So, I’ve officially been in Moldova for a year and I feel this overwhelming pressure to write about how much I’ve changed since leaving the States.
But, that’s a hard thing to do because I feel that I’m basically the same person, just in a different location.
The changes that I’ve witnessed are fairly small in scope, but I’ll attempt to enumerate some for you here anyway.
Here goes nothin’…
- I’m about 15 pounds heavier and a hell of a lot happier: Those of you that know me best know that I lost a significant amount of weight in the year before coming here and the circumstances surrounding that weight loss weren’t exactly the most cheerful. Regardless, I’ve kind of stopped giving a shit about what other people think of me because I am who and what I am. And ain’t nobody got time for people in their lives that make them think otherwise.
- I have a newfound love for fresh produce: In the States, most of our produce is bought at huge chain supermarkets and, due to our wonderful genetic modification process for fruits and vegetables, they usually aren’t the best tasting. However, here in Moldova, the fruits and vegetables are outstanding and it has inspired me to begin shopping locally at farmer’s markets once I return home because I’d rather pay more for good vegetables than settle for cheap, chemically ones. Fight the man and all that.
- English is hard, guys: The appreciation that I have for being a native English speaker really cannot be explained because, after having to teach it for a year, you begin to realize just how hard this language is to learn and just how much it must suck to have to learn it. With this also comes a more intense disgust toward Americans who are all Guess what, morons? Most of my English learners here can speak better English than you so, until you know what it’s like to have to learn another language in order to survive in a country that isn’t your own, you don’t get to have an opinion.
- I walk 25 minutes each way to go to work, the market, or basically do anything else in my town: this is just a fact of life. I am literally one of the last houses before my city ends and it takes me a solid 20-25 minutes to get into the center of town where I go grocery shopping or where my school is located (and I’m one of the lucky ones). Lugging a reusable grocery bag full of food on my shoulder for this haul is just a typical Saturday afternoon and, when it’s hot or cold, I really come to hate the fact that I took having the convenience a car for granted.
- Cherish the little things: Life in Moldova is just simpler and slower than it is in the States. People live extremely modest lives here and big expressions of affection aren’t given through expensive gifts or things. Instead, students pick flowers from their gardens or apples from their trees to show their appreciation for you as their teacher, your host parents invite you to stand out front with them under the cherry tree to enjoy the first ripe cherries of the season…simple things that end up being some of the biggest things.
There are probably more that I could add (like the fact that a bird pooped on me today while I was picking cherries from the tree and it literally didn’t phase me at all, whereas in the States, I would’ve lost my damn mind), but I think you all get the idea.
I’m still me…just a little more simple.
And that’s perfectly alright.