Sunday, July 27, 2014

and Winery-ing...

Since the last post, a lot has gone on, which is somewhat surprising since it's only been a week. (But it's also not surprising, because I'm in training for the Peace Corps in Moldova.. So there's that.)

We went to sign papers and get our pictures taken for our residency cards. They take a month to arrive so I've currently got the paper copy to carry around in case anyone stops me to ask for it. So now I'm allowed to stay here, woo hoo! 

But speaking of staying here, one of my friends decided to go home. We all love her and support her decision, because it's her life and she knows what is best for her, but it's still sad because I thought she was pretty awesome and I'm going to miss her. She lives in another village but I wanted to get to see her before she left, so I went to her village with another girl. We left our friends at a reasonable time (we thought) hoping to catch a bus home, but they never came.. And no taxis would stop for us.. So as we're holding our arms out to try to flag down a bus/cab, a random guy stops and asks us where we were going, we tell him, and he tells us to get in. So we can now cross hitch-hiking off our lists, though I don't think it was on there to begin with. He stopped the car and turned it off just on the outskirts of our village and he turned back to look at me (we were both in the backseat, of course) so I thought he wanted me to get out, which I did, not knowing that the reason he had stopped was because he had gotten pulled over by the police. My friend and I just started walking and no one told us to stop, so we just walked the rest of the way home (Which was good, because remember a second ago when I mentioned that paper copy of our residency cards we're supposed to carry? My friend didn't have hers). We survived our first hitch-hike, admittedly probably not our last, because this is Moldova and we can't drive. 

The next day we had school and technical training, and Naomi was planning to come to my house after to hang out and use my Internet, so we get there and there is a big masă and relatives I'd never seen (probably the reason for the masă). I gather that they are visiting from Italy. There was really good cake that I had then and for breakfast the next day, so I hope that didn't come from Italy so I can have it again. We had shots of probably 3 different liquors, all sorts of food, and we sat there and talked forever, all in Romanian.. Naomi and I didn't contribute a whole lot to the conversation but we tried and I did understand most of it, so that was good! 

Thursday was our last hub site day in Chișinău. After that, two of the mentors went out for pizza with us, which was fun! I stayed up way too late (100% due to my procrastinating) preparing for my interview with the Country Director the next day. There were questions we had to answer and send to her, along with a kind of statement of intent.. Which of course I'm not sure if I did exactly correctly, so I hope it's not a dealbreaker one way or the other. I spoke with her at hub site and told her to be prepared for me to cry during the interview. Half of my statement was talking about how much I cry and how it's okay and that she shouldn't worry, because I'm going to do it whether I'm here or not.

It came time for my interview. I walked into the room, Kleenex pack in my back pocket, fully ready to have to talk about my future in Moldova (for some reason I assume I'm going to cry about this).. And then we have a great conversation and it's over and I haven't cried. My entire group was shocked. 

Yesterday after language, our teachers all came with us to Cricova, which is a winery just down the road. It's got the Guinness record for largest underground wine cellar in the world, which we drove around in. It's so big that there are street names for underground. We saw tasting rooms, huge barrels of wine, rows and rows of sparkling wine hanging out waiting to be ready for drinking, and wine collections of famous people.. Putin's wine right across from John Kerry's, just chillin'. Literally chilling; it's kind of cold underground where they keep the wine. We didn't get to actually have any wine, but it was fun to get the tour! 

