Thursday, January 19, 2012

Dear Packers, what was the point of the whole regular season?

Hello everyone,

I am currently at a loss for things to do. The Moldovan winter is finally setting in I think, although there is no snow, I walk outside and immediately ask myself why I left the (warmer) setting of my awesome apartment. The once mud has now frozen into obstacles that make walking with your head down a must. My furry friends who live out by my trash are getting a little more desperate for food which makes my attempts at befriending them a little less in futile. I still am yet to gain the trust of any of them. However the elderly couple who scavenges my apartment block’s garbage seems very friendly. I have been planning on buying a sack of potatoes and onions to give to them the next time I see them out, but don’t want to embarrass them.

Peace Corps SPA grant proposals are coming up. I’ll be presenting my project on the 28th. Everyone and their dog have written a proposal this year, but apparently there is more money in the budget. So I hope the extra money in the budget will offset my awful writing skills and get my project funded. I’m working with a lady in town, who owns a farm, to construct a small scale commercial fishing pond (is “small scale commercial” an oxymoron?). What we plan to do is converting an old irrigation pond to allow fish to be grown and use the “fish poo” infused water as a super organic fertilizer for a greenhouse located on the property. We plan on planting carp, or as my dad referred to them growing up “shit eating fish”. Yes, they do eat shit, but they also eat microscopic organic growth in the water. Actually, we don’t even need to feed them if we don’t want to. We are going to fertilize the pond using cow manure. From what I have read we can just put 1kg of manure in a day that encourages growth of the microscopic organic growth. However, we will be adding a supplemental feed of corn mash to the water as well.

Hopefully this project gets funded because if it doesn’t I really don’t have anything planned to work on for the next 7 months. So I’ll probably just start my tour of Moldova and start visiting lots of people. If you’re a volunteer reading this I believe that should be fair warning.

Seven months. Yep, that’s how much longer I have. Well, something around there. I should be able to leave sometime in the first 2 weeks of July. Time has flown… Well when I think about everything I have done in the last year and a half, it seems like way longer. No matter though, my time is almost up and then I have to, as I tell my partner, “Fac ceva cu viata mea”, or “do something with my life”. I have started to poke around the job market in the States, but all the jobs seem super lame compared to my childhood dreams. The only jobs I’m qualified for are extra boring sounding that would require me to sit inside all day writing grants, consulting on grants, and other really boring sounding things. What happened to the 4 millions job openings to be astronauts, 3 million openings in the NBA, NFL, and PGA? Also, why am I not qualified to be a spy? Was it not promised to me by Faith Hill that I could be anything I want to be? She should have said “you can be anything you want to be…. But probably not”

Okay that’s all. I love you all

Monday, August 8, 2011

Cave Of Surprises

On July 30 myself, Sam Kirschner, and 2 Moldovan friends, George and Sasha, decided to go to the river Nistru, which is located on the west side of the Country to BBQ and go through a cave. The cave is located very close to the border crossing between Moldova and Transnistria, just north of Ciruleni on the Moldova side and just south of Dubăsari on the Transnistria side. What I thought would be a nice casual stroll through a cave on a warm summer day ended up being one of the toughest and most rewarding experiences from my time in Moldova. I know a trip through a cave should not be more rewarding than my work I do every day, but let’s not fool ourselves the majority of my day is spent sitting alone in a dark office thinking of project ideas that nobody is going to listen to unless it personally makes them money.

Anyway, back to the cave. The cave is known by a few names, but the one that I feel is most appropriate is Cave of Surprises because that is exactly how I felt when I made it out alive. The entrance of the cave (see below) is a small whole that you can fit through quite easily; it drops down about 5 feet and then opens up into a small cavern. Upon entering the cave the temperature dropped substantially which you expect going underground. I remember thinking to myself, “I probably should have brought a jacket”, but as we move along the story you’ll see why that is a huge joke. The next part of the cave was a small drop of about 8 feet, but there was a wooden ladder so it wasn’t much of a problem. The last step was missing, but all 4 of us easily traversed the decaying wood without any problems. Directly after this drop there was another drop, this one a little scarier. The drop was about 5 feet to a large bolder that had fallen and then around the bolder it dropped off another 5 feet. What was used to span the gap between the top of the drop and the bolder was a branch of a tree about the size of my leg the spanned the gap in a declining angle. Sasha was the first to go across, him being the guide and all, and then me. We both made it to the bolder and then Sam’s turn came. He made it about half way and decided that his ankles and life would be better served taking a nap in the sun by the river. So we helped Sam find his way out and then continued across the branch again and on to the next challenge. As this story goes on it will show what a great decision Sam made to turn back.

Now just three we climbed off the bolder and made out way to the far end of the small cavern that we were in. Once we made it to the end I see Sasha disappear into a hole just big enough to get his shoulders through. I stopped, assessed the situation and thought, why not, if he can fit I sure as hell can fit. So I judged the angle I would have to stick my head in the hole to make it fit and went for it. Once I got most of my body into the hole I realized that I was in such a tight spot that the only way I could move was to go inch by inch using my toes to push myself forward. At this point you might think I would freak out right? Well I did a little, but wiggled, squeezed, and inched my way forward until I made it to the end of the hole where Sasha was waiting for me with a smile on his face congratulating me. He told me that was the first “filter” and many people don’t make it past it.

