– Yet again, I could not stick to writing a post daily but for good reason.
– Last night was my friend Slon’s birthday. We began the night by going over to the office building behind our friend Alex’s hardware store. There we had a giant feast with pork chops, sausages, homemade pizza, egg casserole, three different kinds of salads, and sliced bread. Bottles of whiskey, Coca-Cola, and large bottles of Ukrainian beer covered the table. What was awesome to discover was that five of the guys at the party spoke English very well and told me they were all going to work in the United States this summer. Four of them will be working as line cooks at the Hard Rock Cafe near Niagara Falls and one will be working at a restaurant called Red Rock in New Jersey. For all of them this will be their second time going to the United States. Radu, 22, from Leova worked at Wisconsin Dells two years ago which is about 2 hours from Chicago. He told me that he had the chance to go to the Windy City and that he sat up on the Sky Deck at the Willis Tower. His excitement retelling his story got me excited. It was cool to have something in common to talk about with the guys. As we continued to get to know each other I noticed the others being a lot more inquisitive and open with me.
I was asked if I like Moldova and what I like about the country, a question I receive quite often. My answer is always the same: I really enjoy the people I surround myself with, the language learning, that my job is extremely difficult yet rewarding, and that I really like the food and unique experiences I have had to this point (making pork and wine from scratch, the weddings, cave exploring, etc.) Nodding in approval and feeling comfortable, they began addressing several American stereotypes: Americans don’t like Russians, Americans are fat, Americans are happier than Moldovans, Americans are independent and serious, Americans are so much more open-minded than Moldovans, etc. After letting all of the statements soak in, I responded bluntly that I HATE GENERALIZATIONS/STEREOTYPES. Whenever someone starts to categorize me or themselves, I bud in, and say that everyone is different. There are Americans that are skinny and depressed and Moldovans that would like to travel the world alone. We are all unique. Therefore, answering whether I like American or Moldovan girls more is trivial. Whose food is better depends on the chef. The group told me that they appreciated my words and said that I was alright.
When the birthday boy made a toast for all of his friends, he did it in Russian, Romanian, and English. Slon told us that we were all part of his circle and thanked all of us individually for coming. He even singled me out within the group and said that they all have my back and support me. It gave me my first taste of family in a while. It felt good. I felt like I was truly welcomed and belonged. From there, Slon’s face was crushed into a blueberry pie in celebration and we all hit the village in style.
– “N****s in Paris” came on at the discoteca in Cantemir last night. I complied by doing my best shake in response to a wise choice by the DJ. The song still goes hard one year later. What was funny about it is normally only very trendy American pop music will be played at the club if the DJ decides to go American (i.e. Black Eyed Peas, Rihanna). So this came as a shock. Regardless of this track, I do like the mix of music they play at Moldovan discotecas: Russian/Romanian pop, hip hop, and electronic. For example, Alex Velea:
– Found a really great way to save money and eat healthier for breakfast. Eggs, oatmeal, and apples here are incredibly cheap. A bag of 10 eggs costs 10 lei, a bag of oats costs 16 lei, and 5 apples costs 7.50 lei which lasts for about 5 days. Therefore, 2 eggs and a cup of oatmeal with one diced apple costs approximately 7 lei. In comparison, a bag of cereal costs 40 lei and milk costs 13 lei which both last about 5 days. Bringing the costs to more than 10 lei per meal. (12 lei = $1)