Then Olivia and I decided we wanted to go to Chișinău to see some of our friends (the education people don't get sworn in on the same day, because they have practice school to do and other stuff I don't know about, maybe). Our driver said he was going there, so we just asked if we could stay on his bus. He said, sure, of course! But do you mind if we go to the car wash first? We didn't mind, so we went to the car wash where some young guys washed the rutiera while we sat inside. The driver came back in and tried to communicate to us that one of the boys wanted Olivia's phone number.. We still don't know if it was the driver or the boy that decided he wanted her number, but she gave it to him because there had been so much discussion and attempted translation that she pretty much had to at that point. We left the car wash and the driver called his sister who speaks English so he could ask us where we wanted to go.. He could have asked us in Romanian but I don't think he thought we knew anything. Little does he know, Olivia and I rock at Romanian. Desigur. I have no idea where he was going (I assumed he'd pick up other passengers, but nope) but he took us to some place and got out of the rutiera to flag another one down for us that would take us where we wanted to go. He talked to the driver and told him that we were American and wanted to go to this certain street. We now have Igor's phone number and are to call him if we have any problems. So that's cool. And strange. He was very nice, but only wanted to talk to Olivia, so I asserted myself and answered all his questions and told him my name too. He can have two American friends. So there. 

Upcoming in my Moldovan life: I have my final language evaluation on Tuesday, swearing-in as a volunteer on Wednesday, and then Wednesday I move to Căplani. SO CRAZY!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Community Project & Sunflowers

For the COD sector, we split into three groups and got to choose whether we would do a community survey or a community action project. Since three of the people in our group live in another village and study Russian rather than Romanian, it was decided that they would be a group and the other two groups would be in our village, so we were to choose between survey and project.

But sometimes you have to go rogue and join the Russians. 

The group of us after finally finishing!

So that's what I did, along with Olivia and Naomi. We talked about some possible projects (didn't want to do a survey) and then since the other three actually live in the place where we were going to do the project, they took the reins on nailing down what it actually would be. We had a field trip a while ago that a third of our whole group went on to an NGO there, and they met the priest of the Catholic church. The Catholic church has a playground attached to it, and another one across the street attached to the kindergarten, and they needed some work. Our plan was to paint/make them look beautiful, which obviously we did! 
Olivia, Naomi and I ready to work!

Talking with the woman who lives next door
The week before our project we all attended the Catholic church (they must have known I hadn't been to church in a while because I definitely got holy water right in my eyeball when they shook it on us) to meet the community members and introduce ourselves. Some of the younger people even said they would stop by when we were there doing it! Which they didn't. But that was fine! 

Before (I'm working so hard!)

We put an announcement in the M29 Facebook page in case anyone in other sectors wanted to come help us. A bunch of people said they would! Which they didn't. Just kidding, some of our friends did come and help! So that was nice of them. 


Yesterday we got there around 1:30. The woman that lives at the house connected to the playground had supplies for us - paint, wood treatment, paintbrushes, etc. Since half of us speak Russian and half speak Romanian, I thought it might be slightly difficult to communicate, but once she figured out who was who, she seamlessly transitioned to whatever language we knew. It was so cool. Also, our language teachers would be really proud of us because first of all, I understood most of what she said to me, and second of all, I said, "I speak Romanian" instead of "I'm studying Romanian." Last week the teacher I was with said, "You have to stop saying you don't know anything, and you have to stop saying you don't speak Romanian. You do." So that was fun.

It's a good thing we had people come to help because we didn't finish until about 6:30. It was kind of exhausting working for five hours! We repainted a lot of the playground equipment and then did wood treatment on the other half of it. I think everything turned out really well, and I think we even managed to have a little bit of fun doing it. Although I did have to take the longest shower of my life to get all the paint and wood stuff off of me. Which I didn't. But I did get most of it off. 
Us with our helpers!
Also, this week a few friends and I went for a long walk to and through the sunflower fields! They are lovely, so here are some pictures of that, too. 

Tomorrow we go get our pictures taken for our Moldova residency cards, woo hoo! We're almost official. This week we have our final check-in with the Country Director and our final Hub site day in Chișinău. Next Tuesday is our language exam and then Wednesday we will be sworn in as official Peace Corps Volunteers (Assuming the CD doesn't kick me out after I cry forever during our check-in and she decides I'm mentally unstable or something - but that probably won't happen)!

