Boy, where has the time gone? Thinking back to the first week of PST, I was telling myself “Just make it to week four, Brett, you can make it a month”. Here I am, inching towards the last two weeks of training – the dreaded Practice School – wondering where the last few weeks of my life went. Last Wednesday, I taught a micro-lesson regarding Anger Management completely in Romanian. My training group and I celebrated our first conquered obstacle by taking a tour of Europe’s largest winery, conveniently located in my village of Milestii Mici of all places. It only cost us two weeks of Peace Corps salary to do so! That ensuing night, I completed a great day with a soccer game in the street with the kids in my village accompanied by a flashcard quiz by my host brother.
Recognizing my ego, it should come as no shock that I had believed I knew my way around my new country. How hard could it really be? What’s more, I have recently adopted a philosophy of just say yes to everything in response to a question I couldn’t quite comprehend. These two endearing qualities proved to be an audacious mix. I have taken a few small side trips when the scant “free time” unveils itself. One was to nearby Cricova for a volunteer’s birthday bash and another to a “beach” outside of Chisinau. The first trip, what should have been a simple 45-minute bus ride, became a 3-hour voyage in which we lucked out with a jubilant driver’s assistant that could not have been more proud to help the helpless Americans. The second trip was eye opening for atypical type of reason. I’m sure you remember during those college years when you could spot a group of people together and looking totally out of place and immediately identify them as freshmen. Substitute foreigners for freshmen and style of dress for just looking lost, and we have arrived at this specific situation. Yep, I’m in Europe ladies and gentlemen where the bikini tops are optional, the “fanny floss” is out in full gear, and my bathing suit contained triple the amount of thread as my male counterparts. It was only at this time where I learned from a seasoned veteran volunteer that we have arrived at “Boobie Beach”.
The day actually ended up being superb, and the American football I brought was an even bigger hit. Unfortunately, while teaching a few Moldovan boys how to throw a football, I suffered a broken right ring finger, causing this blog post to take an astounding amount of time to write. However, as my mother taught me best, there is always a silver lining in everything. That happened to be true in my case for two reasons: I found out what great care the Peace Corps provides and I learned an incredible amount during my few hours at the hospital. After having been instructed (forced) to call the PC Medical Officer on Duty, a private car was issued to come pick me up and eventually led me to the radiology center for an x-ray. What I found so comforting was no matter how severe an injury or illness is, my new employer will supply transportation to and from, along with the best in-country care available to make sure one of the government’s little gems are looked after. The hidden treasure revealed itself in the waiting room; a delightful German family employed by their country’s foreign affairs office that had spent the last two weeks in Moldova as part of a peace seminar project, and spoke perfect English. We enjoyed a lengthy discussion regarding each other’s objectives, past experiences (both of which included stops in South Africa), and the notion that this beautiful and complex hospital we were sitting in indicated an incredible amount of potential for the country as a whole. These random and unforeseen moments are the ones that make life exhilarating and reignite a sense of curiosity about the world: two of the main reasons I applied to the United States Peace Corps.