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!

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