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!

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