Day 95 is a look back on my first summer in Moldova (June-August 2016). During these 2 and a half months, we participated in pre-service training, which consisted of long days of language and technical training. Free time was fairly hard to come by these first couple of months as our trainings were Monday-Friday 8:30am-4:30pm and on Saturdays from 8:30am-12:30pm. However, for the good of our mental health, we always tried to find a way to spend time with other volunteers outside of training.
My group of English Educators were all situated in the same village and we were only a 10 minute rutiera ride away from the raion center, which offered bigger grocery stores and some restaurants for us to decompress at. If someone was celebrating a birthday, extra special effort was made to get together at one of the local restaurants because we all understood how hard that first birthday away from your friends and family can be.
This photo shows a group of English Education and Health Education volunteers celebrating after a long week of training at our favorite restaurant in Ialoveni: Cafe Duet. There is a sizeable porch outside where we could all sit and chat together because (1) we would always roll in at least 10 volunteers deep and (2) Americans are LOUD so putting that many of us together inside an enclosed space is not a great idea. There were many things learned at Cafe Duet that have come to be relevant for the rest of my service. Chiefly among those is: I never imagined I would eat as much pizza during my 27 months of service as I do. Definitely not a Peace Corps truth I was expecting.
This restaurant holds many memories from that first summer that will not soon be forgotten. Cafe Duet is where the M31 cohort began forming friendships–stories were traded over appetizers and drinks, successes and failures were celebrated and lamented, departures of members of our cohort were mourned–this is where we began our journey in becoming the M31 volunteer group of PC Moldova.