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!