Sunday, August 31, 2014


Happy Sunday! Here's a quick update from Moldova.


Reading two books. It's nice to have one on the Kindle that I can take places and one that's a real book because, well.. Whoever doesn't prefer real books is nebun, aka crazy. The one on Kindle right now is Streetlights Like Fireworks, which I've just started but it's pretty good so far! And the physical book is Cloud Atlas, which is strange but good. I'm at a slow part so I'm having trouble with it, but I'm very interested. 
Writing down my budget - it's almost time to pay my host family, so I've currently got lei strewn around my bed (okay, it's in neat piles.. Like I would have it strewn anywhere.) and numbers scribbled all in my notebook. 
Listening to silence! This house is very quiet compared to the last one. 
Thinking about what to do for my office for my birthday, thanks to someone who reminded me I have no plans. The birthday person is supposed to bring treats, which I obviously think is silly, but whatever! We've decided on champagne and cake, so I'm halfway there, as I have a bottle of champagne from my training host family. 
Smelling clean laundry. 
There's a fun video for you of when I took it off the line! I'm very efficient, aka, I got a cool new app where I can speed up videos and this is how I tested it. 
Wishing it were Saturday again so I could be eating donuts in Chisinau with my friends for our birthdays!
Hoping the scheduled power outage on my birthday doesn't last for all of my birthday (I turn 24 on Thursday!!).. Because I'm also hoping that maybe some friends or family will FaceTime me so I'm not alllllll alone on my actual birthday. hint
Wearing sweatpants, duh. It's Sunday. I'm not going anywhere.
Loving the last few days. They've been pretty great! I might get to collaborate on a fun project with one of my COD buddies in October, and yesterday I went on a long walk - all the way to the edge of Moldova! (Don't worry, I didn't cross.) 
The nice sign telling me not to cross
The view of Moldova from its edge
Wanting ..besides donuts? Hmmm.. How about a nice shoulder massage? Thanks in advance.
Needing to translate my speech for tomorrow. I'm speaking at the first day of school! I have written a few sentences in English, and now I need to make them Romanian. 
Feeling excited because I just tracked my package from my favorite roomie and it is all the way in Germany! So it might be here by the time I'm in town to pick it up! Yay!
Clicking this post with inspiring quotes! I plan to put a few of them in and/or on my journal. 

O zi buna!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Ziua Independenței

August 27 was Moldova's Independence Day! 

I had the day off and didn't actually manage to do anything (though I finished another book). My host mom said they didn't do anything for Independence Day. She asked if I would go to Chișinău, but I didn't want to do that, so I just figured we would have a relaxing day, which we did. We didn't have power for the day (due to the road construction, I assume), but it was back by the evening. 

Moldova is 23 years old! August 27, 1991 is when Moldova adopted the Declaration of Independence from the Soviet Union. 

I assumed, based on what my host mom and the women at the office had said (sleep in and rest!) that Căplani didn't do anything for Ziua Independenței. The next day was an Orthodox holiday, Sfânta Maria, which I gather has something to do with the Virgin Mary. My partner's name is Maria though and she left work early to celebrate with her relatives from out of town, so.. When's Sfânta Catherine? There's a Saint Catherine, right? 

Anyway. After dinner yesterday (August 28) around 8:00 p.m., my host mom came in and asked if I was ready to speak on September 1 (Although, this confused me because I didn't hear "speak" and I thought "to get ready" was a whole other thing, so I had no idea what she was talking about at first). She said I needed to prepare, as I would be speaking to the children on the first day of school, and also did I want to go to a concert. 

I don't know what goes on in her head to have all these conversations together, and maybe if it were in English it would be totally logical to me too, but the reason they think I'm a moron (well, they probably don't all think that) is because I'm always confused about the context, even if I know what the words mean. 

Eventually I gather that we are going to a concert that night where there will be singing and dancing, done by the kids from the kindergarten where she teaches, and that, separately, I will be speaking at First Bell, the first day of school (in Romanian.. Obviously.).

We leave about a half hour later and walk to the Casa de Cultura, which is in the center of town near the mayor's office (and everything else), so it's about a 20 minute walk, and I can hear music the whole time. We get there and I realize it wasn't just random houses playing music that we were walking by, but it's a huge speaker system on the steps of the Casa de Cultura playing extraordinarily loud music. If you want to talk to someone, you have to get right up next to them. Which my host mom does. Luckily not too often. 

