In the summer, I was astonished at how quickly things dried. Wet sidewalks, laundry on the line, puddles, all dried much more quickly than in the humid Gulf Coast city where I grew up. This fall, I walked to school on roads of baked, dried earth. Then the winter rainy season hit, and now those streets are covered in glod (“glode”*). Mud. Walking to school has become a little more complicated! And this morning some of the mud puddles were covered in a glassy layer of ice. Winter is making its presence felt! Maybe next Wednesday’s word will be gheață (ice)!
So, three weeks ago I tripped over a doorway. No big deal, right? Wrong. Three weeks later the swelling in my gleznă (ankle) hasn’t gone down. So this week I got to experience the awesomeness of the Peace Corps medical office. Peace Corps takes very good care of its people, and after a couple of attempts to solve the problem with medication alone, I was whisked away to a lovely modern medical facility here in Chișinău. The Peace Corps doctor accompanied me to get X-rays taken and made sure I understood everything that was said (you really understand the importance of a translator when someone tells you to roll over and you have to ask them to repeat it more slowly!). In the physical therapy department she consulted extensively with the therapist and went to great lengths to make sure I understood and was comfortable with everything that took place. State-of-the-art ultrasound, TENS and magneto therapy were all available. All in all, I’ve been tremendously impressed with the level and quality of care. I’m sure my gleznă (“glez-nuh”*) will be 100% again as soon as humanly possible!
Kindergarten. What does the word bring to mind? Brightly colored furniture, and colorful decorations depicting the alphabet, colors, and numbers. Lots of different manipulatives (aka t.o.y.s) for active young minds and hands to explore. Materials for “make-believe” — young learners’ way to discover more about their world.
Lots of inviting books for children to browse through and teachers to read. A barely-controlled buzz of activity at all times, as little ones develop their language and understanding of the world, exploring, interacting and talking. If you are reading this in America, sadly, many of these elements may have disappeared from today’s kindergartens. But I found all of them at the grădiniță (“gruh-deen-eet-suh”)* that I was privileged to visit last Friday.
I’m told that this building houses many classrooms like this, catering to somewhere around 200 children, ages 2-6. The classroom I visited houses 25 students, aged 5 and 6, with their teacher and an aide. They eat a hot lunch in the room, and take a two-hour nap afterwards in real beds.
This is a public school, funded by the government, with some support from parents. (Incidentally, working mothers also get a 3-year maternity leave, with their job held for them, mandated by law). Show of hands: how many of my kindergarten teacher friends now want to move to Moldova?
Doesn’t this key look like it ought to open a pirate treasure chest? Or a secret room in a spooky old mansion? Or the final clue to solve some deep ancient mystery? Actually it’s just the key to the office where I keep my things at school (although I secretly think of it as my Harry Potter key). Using this cheie (“kay-ee-ay”*) — this key — almost always makes me smile.
Some of the sixth grade English students had to memorize this little poem. When I first heard it I wondered why yellow was the color they had chosen for Autumn (my experience includes Autumns with red, green, yellow, orange, and mixed-color leaves). Now I’m seeing the reason. Check out Toamnă (“Twahm-nuh”*) — Autumn, in Moldova:
This picture and the next one were taken 5 days apart.
Look how many leaves have fallen in just 5 days!
Girls from my school enjoying the beautiful leaves!
(Note that the top middle two pictures are the same place, only 5 days apart. In the second one looooottttss of leaves are now on the ground!)
Trandafir (“trahn-dah-feer”)* means rose. I’m so impressed with the roses in Moldova. There were roses blooming when we arrived in early June, and there are roses blooming now, in mid-October. The weather has gone from blisteringly hot to wear-your-hat-and-scarf cold; vegetables have matured, been harvested, and the remains plowed under; other varieties of flowers have come and gone, and still the roses bloom on and on. No wonder I see them planted everywhere! The rose in this picture is one of my favorite varieties, with petals that are orangey on the edges and brilliant yellow in the center. Absolutely no filters were used on this photo, honest! The flower is really that color!