In 100 words, write about a tradition in Moldova you would like a foreigner to learn about.
These were the words of a homework assignment in the 8th Grade English textbook recently. The class had studied celebrations in English-speaking countries and now it was time to share what they knew about their own celebrations (while practicing English, of course!) “Hmmm….” I said to my partner teacher, “What if we give them the opportunity to really share their thoughts with foreigners?” So here we have, especially for my “foreign” readers, some fascinating Moldovan traditions, as described by three outstanding 8th grade students, in their own words:
Murături* can be roughly translated as “pickled things!” Here we have harbuz marinat (pickled watermelon) cerii marinate (pickled cherry tomatoes) and roșii verzi murate (pickled green tomatoes). Everything has been prepared with home-grown seasonings, including bay leaves, and in the case of the green tomatoes, garlic, dill, grape leaves and horseradish leaves. The pickled watermelon in particular was a pleasant surprise. A nice blend of sweet and sour. Some people eat the rind and all!
As I may have mentioned, I am fortunate to live in a town where there are other American volunteers. Occasionally I get to spend time with the lovely ladies in this picture, two of whom are fellow Peace Corps volunteers, one in Health Education and the other in Community and Organizational Development. The third is a Fullbright English Teaching Assistant, serving for 9 months at the local University. About a week ago, we finally had a chance to carry out our “secret snowflake” gift exchange (which was supposed to happen before Christmas) and a lovely time was had by all! I’m not sure whether the best cadouri* (gifts) are the items we exchanged, or the people I spent the afternoon with!
Sasha’s granddaughter got a lot of flowers for her birthday. Some of them are tulips, and now I have a new favorite Romanian word, just because it’s so much fun to say! One tulip is a lale and the plural is lalele*. So that is the word of the week! Enjoy.
*Pronounced just like you think it is: “lah-leh-leh” 🙂
This week’s word is a little sad. Wednesday was the 4th anniversary of my mother’s death. Here in Moldova, there is a custom of celebrating that day with a toast commemorating the dear departed. To give such a toast is to pomeni. So I bought a bottle of wine, and my host mom and I shared a toast and a few words about what a special person my mom was, and how much I miss her. In this picture you can see how beautiful she was in her youth:
Comical side note: we didn’t have a proper corkscrew to open the wine, just the one in my Swiss army knife, and neither of us could pull hard enough to get the cork out! So we ended up toasting with Sasha’s delicious homemade wine instead!
Last week we received a text from our Safety and Security Manager telling us that a “code orange” Winter Weather Alert was in place. Iarna* (winter) had finally arrived. Ever since, my walk to school has been covered in snow. And filled with wonders for an Alabama girl, who has never actually experienced snow that stayed around for more than a day! Here are a few of the glories of Iarna in Cahul, Moldova! Click for larger images. There are few captions as the images mostly speak for themselves!
“Graffiti” in the snow. It says ‘Class 8B’ in Russian. Evidently some proud 8th graders passed this way!
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)!