Friday, July 10, 2015

Lavender Festival*

*Subtitle to this post: How to be alone**
**Sub-subtitle: AKA, Peace Corps

If you're living in your home country and there's an event that sounds cool but that you can't find anyone to go with, it's pretty easy to just go. You'll probably meet someone cool to talk to, or, if your life resembles a Hallmark movie, you'll maybe even meet your soulmate (I've been led to believe that the probability of meeting the love of my life at a Christmas tree lot is SO HIGH that I'm not sure I'll meet him anywhere other than there.. Is it even possible to meet someone during the summer?).

If you're living in another country (where you kind of speak the language) and there's an event that sounds cool but that you can't find anyone to go with, it's a little harder. But I decided that I wanted to go, with or without someone. Once I figured out that it would be without, I decided that I needed to make it an awesome day to myself (instead of an awkward day alone, or something). 

At the TED talks, there was a woman who talked about rebranding Moldova, and I thought she was super interesting. During her talk, she mentioned some upcoming festivals, including Festivalul Levănțicii, or Lavender Festival. That sounded great, and I mentioned it to a few people, but no one ended up being able to go.

So I went alone! It was in a little village in Anenii Noi, so I had to go to Chisinau first to get there. The event sponsored rutieras back and forth throughout the day, so all I had to do was get to the place they'd be starting from. Which I'd never been to.. But when I got off the bus and saw a dozen people standing on the side of the road wearing all white, I knew I'd found the right spot. There was a dress code: all white (ne îmbrăcăm neapărat în alb) - originally I'd thought this was just a suggestion, but almost everyone took it really seriously, so if I go next year I might have to go shopping ahead of time. I did go in a white t-shirt so don't worry, I fit in. 

It was way bigger than I'd thought! There were a bunch of food booths (but "no meat, no beer" - only healthy things like tons of sangria), an art competition, a huge stage with different performances throughout the day, booths where people were selling crafts, soaps, handmade pretty things, and LAVENDER. The fields of lavender were EVERYTHING. When you walked into what I'll just call the fairgrounds, to your left was lavender literally as far as you could see, and to the right was all the booths and places to sit in the fields and relax. 

I started my day with stuffed peppers and lavender lemonade, and then walked all around to look at everything. Bought myself some cute jewelry and some fun things for a friend who had sent me with money and directions to plan a romantic evening. There were professional photographers there to take your picture in the lavender fields, so I did that - hello, Moldova's Next Top Model, look no further. Then I set out a blanket and tried both kinds of sangria while listening to the performances and reading my book and enjoying the beautiful sunny day! I stayed as long as I wanted and when I decided it was time to go, I changed my mind to get a lavender massage, because obviously. After that I went back to Chisinau, relaxed and happy and smelling much better than normal. 

Would it have been fun with friends? For sure. But I had a great time without them - in case you've forgotten, I'm kind of a good time on my own. It meant I got to do what I wanted, when I wanted. It meant I had to be a little brave occasionally and talk to someone in Romanian to ask them to take my picture or to help me find the perfect bath salts or direct me somewhere. And it reminded me that if I don't go Christmas tree shopping anytime soon, I'll be just fine. 

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