There are kids running around and a few tiny ones dancing, and I'm confused, of course, because I thought we were going to a concert and assumed we would be going into the Casa de Cultura. I know, what was I thinking. I figure this is what it is and I enjoy watching all the kids - this is the greatest number of people I have ever seen in the village so it's pretty exciting. 

Kindergarten girls (who I understood will be starting at the primary school on Monday) come up to say hello, wearing really fancy dresses. Imagine prom/wedding dresses (most were white or white-ish), but on tiny people. Everyone is excited and more people have arrived, and then, a program starts! There is an MC and he reads things and the children recite poetry and sing songs and do a cute partner dance (there are cute little boys dressed fancy, too). Two older girls each sing a song, too, and eventually the MC says, "And now, the village hora!" The program is over and I figure everyone is going to actually do the hora together, but only the children continue dancing, along with a small group of older girls who tire after one song. 

I didn't understand all of the program, but the poems were relatively simple and I understood parts of them - they were about Moldova and loving Moldova and the Romanian language (which prompted my asking what this celebration was for - Independence Day or Language Day, which is on Sunday - turns out it was indeed for Independence Day). It was fun to see! 

We left around 10, cold but happy to have celebrated my first Moldovan holiday!

Friday, August 22, 2014

A Note from a Moldovan (the first of many, I assume)

A woman marched into the office today, headed straight toward me (I assumed she was making a mistake - I don't handle any actual mayor's office business, don'tcha know?) with a folded piece of paper in her outstretched hand. Outstretched to.. me? Still thinking it's a mistake until I take the paper and see that it says "For Cate" which I assume is me, because let's add "Cate" to my list of names. 

I open it and read while she waits. Then a conversation takes place where I agree to go to her house after work. She wants to know when this will be (obviously) but as I leave at a different time every day, I don't know what to tell her. I look at Alexandra for help and they decide I will leave at 4:00 and she will wait at her house with her son. During the conversation I realize that I have seen her before on my way to work, and she's invited me twice to her house, but I've never known where exactly it was and haven't really been motivated to figure it out. (I did ask my host mom, but she dismissed the question with a, yeah we'll do that later.) 

Let's take a closer look at that note, shall we? 
  • Moldovans think that I understand the difference between one plant and another. This is where they are wrong. Unless there is a big flashing sign and cherries are falling off as I walk past, I will not know that it's a cherry tree. My PST host family was trying to name the flowers in their garden for me and I had to say, listen, I don't know what they are in English, so the Romanian really isn't necessary, but thanks anyway! So I would never have found the house "where is many cherry trees."
  • When people say they want to live in the USA "if will be posible," I'm always hoping that doesn't mean they want to try to marry me. There's no doubt in my mind that these women here would try to set me up with their sons, because I think they'd set me up with anyone, so.. It's not outside the realm of possibility. 
  • What does it mean that you don't know English but you can understand and speak? Doesn't that mean you do know it? Very confusing, especially since this note is in relatively good English.
After work, Alexandra's husband drove me to the house and pointed out which one it was (didn't look carefully at the trees, but there were some). It was not yet 4:00; I was half an hour early, and I didn't see anyone. I shouted (okay, I said loudly) "Buna ziua!" but no one came. I wasn't sure what to do and I didn't want this woman to hunt me down again, so I lingered at the gate for a few minutes. I walked toward the street and the policeman drove by, probably wondering what the heck I was doing, but he didn't stop to ask, thankfully. 

Then I saw a guy walking up from the backyard so I went to where he was, and he turned to leave, but I said, "Hello!" and he came back up to the gate. It was Ion, from the note (the love letter, as Alexandra's husband put it), in the flesh! He came out and I thought he was going for a handshake but of course he was doing the kiss on the cheek thing, so that was pretty awkward. We talked for a few minutes in English, which he does understand and speak.. I think he knows it. Admittedly not excellently, but still. Better than my Romanian. 

He's 23 and just got his Master's in Bucharest, though I don't know in what.. But now he's back doing repairs on his mother's house, which he had to get back to or his brother would be mad, so our conversation was not too long. I was preparing to turn and leave when he said, "Oh, wait!" and went back in the yard to pick me a bunch of grapes for my walk home (which I obviously did not eat as it had not been washed). Let's just hope a bunch of grapes is not the promise ring of Moldova!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

"Be brave."

On Monday, my grandpa died. I was there for it, strange as that sounds, through the wonders of technology, as I was FaceTiming the family as it happened. I feel like he was waiting to talk to me again (or hear me again, really) and it was sad, but also kind of special, in a weird way. 

