Monday, June 15, 2015

A Year of Days

"Un an de zile."

"A year of days."

That's what I hear, all the time. If someone in my village wants to say "a year" they never say "a year." They always say "a year of days." This also works for "a month of days" or "two years of days." 

At first I was confused. Why are they saying a year of days? Of course it's a year of days; what else would it be? Just say a year! When I eventually realized what they were saying, I was, of course, surprised that it took me so long. I asked a language teacher if this was a saying or if they were all just crazy, and she thought for a minute and said something like, oh you know I guess I say that too. I didn't realize. I think it's just because "un an" is so short.

I've been in Moldova for a year of days now. Our "anniversary" of stepping off the plane was over a week ago. It blows my mind, really. I don't know how that could be right. Yes, it feels like it's been forever, but hasn't it just been a couple months? Nope. It's been 12. A year of months, a year of days, a year of hours, a year of minutes. 

I wasn't planning to write a post about being here for a year but then I was hanging out with my best friend yesterday, AKA my journal.. And it turned out that I had some stuff to say. I'm not a fan of sharing my journal. I've read a passage of it to one person, once. I've casually shown someone a picture from it. I might post an Instagram photo of a quote I've written inside. But it's for me. And for the future. I don't start entries with "Dear Diary," because I'm not a character in a Judy Blume novel. I don't start them with anything, actually, but I write them as if I'm writing to my grandchildren (who don't exist at the moment, obviously). I just like to think that one day they'll be hanging out at their favorite grandma's house and they'll find these old journals in the attic and say, "Bunicuță! What are these?! Can we read them??" My grandchildren apparently know Romanian in this scenario, so.. There's that. 

As none of you reading this now are lucky enough to be my grandchildren, I'll just share a few of my thoughts from my journal on being here a year. 

So what's happened in a year? Where do I even begin? I went from daily tears to sporadic crying. I met new, lifelong friends. I lost a few along the way. I've traveled to new and old countries and had my life changed in at least one of them. I've met soulmates, American, Moldovan, and otherwise. 
I've learned to like instant coffee but still remember the magic of coffee makers. I've had to appreciate the tiniest things and I think I've gotten pretty good at that. 
I've learned that it's not in me to not give, to not share my whole heart. Does this make me like my mother? Am I turning into her in Moldova? No surprise there. I've continued to want to take care of everyone, only now more so because after a year I need a little less taking care of. 
I've learned to stand up for myself and be assertive - in 2 languages. Just within the last few months, I've felt myself becoming more confident and sure of myself, and consequently more sure of my relationships with others - turns out if you feel better about yourself, you'll feel better about the way other people feel about you - or don't. Because if they don't, so what? 
I've found a rhythm, a routine. I don't get stressed/freaked about the small stuff - missed the bus? Okay, I'll just reschedule every meeting. But I won't cry about it. 
I'm thinking in and using different languages, but one of them is still love. Do I love everyone? Oh, yes. Without a doubt. (It's my mother again!) 
I want to remember everything. I know I can't. I try to take lots of pictures to help. 
I'm an expert on going with the flow and a - what's higher than expert? I'm that on understanding people in languages I don't read or speak - language, who needs it?! Finding out how very true that is. Am I speaking the language of the world? Yeah, I'm also reading a lot of Paulo Coelho. How can you tell? I'm reading a lot in general. It makes my life better, my conversations richer, my heart happier. 
I take more selfies. What? You went to the Peace Corps and got more self-centered? No. Two reasons. 1. When you're alone and you want to take a picture, selfie is your option. And I'm alone a lot. 2. I like myself more. Yeah I'll take a picture of myself, because I'm AWESOME. I can even look at rare selfies from a year ago and see how unsure of myself I was. But now? Oh, you've got a camera? Let me just reapply my lipstick and I'll be right over. 
I don't know how much I've changed my community but I can sure say that Peace Corps has changed me so far. And we're just halfway in. 

June 4, 2014
June 4, 2015
So there's photographic proof of what a year of days can do. A year of days and I'm a year of days different.. But still a year of days amazing, and still me. 

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