Friday, January 18, 2013

Peace Corps Email #20

Another Peace Corps Email home.... I think written in December 2005.

Happy winter to everyone back home!  Mom says it's cold and should snow any day now.  Here, its surprisingly mild outside.  Last December at this time is was freezing and a 6-nch layer of ice covered every
surface.  However, it's still pitch black out by 4:30 everyday.  Does it get dark this early back home?

Perhaps it does, but its never felt like night out at 4:30 to me home like it does here.
Since last wrote, I celebrated my one-year anniversary of being at site, here in Calarasi.  That means that
the Peace Corps has considered me fluent in Romanian for over a year (scary, as I was certainly not fluent
a year ago!).  On the day of my anniversary, I was harassed into drinking 50 grams (usually of vodka, but
often of coinac) by everyone.  My counterpart, her family, and I attended a Spectacul de Nonta that
day, which can only be described as a type of musical detailing every possible wedding tradition in the
Moldovan culture.  It was actually one of the best productions I've seen put on and I made friends with
the lady who was running it.  Shes currently trying to talk me into coming to her village once a week to
start an English Club.  I think that's going to start up after Christmas.
Another new group was sworn in as volunteers in late November.  I'm having a hard time dealing with so many new people in my life.  Seriously, I've gone a year without meeting any new Americans and now there's
almost 70 newbies in both groups.  I know hardly any names and, if you know me at all, you know that's hard for me! Yep, always trying to be the busiest/most important girl in the room.

The newbies' swearing-in ceremony was really nice... it turns out they're a group of overachievers, all being
able to dance, sing, and play some instrument.  I've decided that I'm ok with that...what I lack in
musical/dancing ability, I make up in being really fun.  Ha.

Thanksgiving came and went.  With the bird flu epidemic knocking on Moldova's door (being present in
neighboring countries), I was a little worried that I would have to celebrate the holiday with Wild Turkey
instead of turkey meat (a disconcerting aside: Wild Turkey is not to be found anywhere in this country.
Even if it were to be found, I would be unable to afford it.) but our medical team came through.  Dr.
Lica performed some sort of test on Moldovan turkey and deemed it safe for consumption.  My personal guess is that she cooked a turkey, ate it, and didnt die.

Thanksgiving serves as the All-Volunteer conference time here in Peace Corps land, so every volunteer was
together.  A huge meal was cooked, involving somewhere near 15-20 turkeys and 7000 potatoes.  (I can't back that up)  My sitemate, Maria, and I were in charge of the slideshow.  True to form, I became over zealous and it was 45 minutes long.  Oopps.  I also participated minimally in the talent show (since you
all know, my major talent being that I can read incredibly fast and it's not exactly a big crowd
pleaser at talent shows) by reading three lines off-stage into a microphone.  Next stop, Hollywood!

While I enjoyed Thanksgiving more than I should have, I believe three nights of too much fun and sleeping
less than 4 hours a night took their toll on me.  I returned home to site with the worst sinus infection
of my life (grain of salt: I say that every time I get sick.).  I thought my face was going to explode.
Offf.  My host mom's solution was to tell me it was my own fault because I allowed my legs to get cold
(seriously) and have me soak my feet in hot water and mustard powder.  I'm not sure if it helped, but it
made host ma happy.

December 3rd is Moldova's national holiday, Invalid Day.  To me, the concept itself seems entirely unPC,
but who am I to get offended if the people who are actually invalid are enjoying themselves?  I had
arranged for a folkloric dance ensemble to come and perform, but was canceled at the last minute.  Boo.
But the day was fun.  We had an accordion player come, several games for the children, an informational
meeting for the parents, and a huge meal.  When I arrived in the morning, one of the teachers began
dancing me around and yelping…turns out that she was overwhelmed that I had put on makeup and nice clothes for the celebration.  Hmmm…kind of makes me wonder about the daily effort I put in, which may or may not involve brushing (but certainly not washing) my hair and a t-shirt.  Maybe I'll try harder…but probably not.  Ha.

Very soon (December 18th, to be exact!) I leave to go to Italy!  I'm so excited, since I'll be spending
Christmas this year with my family.   Were staying in Rome, and that's actually about all I know of whats going on.  Excited!

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season, in America or where ever you find yourselves!  Take care!

Darcie "Soon to be in Italy" Brownback

Me and my first host family at the new volunteer swearing in.

New volunteer swearing in performance

Spectacle de Noonta

Random house in my village.

Playing games on Day of Invalids

Ion cut his hair in anticipation of the celebration

Dancing at the Day of Invalids

Doamna Elena is VERY proud of her wine

Some other volunteers and me at the Thanksgiving dinner

Celebrating another volunteer's birthday.

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