The next day, the bells rang at the church. They had told me just the day before that they ring when a villager dies (they have rung three times this week - I'm not sure if that means three different people died or what), so I think this time they were for Grandpa. (I mean, they weren't, but I interpreted it like they were.) 

I wasn't really in the mood to do anything that day, but I was at work anyway, not doing much of anything (so, the usual) and the mayor asked me if I wanted to go somewhere with him. I said yes; he said 10 minutes; an hour later we hadn't left. Eventually we did, and I figured out that we were going to a winery across the road to get a bottle of wine for him to bring to Germany. The mayor is very passionate about this center he wants to establish for the village, for the elderly and disabled. He was going to Germany the next day to ask for funding, I believe, so he planned to bring a bottle of Moldovan wine! Always a good gift. 

I briefly mentioned before that Divergent has become kind of an important book to me. I really identify with the main character's struggles, and one of them is Dauntless initiation. Which I sometimes feel like I'm going through, too - it's really hard to be brave and "dauntless" all the time and occasionally you're not completely sure you're going to make it! Two weeks ago my partner gave me a book about the history of the village. I was reading the section about the village's name - it comes from the Turkish, and it means "tiger." So that's cool. But the village just across the main road was also listed in the same section and also got its name from Turkish - only its name, Crocmaz, means "dauntless." At first I thought I was inventing that, because how could that coincidence really happen. So I tried to translate it a slightly different way, and it literally means dauntless. I obviously felt it was fate and I didn't know if I would ever get to this village, but I sure wanted to. 

The winery we went to was in Crocmaz. On a day I probably needed some bravery, we went to Dauntless. 

It was a cute little winery called Et Cetera and the owner was very nice - he gave me a bottle of pink wine as a present (I really didn't think pink was very popular over here, since I hadn't had it yet!) and then the three of us sat down and shared a bottle of it with bread and spreads. 

We went to the raion center after that to do some more things the mayor needed to do, including getting a tire fixed.. While I was in the car. Nobody told me to get out! 

Then he said, we're going to Purcari! Which was confusing to me, because that's a winery too, and we'd already been to one winery that day! But we went there too! It was really pretty, and an old and big winery.. Much more of a tourist attraction than Et Cetera. The mayor said we'd come back sometime when we had more time, but he took my picture there and bought me a little bottle as a present.

We went back to Caplani and he took me to his greenhouses where he gave me a bunch of cucumbers (oh, we'd stopped on the way back and he'd gotten me a bunch of fruit, too - I think they're very concerned about my eating here) and took my picture with them again. 

It was a very eventful two days. 

Today we got a call from the mayor (I think he's still in Germany) who said (I think) that we got a bunch of funding for the center! So that's really exciting! Hopefully I'll get to work on this a bunch with them, because it seems very important to the mayor. 

So.. I'm doing okay. Moldova keeps having her Moments. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Say "Yes" to Everything.*

*actually, don't. Here's why.

"Say yes to everything" is a piece of advice we get a lot from volunteers who have been in country longer than we have. I definitely understand the sentiment, and I even agree with it, but there are some times when you should absolutely say no. (To be fair, volunteers have said this, too, but more often, it's "Say yes!" without a qualifier.)

I had two packages at the Peace Corps office, which is in Chișinău, which is a 2.5 hour rutiera ride, so I have only made it once so far after coming to site. But I do have a friend 30 minutes away from me, so she picked up my packages for me (thanks again!) and kept them at her house until I could get them.

I planned to go get them Friday evening after work, so I attempted to ask my host mother when the rutiera left, and eventually she told me it was at 4:10. I knew the return bus came at 9, so I figured I'd have a little time to hang with Kelsey in between all the walking to and from her house after getting off the bus. My host mother happened to be near the bus stop when I was leaving so she saw me off, and away we went. 

Now, I've only been to Ștefan Voda once before, so I'm not 100% sure of the stops, but I know we're getting close when the bus stops and a man gets on. He says, "Cat, Cat!" I don't think he could possibly be talking about me but then he adds, "Americancă!" He wants me to get off the bus. I feel like I recognize him so I think maybe he is related to my friend - that's the only logical explanation in my mind.. How else would anyone know I'm coming? So I "say yes" and get off the bus - which was a mistake. 

I nervously follow him, unsure of where we are, but thinking we must be headed to a car that will take me to my friend's house..? We turn the corner and we're suddenly at a swimming pool and I see the man's wife and my heart sinks because I realize who these people are, and they are not who I came to see. They are friends of my host mother, at the pool celebrating their daughter's birthday, and they want me to stay and hang out with them. 