So it's going to be a crazy week and a half. 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

We Get Sick. (Sort of.)

Our site team conference is over (obviously) but it didn't finish without a trip to the hospital and some official document signing. 

We got there and did a warm-up activity that no one understood.. It's a little difficult to play games when you have people speaking 3 different languages, shockingly enough! The mayor wasn't there, so I figured he must have some more important mayor business to attend to and I worked with the people we are near/drove to the conference the day before. The partner got a phone call and said, oh it's the mayor! She spoke to him and asked if I needed him to come (um, kind of! It's only the partner conference and my partner isn't there, so..) but then said some more stuff, hung up, and told me, so he's feeling sick and thinks he should go to the hospital, so I told him to do that. 


Apparently he had had some sort of heart problem/surgery/attack in the past (recent past? I don't know) and felt bad so he thought he should get it checked out. 

We had a presentation that was much more beneficial to the partners and then he showed up during the coffee break! I don't know what happened exactly because he only said it in Romanian, but I think it had something to do with the heat. He insisted he was fine, and made it in time to work on a 3-month plan and sign our collaboration agreement. He grabbed his folio thing after signing and I thought, okay he's leaving again, that's fine (the signing was the last item of business) - but he wasn't leaving. He was getting out his official mayor's stamp so he could stamp our document! UM, how cute. He thought it was pretty clever of him, I think. 

Afterwards the partners left and some of us went to get iced coffee (arguably the best part of Chisinau.. I've started sneaking water bottles into the freezer so I can have cold water. They still tell me it's going to make me sick but I tell them I don't care.) and then we ventured to the Peace Corps office to get some people's packages and to hang out. 

Speaking of getting sick, then the next day I thought I was. Actually I was pretty convinced that I was having a heart attack, so that was slightly stressful. Yes, I Googled heart attack symptoms for women, and I thought I had at least 3 or 4 of them, so I called the doctor and she just told me to take ibuprofen and Benadryl and call her the next day. Didn't say what it might be, didn't give me any reassurance that I was not dying (except for maybe the fact that she didn't rush an ambulance to me either). The next day it was the same, so I called her back halfway through language and she told me to keep doing that and said that she didn't think it was anything to worry about. My fellow PCTs told me it was probably some sort of stress reaction/anxiety attack. 

After language 5 of the girls went to Naomi's house to play Phase 10, gossip about discuss all the other PCTs, eat peanut butter and honey, and just hang out! It was the greatest afternoon/evening, and then we all got caught in a rainstorm that lasted all night and was wonderful. 

The next morning I woke up able to breathe again, so I can confirm that I'm not dying and I'm not having a heart attack. So don't worry! It probably really was stress/anxiety, because guess what - this isn't my normal life. Or anyone's. It's kind of hard, kind of often. I'm sure it will get easier, but it is a little stressful at the moment, so. I'll work on destressing, not distressing (Did I just invent one of those words? Probably). 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Site Visit nr. 2

When I typed up my last post, I had been at site for about a full day and I hadn't cried yet, so obviously something had to change. 

It kind of felt like it did when we first got to Moldova and I thought, I'm in over my head, I don't understand anything anyone's saying, I can't do this.. Only I thought I was over that, kind of..? But it turns out I wasn't. 

My partner gave me a tour during lunch hour (lunch 2 hours? Not sure about that) and it lasted all of five minutes because everything is apparently in the center of the village and the village is tiny. Everything is under repair or needs repairs or is just sad, so the tour was kind of depressing. 

There is no water in the mayor's office so we went to a communal outhouse building to go, so THAT was fun. When we toured, we stopped in every little tiny shop (all seem the same, so why there are like 4 of them, I have no clue) and she bought random food items - sausage, bread, a huge bag of tomatoes I wasn't going to eat.. And then we went back to the office and had lunch. She said everyone goes home for lunch but she hates the heat so she doesn't want to walk the 10 minutes back to her house for that and that I probably wouldn't either. But I will say that if it means I have running water to at least wash the fruit with, I will absolutely walk the 15-20 minutes back. We had tea and then later I found out that when she "washes" the tea cups she rinses them (soap? what's that? never heard of it!) in disgusting yellow well water, so I will be bringing my own cup for tea from now on because I'm not planning to get sick and/or die. 

