebrating a year since the aforementioned man died. The routine was the same, and of course they prepared enough food for an entire army (it’s tradition, and food equals wealth). So even though the table had more food on it when we finished than when we began, it was a successful evening of honoring the dead. But I must point out that we didn’t only have tons of food… there was also alcohol. Tons of it. Beer, wine, vodka… they had it all (also tradition). I was sitting next to a neighbor who always tries to get me to learn Russian and who also tries to get me to drink 100 grams of vodka with him at the local bar. I’ve refused both every time he’s asked, and so that tradition continued tonight as he kept trying to get me to drink some vodka. I wasn’t having it, but finally he took my glass (shot glass) when I wasn’t looking and had someone fill it with wine. Normally I would have taken it, but in all honesty I haven’t been feeling so great all day and I’d already eaten more than I should and I couldn’t fathom taking even one more shot of anything… especially not anything alcoholic. So I left it, against the will of my neighbor. Finally it was time to go which meant it was time for the priest to give one last blessing. But before we stood up my neighbor said, “Wait. Miss Cate still has a glass to drink.” I was a little out of it (remember: not feeling well and super tired) and didn’t realize it was about time to go and everyone was quiet and heard that and I replied, “I don’t wait it. I told you not to pour it.” At that point I realized everyone was listening to our conversation because a couple of people chuckled but then the priest further emphasized his awesomeness when he smiled and said, “Cate, don’t worry. I left some, too”.
Seriously. My priest is more awesomer than yours.
(should “priest” be capitalized??)