Naturally, I panicked. Their English-speaking son who doesn't exactly like to talk to me is not with them, so not knowing where I am + language barrier makes me freak out even more. They just tell me to call my friend and tell her I'll see her later, but I don't want to do that because I had a plan! Be flexible, sure. But to be fair, this situation came out of nowhere and I have no idea what to do. 

I tell them I want to go see my friend (or I try to, amid tears) so they call their son and tell him to come over WITH HIS BICYCLE. I don't even think about the fact that if I were to ride a bicycle without a helmet, I would just be sent home to America.. And I call my friend, freaking out. Luckily she's excellent in times of my crisis, AKA she is always quite calm while I am crying, and she tells me her address and says to get them to call me a cab. 

I go back into the pool area and the woman takes me over to some girls who are tanning, because she says one of them speaks English (I think they both did, really). The girl translates for me, saying that she thought we knew each other but then realized we were having trouble communicating so she thought she might be able to help. Which she did; she called a cab for me and waited with me for him to come. She talked to me and was very kind. The cab took me straight to my friend's house and I got to spend the rest of the evening with her before catching the last bus back. 

The only explanation I can think of for this situation is that my host mother called and told them I was coming, so they waited for the bus to come so they could pull me off of it. (This is naturally quite frustrating to me, as the whole thing fills me with anxiety just thinking about it.)

So that's why I don't think you should say yes to everything! I didn't know where I was and 100% should not have gotten off the bus with a man who I only sort of recognized, but weird things happen so often here that I can't yet tell which of them are good and which of them are not so good! The trouble is, I've only been here for a little over 2 months, so I can't yet distinguish between things that make me nervous because they aren't the best idea and things that make me nervous just because they are something new. I've also got no way of knowing if more time will even help me to make that distinction. 

Hopefully I can learn to figure out the difference between things to say yes to (like going to the store with someone, meeting a new person in the village, going to another part of the building to help someone with something) and things not to (if they make me uncomfortable or if I really just need to be alone), and hopefully everyone else can figure this out too. New experiences and situations are a good thing (and can be the best thing!) but sometimes, occasionally.. it's better to stay on the bus. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Moldova Moments

Sometimes I stop and think, wait, I'm in another country trying to learn and work and live and love.. How did I get here? 

Now of course I know how I got here, but occasionally I have to catch my breath and see if this life in Moldova I'm trying to make is truly my current reality. It always is. 

We all know that I've cried and struggled and so on, and I've asked myself why I'm here and why I haven't run back home to my puppy and family and friends, so today I'm going to tell you about one of the reasons. There is a phenomenon here I have witnessed, and I call it: Moldova Moments. 

A Moldova Moment could be anything, but it's usually exactly what you need when you need it, and it usually is something that makes me feel better about my life or makes me feel like I can continue with whatever I'm doing. It's like a sign, or something. I think you have to be looking for it to recognize it, because in my experience, it's usually not a big production (Moldova's not flashy like that). 

One of my first Moldova Moments was really early on in PST. I hadn't settled in yet, I was having a hard time with language, I was exhausted.. We got off the bus from Chişinău that evening and I had to face a 20-25 minute walk back to the house, which at the time, seemed like walking all the way to the end of the world, I was so tired. This was so early that we didn't all know the way home yet, so host sisters or brothers or mothers walked to the school to meet us. We got to the school and my host sister was waiting there with a car. That was the only day that ever happened, but it was the day I needed it to. That's a Moldova Moment. 

Not that I'm counting, but it's been 6 days since I've cried. Six days ago, though, I had a Moldova Moment (or what I considered to be one at the time, and have since realized it's a normal occurrence.. Though that doesn't mean that at the time, it wasn't a moment). It was not a good morning; I cried at breakfast and in my room after breakfast, and on the way to work.. And I tried to stop crying, but it was rather difficult. I share an office with 2 other women and even though I was a few minutes late, neither of them had arrived yet to open the door. That meant I had a few minutes to sit in the entry area by myself and pull myself together before I had to talk to people: the Moldova Moment of the day. 

So it could be anything, but when Moldova is like, hey girl, I want you to stay here; let me help you out a little.. that's when I think I'm in the right place.

[The pictures are from a walk I took this weekend - the Moldova Moment there was that it was thundering and lightning, threatening to rain the whole time, but I JUST beat the storm getting back.]

