First Impressions

Chisinau is like other post-Soviet places I have been.  The same Soviet-style apartment buildings.  The same Soviet society.  Food on the street is the same.  Pop-up restaurants.  Corner aptekas.  The same slightly-off air.  The same not-so-great transportation system.  Babuskas. But also the same friendly people.  The same welcoming attitude.  This was at first very displeasing to me, as I had hoped for something just a little different, but also extremely comforting.

I knew before coming that most people know nothing about Moldova, let alone that it is even a country.  I myself only knew that it was a post-Soviet country with strong ties to Romania and Russia.  I knew that it is famous for having the world’s largest wine cellar.  I knew that Moldova is the poorest country in Europe.  I knew that the languages spoken are Romanian and Russian.  But I learned that Moldova has a beautiful countryside.  Moldovan as a language is essentially Romanian.  I learned the currency exchange rate from USD to lei.  I learned most of all that Moldova is HOT.  Holy cow, I have never been anywhere so hot.  And Moldovan food – are you kidding me?  The best food I have ever had.

My host family during my first week here took me to both a baby shower of a coworker of my host mom and a countryside trip to monasteries.  The baby shower was a helluvah time.  It gave me the opportunity to experience Moldovan youth culture and meet local people.  And I was blown away by the beauty of the countryside.  My host family and I took a large tour bus with around forty other people to Saharna monastery, about a two-hour drive.  The monastery is like a tiny village up in the mountains.  I felt like I was in a movie.  We took a long hike up the hill of the monastery for a magnificent view of lavender fields.  Then we drove two hours to Tipova monastery, which is an equally hard hike with an equally worth-it experience.  This monastery is molded from a hill, so that it is like a rock hole within it.  But the view was worth it.

I am very pleased with my initial experience in Chisinau.  Now that I feel comfortable living abroad, I am trying to put myself out there more.  Meet local people.  Try local food.  Walk around the city.  While the summer will be hotter than I am used to, I am ready for more.

By: Savannah Modesitt

Program: Overseas Professional and Intercultural Training Program

Term: Summer 2019

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