I also didn't understand anything all day, except for when we had tea and she talked slowly and at a normal volume. After lunch I didn't even do anything except sit there and read my Kindle, so I could have been that useless anywhere. 

So with a sad tour and a full day of not understanding anything/doing anything, I was over it and I wanted to go home. Instead I went to the host house in the village and after eating, there was nothing to do there either so I went to "rest" and just read on my bed-couch until 7:30ish which I thought could be a bedtime, kind of. I missed Ionela coming into my room and messing with my stuff, even. 

Then at like 10:30-11, host mother came in and started talking to me, which was confusing A. Because I had just been asleep and B. Because it was in Romanian and I DON'T SPEAK THAT, but I finally figured out that she wanted me to talk to her son on Skype, which I had to do then. He was very nice and spoke great English (I think he's been living in Texas for 6 years now?) and it was probably worth it to get up to talk to him because of what happened the next morning. 

The mayor was picking me up at 7. About 6:48 (just guessing here, but imagine it's close to 7) she says she made coffee so I go have some, and she wants me to eat some breakfast cookie thing that I don't want so I say no. She asks, don't you like it? I say, I like it, but I don't want. She wants to know why and I get upset and leave so I can cry because I can't explain anything to this woman, so naturally she follows me and gets very upset and starts to cry herself, which makes me feel awful, because I literally have no words to tell her anything like, it's not your fault, I just cry a lot, etc. So she assumes I hate it here and I won't come back because of something she did (just assuming this myself, but that's what it seems like) and she runs to her room and gets out this notebook and her cell phone and calls her son. It's way closer to 7 so I'm thinking the mayor will be here any second and we're both crying and she can't get the phone to work.. I ask for her son's email so I can write to him later and ask him to explain to his mother what's going on.. 

She insists on Skyping him (and I'm confused by this since I have no idea what time it is in Texas, but apparently it was a reasonable time as he had just gotten off work), so I'm crying on the webcam to this stranger (well, everyone's a stranger, really) and he's just so kind about it. He says he knows exactly how I feel because he didn't speak any English when he came to America. He tells me it will get better and I will make friends, and until then I will go to Chisinau or the raion center and meet my friends there ("You're young, you'll go dancing" - thanks, you're maybe 3 years older than I am). 

He said, "It's easy to go from something bad to something good, but it's hard to go from good to bad." He thanked me for coming to his village and for the work I would do there, and thanked me for staying with his mom, and told me to smile because I have a beautiful smile, and that if I ever need anything at the house or I don't like something, just tell him or his mom and they will fix it (they talk every single day). He said they'd get Internet for my room so I could talk to my family (I think she argued about this with him but eventually I will find a way to get Internet in this village) and was basically just a great human being and the start to the day improving. 

The mayor arrived (and I'm pretty sure host mom was still crying and she told him about how I was crying) and we left. He told me (I think) that his daughter cries too and someone translated for me later that she is in another country also and cried a lot at first but now she doesn't even miss Moldova. We stopped a bunch before fully leaving the village: first to go to his office and sign something or other, then to talk to some men on the road.. When he reentered the car after this, he was giggling and gave me a handful of plums, which I set on my lap. A kilometer or 2 later, we saw a van and a car on the side of the road and stopped again. Men were loading boxes from one vehicle to the other, and I thought he was stopping to help or something, but he came back with an armful of peaches to set on my lap, giggling again! I only understand him about 20% of the time (that might be generous, I don't know) but he is so hilarious! He jokes about everything and is just the most adorable man. 