Friday, August 8, 2014

"Keep the color in your cheek and the fire in your eye." - William Hazlitt

I have been in Căplani for over a week now, and life has improved. Partly, I think, because I'm trying to improve it. 

I bring my computer to work now, and I can use the Internet, which is really helpful because when I don't understand something, I have translation capabilities.. Whereas before, I would just keep not understanding. I taught my host mother about Google Translate, which she still couldn't use without my help, and which still doesn't tell me everything she's saying, but sometimes she wants to tell a story so she will try to type it in. There are two similar words that she kept using that I'd never heard before, so I tried to look them up and they didn't exist. I asked her, What language are you speaking?! (They mix Russian and Ukrainian into their speech 24/7.) And she didn't know. She had no idea what language those words were in. So I asked someone else, and she said it's just "village language." Helpful. But now that I know what they mean, I've actually found myself using them, so I guess I won't be doing as clean Romanian as I thought. 

It's so hot here all the time but I wear pants to cover my bigger tattoo.. My host mom saw the smaller one so I thought, okay, it's time I choose comfort over culture (just at the house) and wear shorts. She still didn't notice it after two days, so I thought I would get the conversation over with and pointed it out. Then I realized that the reason she didn't have much to say about the first one is that she doesn't exactly understand tattoos. She asked how I did it and if it would wash off in the shower. I attempted to tell her that it would stay forever, but I don't know if she got the picture. (Don't know the word for "forever.") Moral of that story is, now I can wear shorts and be comfy! 

Having my computer at work also helps because I can keep some documents open that I've decided are a good idea - one for work and one for my well-being. I have one for what I do at work each day, which is occasionally just about a conversation I understood where I learned something.. They aren't letting me do much because of my language, but I'm trying to talk more and more so they will see I can do it. Then I have another called "Today's Accomplishments!" where I try to have at least three things a day that are accomplishments. They could be anything, like: translated a document, someone said "Good morning" to me first, or from yesterday "It's 8:16 a.m. and I haven't cried yet, so already that's better than yesterday!" My mentor told me I should do this from early on, but I haven't really been doing it.. Now I'm going to try to because I think it's helpful to focus on being positive! 

We have Wifi at the house now. We actually tried to have it many days before we actually did.. It turns out, the two of us are no good at setting something up without instructions. But I cried at breakfast and all the way to work the other day so I wrote a note to my host mother asking her to please call someone to help because I want to talk to my mother! And that plus my crying made her feel bad for me, so she came to my work that morning and told me it worked, and to come home at lunchtime because I was a mess, ha. Then I got to talk to my mommy and everything has been uphill from there! 

My host sister from the first family messaged me on Facebook asking what I was doing. I told her and asked her the same question, and she said, "Hanging with our family" AKA my family too AKA I miss them! I remember the Country Director saying that you often are closer with the short-term family because of how much you connected in such a crazy time, first arriving in the country and learning the language, and she is totally right. I'm excited for when I get to see them again in September. 

So I am staying optimistic, and things are getting better! I just finished reading Divergent, which I thought would probably be good but I didn't think it would be life-changing or anything.. Except that it was. I've been waiting to read it for some reason and I figured out the reason: it's because now was when I needed to read it. I could go into so much detail about why it's perfect and how it's somehow given me the confidence to keep going, but I won't bore everyone/spoil the story. 

Now you know I'm not sitting here crying 24/7! (Lower those numbers though; obviously I still cry. I've been informed that I am a Highly Sensitive Person, so that must be the answer.)

O zi bună!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

I Don't Actually Want to Write This..

..but I figure maybe A. it will help, and B. probably at least a few people who are 5000+ miles away want to know about my life. 

Wednesday, I was officially sworn in as a Peace Corps Volunteer. Now I'm not a trainee anymore; I'm official and everything. I've got a fancy pin, a certificate, I said the oath that the President says.. Totally cool. It was an exciting and emotional day, although I made it through all the speeches and oaths and stuff without actually crying. Our Country Director actually asked where in the crowd I was before she started, because she apparently gets emotional during big ceremonies like that and knows about my crying history. "Where's Cat? I always cry at stuff like this!" She found me and surprisingly enough, we both made it through without tears. 

That's not to say we didn't almost! She read an excerpt from Oh, The Places You'll Go! and I was totally fine for all of that until she got to, 

I'm afraid that some times

you'll play lonely games too.
Games you can't win
'cause you'll play against you.

All Alone!
Whether you like it or not,
Alone will be something
you'll be quite a lot.

