Travel with me for 27 months of service as a Peace Corps volunteer in Moldova!

Thank you for sharing in my experience and please keep in touch by leaving comments! Om Shanti

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The first 4 months of Moldova...clearly blogging isn't my forte!

Hey everyone!

I've decided to give another attempt at blogging.  These last 4 months have been crazy and I haven't had regular access to the internet so I'll try to sum up as best I can what life is like here in Moldova.  (My mind had a brief brainfreeze after typing that sentence because there is so much I can write about I am not sure where to start).  But here goes the brief version...

So my first 10 weeks here I was living in the village of Bardar for what the Peace Corps (PC) calls "Pre-Service Trainning" or PST.  I lived with a wonderful family and went to "school" everyday to learn to speak Romanian and how to be a successful health education PC volunteer.  PST is an interesting time because you are living in a new culture with a host family but you are also very busy with PC activities.  In my village there were 7 other health education volunteers, or "healthies" as we are called here.  The 8 of us bonded quickly and became a little PC family, learning together about our new country and the in's and out's of teaching health education and improving community health for our future sites.  At the time, the days seemed long but looking back it was nice to have a group of friends who were always around and experiencing the same things together.   PST ended with "practice school" when our future teaching partners came to our village for two weeks and we taught in Romanian the village kids lessons about various health was a PC health camp of sorts.  After practice school, we dressed up in traditional Moldovan costumes and danced and sang traditional songs as a thank you to our first host families.  PST ended with a swearing-in ceremony at the US embassy in the capital of Moldova, Chisinau.  It felt like an ending but it was actually the beginning of the next 2 years living by ourselves in our respective villages.  It was time for the "fun" to start.  Check out my facebook for pictures and in my next blog I'll tell you all about my home village, Bobeica!

Friday, June 11, 2010

I'm living in MOLDOVA!!!

So far I have been in Moldova for 2 days and it has been a whirlwind adventure already.  We arrived in Chisinau, the capital of Moldova, yesterday evening after almost 30 hours of travel time from leaving the hotel in Philadelphia.  Since our arrival, we have been showered with information and hospitality.  We all have Peace Corps (PC) mentors from the group that arrived last year and they have been so helpful to make sure we have everything we need.  After a brief welcome orientation last night, today was our first day of Pre-Service Training (PST) which will last for 10 weeks.  In addition to many information sessions, we also had our first language class today and we found out the villages we will be moving to tomorrow evening when we meet our first host families.  Overall everything is going very well and I am excited to meet my host family and really start to learn the language (which I am happily finding is similar in many ways to Italian).   I am hoping to sleep well tonight and get past some of the jet-lag I was feeling today.  I am still figuring out the food here and trying to find good vegetarian/vegan options which is a little challenging but thanks to the free pepto bismol from the PC that is going better:)  The most different part so far of living here for me is that we can’t drink any of the tap water so we have to filter our water or drink bottled water so that is interesting.  I’m very excited to be going into a small rural village tomorrow and seeing more the the countryside.  This is a very beautiful country with rolling hills and lots of green.  Love you all and thank you for all the support.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

First Post

Welcome to my first ever blog!  I am excited to invite everyone to travel with me and join in the Peace Corps experience.  I officially leave in about a month on June 8th!  I will be working with the Health Education in Schools and Communities program as a Health Education Specialist.  This program sounds like a perfect match for me and when I first read the details it was like I had created the job description myself.  The program takes a holistic youth development approach to health ed with programing in and out of the classroom.  I will be teaching completely in the Moldovan language so learning the language will be the first challenge to tackle.  With just over a month to go till I leave, I am getting everything ready, enjoying my time stateside and spending time with everyone I love!

For a little background, Here's an update on what I've been up to for the past few years.  I finished graduate school in Dec. 2007 with a Maters Degree in Health Education and Behavior. While in grad school I focused on holistic health and youth development.  During that time I worked with and helped design an outdoor education program for at-risk adolescent girls, called Project Challenge.  Probably one of the coolest jobs ever, we used rock climbing, white water rafting and camping activities to increase the confidence and self esteem in these girls to positively affect their health outcomes.  After graduation, I did a solo backpacking trip around Europe for 5 months, which added fuel to my passion for traveling.   Returning to the US, I became a tour guide for Trek America, a small group adventure touring company for people aged 18-35 visiting America.  With this job I led cross-country tours, driving 15,000 miles in one summer and camping in some of the most beautiful places and national parks.  Then I spent some time in California before accepting an internship in Colorado with the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center.  I spent the winter of 2008 living on the top of a mountain in the rockies as a ski instructor teaching people of all abilities and disabilities how to ski and enjoy the outdoors.  During this time was when I decided to submit my application for the Peace Corps.  After Colorado, I moved to upstate New York to live and work at Omega (now one of my favorite places!).  Omega is a holistic health community nestled in nature and seeping in love, discovery and spirituality.  At Omega, I was a faculty assistant and helped visiting faculty prepare for their workshops and retreats.  After staying a whole season at Omega, I went on a musical tour with a bunch of friends (the Dharma Bums) down the East Coast spreading peace, community and environmental awareness from the wheels of the Dharma Mobile.  For the past 5 months, I've been living in beautiful and wonderful Charleston, SC.  In Charleston, I embraced many opportunities, including working and living at a hostel, developing a strong yoga practice of Jivamukti yoga with amazing teachers, learning all about raw, vegan cooking and acupuncture, and using my bike for transportation with no car.  During this month, I am going back up to Omega for 2 weeks, visiting family and friends in Florida, taking a trip to Arizona and then getting reading to head out to Moldova for the next 27 months!!!

Hope this background information was helpful!  Looking forward to keeping in touch with everyone!!  Have a great Day!