We picked up my friend and her partner on the way and eventually got to Chisinau for our partner conference. During the first session, he was like, so I have to leave. Is that cool, Katya? UMMM NO IT'S NOT, but whatever! He said he'd definitely be back for the important part tomorrow, so we introduced ourselves and he jetted off with some document. But after everyone introduced themselves (a lot of translating had to happen so it took awhile) and we had a coffee break, he was back! We got to do partner activities together (my partner couldn't come, so he did, which was apparently a big deal because if a MAYOR shows up that means he's really motivated about working with a PCV and getting stuff done) and with the help of translators, may have even communicated a little! 

Occasionally they would ask partners to share stuff, so whenever he raised his hand I was like, oh no, what's he going to say now.. He started talking and half the room burst into laughter - then I found out he was saying that they wouldn't let me eat or sleep until I learned Romanian - We will help her! Hilarious. Good one, mayor. 

So the site visit itself was not the greatest, but I am thinking that it won't be as terrible as I was thinking 24 hours ago, because the mayor is awesome and he has a lot of things he wants to do that hopefully I can help with.. The site team conference continues tomorrow so he'll probably get to amuse everyone some more, and that will be great. 

PLUS he said I can ride a horse cart, so that's going to be fantastic. Can't quit until I do that, so I guess I'll have to stick it out a little bit longer. 

Site Visit

I'm typing this on my phone from my new/future desk in an office I will share with my partner and another woman, who may or may not be on vacation.. All I know is that she's not aici (here). 

Yesterday I had to find my minibus in a part of the bus station I had never been in (so of course I went the wrong way at first), which I eventually did. I asked if it went to my town (even though it was the right platform and the bus SAID Căplani, I wanted to be 110% sure) and the driver said to get on, so I saved a seat and went back outside to wait since it was hot and would be awhile. The bus station has wifi so I chatted with some other people while they waited on their buses, which kept me occupied til I figured it was time to get on. Then I saw one of the guys that got placed near me (he and his wife will be in the raion center about 30-40 minutes away) and he got on! So I didn't have to ride alone or sit next to a stranger. Which was good. He got off about 2 hours into the drive and I had the rest of the trip to worry about where I was headed. 

The drive was filled with sunflowers. So pretty and they aren't even fully blooming yet. You can tell that there are fields and fields that will be sunflowers, so the trip next month to come here to stay will at least be really lovely to look at, if nothing else. 

The last 8 kilometers to Căplani are literally not a road. I mean, they are kind of, but barely. I think it was paved at one point but  it must have been forever ago. The mayor told me later that they are working on a road project that will either be starting or finishing in September. 

My information said to get off at the last stop, which I just had to guess at, but luckily I was right and my partner was waiting for me. She took me to the Primaria and showed me our office and there was another woman there, the English teacher! So she was there to help translate for me, thankfully. I would have been completely lost if she hadn't been. They talked about their children in America and my parents' child being here and how confusing that is to them (yeah, sometimes it's confusing to me to so don't ask me to explain it).. They wanted to know if I was married/have a boyfriend.. I said no but now I'm pretty sure they want me to get married here, possibly to my host brother, who thankfully lives in America so I don't think we'll be getting acquainted anytime soon. 

I met the mayor and he seems adorable and very kind. He took our picture for some reason I couldn't translate and then he drove us to the house. Which is so. Nice. I'm pretty sure parts of it were built yesterday, but it's also got this great tinwork above the front door that I've been obsessed with ever since I saw it where I currently live. This morning I went outside and saw that the backyard has the greatest view of fields and landscape and would be a great place to watch the sunrise if I ever got up that early. 

My host dad works in Chișinău during the week and is only home on weekends, and they just have the one son who lives in Texas, so most of the time it will just be me and host mom. 

My room is cute but my bed is a couch, so that's weird. It pulls out and was comfortable to sleep on, but still strange. There are indoor and outdoor toilets and indoor and outdoor showers. She made me use the outdoor shower this morning even though I didn't plan to use either one.. And there was no soap so I basically just poured water on myself for no apparent reason. 

