Europe

Adjustments and Outhouses

Moldova is a beautiful land, rich in places to explore for this city girl.

As I reflect on my adaptation to Florida and how much I’ve grown this year, I know I have my Peace Corps training to thank for my flexibility. Thus, here is an excerpt from my first couple of weeks in Moldova as a Peace Corps volunteer in 2007. I loved my experience, and when the strongest emotion is nostalgia, it’s impossible to remember how incredibly uncomfortable it was at the beginning. This is a reminder. Entries originally appeared here.

Moldova is a beautiful land, rich in places to explore for this city girl.

A bunch has changed. Number of people gone: 2. Reasons: still unknown. I have had a history lesson on Orthodox Christianity that didn’t really tell me anything new but it was interesting to see the 26-year-old priest explain his thoughts to us. It is a beautiful country and I am everyday more comfortable with the language. But I get so worn out, plus all of these immunizations make me tired. But I am more convinced everyday that I want to continue to study languages. No more fear that I won’t get the chance. Each Romanian lesson increases that desire. And I also realized just how much multilingualism attracts me to a person. I have many more thoughts on this but I have limited time so I’m trying to squeeze as much in as possible.

The outhouse in my training village rests beyond those white doors.

It’s not physically difficult to adjust to the slower time frame of events here (like receiving packages, catching public transport, or showering); it’s difficult reminding myself that I can. Wasn’t that one of the reasons I was okay coming here in the first place? Specifically to slow down and take the longer route? Because three degrees in five years only makes sense if those are the degrees you want. I’ve also had to accept that if I find typos in my previous entries, I’m going to have to deal with it, because there’s no way I’m going to waste my time correcting an old entry when it will take ten minutes to refresh the page.

I rode the public transport today. We had staff with us on the way there, but went “trainees only” on the way back. It is a mini bus that gets filled with people and doesn’t have designated stops but, instead, goes between two major cities and stops along the way as people request. I’ve yet to see it sardine-packed, though, but I think that (as with the 405 at rush hour) if you’re going away from the capital, you’ve got it made. The walls and ceiling are carpeted, but not the floor. The driver was going 130 km/hour and talking on his cell phone. The difference from L.A.?? Cows in the middle of the road and corn on the floor.

And yes, I’ve totally used the outhouse! Apparently I wasn’t supposed to be using the indoor toilet (and indoor toilets don’t flush paper, by the way…you put it in the trash). Outhouses aren’t that bad if you don’t think about it or when it’s light enough to see. When your system’s working on schedule, it’s no problem. It’s when you have…(how to put it lightly)…difficulty…that the outhouse becomes an inconvenience. You can’t exactly “sit it out.” By the end of my two years here, my hip flexors are going to be as strong as when I was doing gymnastics.

Samantha Marangell
Blogger As a former Peace Corps Volunteer (Moldova ‘07-’09) Samantha appreciates seeing a new country through the host community and, when traveling, she looks forward to learning key phrases in the respective languages. She has just moved to the Australia after a year in the Czech Republic. She will reflect on making friends abroad and figuring out whether she'll finally stay in one place.

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