And when you're alone, there's a very good chance
you'll meet things that scare you right out of your pants.
There are some, down the road between hither and yon,
that can scare you so much you won't want to go on.

I almost lost it. But I didn't. Except then later, I did, because it all came true. 

My host mother and the mayor came to pick me up. She had to go to the host family conference while I had some free time to say goodbye to friends (hard) and try to mentally prepare myself for the trip back to my village without them (harder). We joined the conference at the end to go over some stuff and sign some papers, and we pretty much needed a translator for everything. I knew what she was saying, but I just couldn't talk much in Romanian that day (or the next day..). 

(Actually, for a side note, for not speaking much Romanian that day, I was complimented on my Romanian twice by two different Moldovans. The baristas at the coffee place we frequent definitely know we are American, but I always try to talk to them in Romanian anyway, even when they just start out with English. The girl who took my order told me I had "very good Romanian." Then later, a guy asked if he could help with my luggage. I of course tried to say no; we all know how independent I like to try to be.. But it didn't work and I really couldn't drag two huge suitcases anyway, so I let him. He talked to me in English too, but I managed to throw in a word or two and he was so impressed that he asked me to say more things and told me my pronunciation was great and I sounded Moldovan/Romanian/whatever. Admittedly, he was young and could have just been flirting, but I will take the compliment.) 

Anyway, the 2.5 hour trip to Caplani somehow turned into 5+ hours, AND we had five people in a tiny car with one of my suitcases in the backseat with us.. Not as pleasant as it sounds - or maybe exactly as pleasant. My host mother shouted in my ear the whole time and I just wanted to get out of there, but obviously I couldn't. 

We eventually made it back, had a snack, and I unpacked. They told me I didn't have to go to work the next day, which I was initially grateful for but then wished I had had to go, because I didn't know what to do. I slept in, finished a book.. My host mother tried to feed me about a hundred times. I cried basically all day and spoke to no friends or anyone. I didn't say much in either language, not that my host mother knows English. But she wants to learn it so she continues to ask me what words are.. I don't know how she thinks she will learn English this way. She kept telling me to eat, over and over, and while she was telling me to eat as I was putting the fork into my mouth while crying, I just lost it and shouted at her about how I couldn't eat any faster than I was already doing and to stop telling me to eat.. Sort of stormed out to get my box of tissues and she didn't seem that fazed, just confused, because all the shouting had been in English. 

She brought this kid over, a 17 year old boy who clearly doesn't want to hang out with me, because he speaks some English. But he's kind of unpleasant and actually the opposite of helpful. He's been over twice and I was even more irritated with him the second time. 

I went to work on Friday, though not for very long, and I didn't do anything. They had Internet for a while, so I got to check my email and use Google Translate. I met a few people and then my host mother came to get me for lunch, which we had with the children at the kindergarten. Then she told me I didn't have to go back to work until Monday and asked if I wanted to stay there or go home by myself, so I went home. I got to use the Internet there, cry some more, take a nap, and relax a little bit, which was nice and made me feel a little better.

Then she eventually came home and fed me, and I was able to articulate some things finally. I asked when there was water and when there wasn't (turns out you have to plug it in) and how to take a shower (something else you have to plug in and wait an hour for the water to get hot). I told her I don't want to eat a lot and that if I didn't want something, I wasn't going to eat it. And we were able to actually have a conversation, which I think shocked her, but now she knows I'm not 4 years old and that I actually understand her most of the time when she talks to me. I know she's just concerned because she is the one taking care of me and wants to make sure I'm okay, but it's going to take some getting used to. If someone is going to be bugging me every five minutes, I understand the motivation when she's 4 (oh yeah, I really miss Ionela) but not when she's 40. But I'm trying. 

I figured out that we have one working streetlight here and it is right outside my house. They fixed it, literally just for me, so that I have light in front of my house. I know they all want me to be here and I want to be here too, but it's hard to figure out why I want to be here when everything seems so hard.

It's very difficult at the moment. I'm crying a lot more than usual. Some people might wonder how that's possible, but it is. 

I'm going to try to get to the raion center by myself tomorrow to meet a friend, so I think that will be a good thing. My host mother is taking me there on Monday also to talk to someone about getting wifi, which will help a lot too, because I feel very isolated at the moment (the Internet I'm using to post this is only in her bedroom) and not able to talk to my mother and Becky, which is most difficult. 

Hopefully it is just hard now and won't be forever. That is to say, I'm not quitting yet. Because Dr. Seuss says I'll move mountains, and I can't move mountains without trying. 

Note I got from one of my PST BFFs