Yesterday we all ate lunch together (with wine and champagne) and the women talked FOREVER and I was exhausted and understood nothing so it wasn't the greatest hour I've ever spent. They said, you're probably so tired and you don't know what's going on, I bet you'd like to go rest. But they never let me. 

Okay, eventually they did. Which was great but it was like a nap that lasted hours. I was woken up for dinner and shown the bathroom and the outside. Host mom kept trying to teach me words I already know so she must think I'm a fast learner. She wants to learn English words so she kept asking for those, none of which she says correctly (but maybe she's thinking that about me, too). 

She wanted me to Skype with her son but I went to bed before he got online so I guess our switching-continents-love-story will just have to wait. Too bad. 

This morning she walked me to the Primaria (unnecessary, as it's on the same street as the house and I'm not a moron) and we went straight into what seemed like a meeting but how would I know, really, since I understood like none of it. The mayor introduced me so that was great because then I didn't have to. After that we went to the office and people have been in and out ever since getting things signed and printed and copied and stamped.. I of course don't know what's going on at all. She tries to explain stuff but she thinks I'm deaf, obviously, because she just slows down and literally shouts words at me. If I don't know them, shouting will 100% not help. 

A few minutes ago she put on the kettle and locked the door and we had tea and sweets, which she said if she doesn't have, her head will hurt... Sure. And we were able to have a short (and quiet) discussion in Romanian with my understanding almost all of it, so that might help with her thinking I'm incompetent. She has changed my name to Katya because she likes that better, so... Cool. How many names can I have in one country? We will see, but the number continues to increase.

Tomorrow we go back to Chișinău for a site team conference, which is technically supposed to be my partner and me, but the mayor is going instead since she has other business in Ștefan Vodă. This poses another set of problems because he is planning to drive us by car instead of taking the rutiera, which might be preferable, but we've had all sorts of trainings with conflicting information about riding in cars with boys so I'm literally not sure where in the car I should sit. It seems really weird to me to sit in the back when the front seat is open, but we were told that women only sit in the front if they are romantically involved or want to be with the driver (or related, I think), and clearly neither of those things are true, so.. I have no clue. 

The day is only half over, so I guess since this is long enough (though I can't post it til tomorrow so I still may add to it) I will sit here at my desk doing/understanding nothing. Great times in the village! 

Edit since I have internet: I rode in the front and we picked up a friend and her partner on the way. I've also met my host brother on Skype and I want him to be my real brother, he's so great. More on that later. 

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Leaving for Căplani

I'm sitting in my room this morning, waiting for it to be time to leave for my new village. It's weird because I am showered, packed, and ready to go and I still have 35 minutes before I have to leave. I wake up very early here; it'll be interesting to see if that's true 2 years from now when I leave Moldova. 

I was coming back into the house from the bathroom earlier and for some reason, I turned around. There was one tall sunflower that I hadn't seen before. I'm hoping that's a sign of good things to come. I know when I move to my village in a month, there will be an abundance of sunflowers, but this is the first one I have seen. 

I think my host mom is making breakfast for me, and possibly lunch as well - last night she asked if I would be eating in Căplani.. I think that's what she asked, though it's confusing because I will be there for 2 days and if I don't eat for that long.. If she is not awake or home when I get up and leave the house, she is very concerned later about who made my coffee in the morning. Once I told her I just didn't have any, and she (through writing down words that I had to figure out/put into Google translate) told me I had to make it myself or wake up Nina to do it. I'm not sure what the big deal with having coffee in the morning is, but it seems quite important. 

Surprise! I just had tea with breakfast (Sometimes it's hot chocolate, even).

Guess it's time to head off! Căplani, here I come.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Site Announcements

I know that I was pretty clear on the site announcement being on July 2, and that it is now July 5, so if you were just sitting here waiting for my update, sorry for the wait. It's like my life is busy or something; weird. I also wasn't quite ready to share everything right away.

On the day of site announcement, we had a full day of other sessions and things prior to the big reveal, which gave me all day to get more nervous about it.

We all went outside to a parking lot that had a huge chalk drawing of Moldova with 71 numbers on it to show the places we would be living/working. Current volunteers stood on it where they live and the parking lot was just full of people. The Country Director read out our names one by one (randomly, I assume) from a kind of jar. Each slip with your name and number was color-coded - blue for north, yellow for central, and red for south. We got ribbons to tie on our wrists in these colors, too. 

I went to stand by my friend, and then her name was called. I moved to stand by another friend, and her name was called.. So I figured if I did it again it would happen again and I just waited by myself. My name was called and they said the name of a town that I had obviously never heard of, and my Program Director took me to my spot on the map. She handed me an envelope with information about my work, the names of my host parents, and a welcome letter from my future partner - of course, it is all in Romanian. So I have yet to figure it all out. 

I continued to be nervous and didn't actually even open my envelope because I just wanted to see where everyone was going, and when my current closest friends were nowhere near me, I began to get relatively upset. The current volunteers near me on the map didn't seem like they really wanted to talk and I didn't know any of the PCTs that were coming over to stand near me, which didn't help either.. 

Two girls that I know and like eventually were placed near me, but then everyone was placed and people started walking around.. My closest friend came up to me and said, we're about 4 hours+ from each other, and obviously I just started crying. Which I did for the next decade, in front of everyone, naturally. Again, the only one crying (I mean I'm 99% sure on that). It's very hard to talk to people when you're crying, did you know this? 

We were having a mixer afterward, which I did not want to go to, but I went anyway and everyone tried to make me feel better. It was difficult to explain why I was upset because I wasn't even sure what my job was or anything; I think I was mostly overwhelmed at everything and at being so far from my friends. 

But luckily those friends are pretty great, and multiple people talked to me about it, mostly while I cried but I did get to have at least one conversation where I was cheered up without tears (the perks of being friends with guys - pretty sure they aren't fond of crying) and by the end of the night I could talk to people WITHOUT crying. My mentor bought me a beer and I ended up having a little bit of fun, even. 

After I got home, I looked at my Romanian job description and from what I can gather, it seems like this will be a good fit. I'm going to be in Căplani, a village of 3500 in the southeast. It's in a raion (like a county, I think?) called Ștefan Vodă and I could probably throw a stone to Ukraine and watch it hit the ground. Very close to Odessa and such, but we aren't allowed to go there. Though maybe that won't be the case forever. 

I'll work in a Primariă, which is a Mayor's office. I have a partner that will work with me and they have a list of projects I might work on, but I haven't quite translated all of that yet. So I'll have more information on that later, hopefully. Tomorrow I have to catch a bus to my new village. It's a 2 hour trip from the capital that I will make alone. I'll be there until Tuesday and on Tuesday my partner will come back with me for a Site Team Conference with everyone. I'll stay with my future host family and probably get a tour of the Primariă and possibly the village. I really don't know what will go on but I'm guessing a lot of it will be hard to understand, as it's less likely in villages to have English speakers. 

Speaking of Romanian, we had a language test yesterday and got our feedback today. The test was oral and involved four situations (buying food at the market, giving directions in town, talking about family, interviewing a Mayor) that we cycled through. One language instructor spoke with me and another wrote down everything I said. Today I was told that I am one of the best Romanian speakers in our group and that my pronunciation is almost Moldovan, so that's encouraging. It's still difficult to speak with people and to understand them, but my language instructor called my partner in Căplani and informed her that I have only been studying for 4 weeks so she will need to slow down a bit and be patient (I even understood most of her side of the conversation). So I think they know that this weekend will be somewhat of a struggle, communication-wise. 

Wish me luck on my site visit - hope everything goes well.