Once we all made it through the “Filter hole” we were continuously met with the same types of situations. Holes the same size, smaller, longer, more awkward, but after that first squeeze that a person goes through I believe something clicks in their brain and they either become a “cave person” or not. Every squeeze we made from that point I made it through relatively easily.
As we continued through the cave the squeezes were tight and awkward, but I made it. However, what I was not prepared for was the climbing. You may think that being from Utah I would be a pro climber because the south of Utah is riddled with some of the most famous climbs in the world. I however have never taken advantage of Utah’s climbing advantages. I have never climbed in my life except for jumping from bolder to bolder in the Uintas on my way to a lake to fish. As we made our way through the cave I was encountered time and time again with climbs that were way above my climbing level (Which is probably…1). We chimney climbed pretty much every ascent that faced us and many of those ascents were 15 to 20 feet high and full of sharp rocks at the bottom.

A few climbs stick out in my mind, but because my memory has blended the whole cave into one blur I can’t remember which climb belongs were in context, but I still am going to describe them. The first climb was not a climb, but a decent. As we were going through the cave we squeezed through a whole, which was normal at this point, but as we exited the whole we were face to face with a drop that dropped 15 feet down and was too big to chimney climb down it. However there was a rusted old chain that hung down the hole spanning to the bottom. In order to reach this chain you had to chimney climb out into the middle of the hole, turn around while hovering over the hole and make a leap of faith to the chain at which point you descend the chain “gym class style”. This little decent was one of the hardest things I have ever made my brain do. The will it took me to jump to this chain I never thought I had, but once I made it to the bottom and my adrenalin was pumping I felt like I conquered the world.

The next climb I am going to describe was one of the few moments where my brain actually said “I’m going to fall and it’s really going to hurt!” Throughout the cave there were red arrows pointing the way through, but it was still very easy to walk right past one and end up at a dead end. On one of these few occasions we ran into the dead end, but decided that the path must lead straight up. So up Sasha went chimney style, up up up. As he made it to the climb he yelled back down, “come up, I think this is the way”. So I considered my way up this 15ft. crack and started up. I tried to follow the path that Sasha took only making a small change to where I would end the climb. As I get 3/4 of the way up he yells back down, “wait, I think this is wrong”. So there I sat, wedged in a crack that I was barely holding. “Yep, it’s wrong”, I hear a few seconds later and at that point I look down to my doom. There is nothing below me, but smooth rock wall and jagged rocks at the bottom. My arms and legs were gassed, and my knees were bruised and on the verge of bleeding, but there really wasn’t much of a choice that to go for it. As I started my shaky way down I had the help of George below me who as soon as I was in reach was putting pressure on my feet to provide more friction. Eventually I made it down, arms, legs and brain shaking, but I was down. Back to the firm safety of the pitch black, uneven, cave floor.

The final climb just happened to be directly after the wrong turn and was no less of a climb we just encountered in our mistake of direction. About 20ft. back in the direction we came we found the arrow pointing up. This climb turned out to be our last climb which broke us to the sweet sweet sunshine. As usual Sasha started, made it up, yelled down confirming it was the right direction and I began my climb. The first part of the climb was again way over my level, but I made it. Hanging 10ft. up on a small foot hold I look up to see none other than an overhang! This overhang had a hole in it that I thought maybe I could fit through and avoid the life threatening climb I would have to take if it wasn’t there. So I climbed my way up into the whole and to my dismay my head would not even fit through it. So back around the rock I went. At the foot hold that I had started from I reached up over the top of the overhang and into the hole that was just a bit too small. I made sure I had a good hold and then let go of my feet and hung. With everything I had left in my body I pulled myself up and over the overhang to safety, for the moment. Once over the overhang I was faced with another chimney climb, but it would have to be done horizontal with the ground, a fall back to where I started to my right and on all of that the crack was one of those where you can just barely wiggle through. Being so close to the end I had no choice to go for it. I wiggled my way out there, kept my mind on that light I could see coming from the next climb and finally made it to the end! Once through the horizontal chimney climb of death I looked up to my glorious light shining through the next climb. Up I went. A pretty standard chimney style climb at this point, but once at the top the final hole is looking me in the face. The whole is again just big enough for me to shimmy through, but the scary part being the crack that ran all the way to the exit. Once stuffing myself into the hole I find myself 10ft. from the exit. With each half of my body on either side of a deep crack I wormed my way through the 10ft. Arms shaking, legs not responding to the desperate calls of my brain I pulled my body, drenched with sweat (Jacket?), caked with dirt (now mud) back into the world. Rebirth!

Friday, April 8, 2011

April Fools Day in Odessa

Every April 1st in Odessa Ukraine a huge celebration is held throughout the city. Humorina is the name and is Ukraine’s way of celebrating April Fools day. The day is filled with carnival type activities such as a parade, carnival food, carnival games, concerts, dancing, and great people watching.

I left Chisinau on April 1st at 5:50 am with Ross heading south east on a full bus full of people who I assume were headed to Odessa for the same reason. Our plan was to get there and meet up with my lovely girlfriend Irina and her friends who had left the night before on a bus which we thought was going through Transnistria, a big no-no for Peace Corps Volunteers. However we found out after alternate tickets were purchased for Ross and I that their bus did not go through Transnistra so we all were separated from the beginning. We planned on using Ukrainian sim card to call each other, but that was put to a stop when neither of the cards worked. So we planned on meeting at Ross and I’s bus stop at 11 am.

The ride there was rather uneventful apart from the ridiculously large number of times we stopped to pick people up from the side of the road. We arrived in Odessa at 11:30 and immediately began the search for our other group. However, we realized very early that nobody was there to meet us and we should begin our search for the party. We decided that a map would surly help us find the city center, but upon inspection of the maps we were unsuccessful in finding one in the right alphabet. So we began our lost march into the city. If you ever watched the T.V. show Home Improvements growing up you will know that men have metal buggers and therefore can feel in their nose which way they should go when lost. I remembered from a map I looked at before going that if I turned left while leaving the bus station we would be going towards the water. So we turned left. We walked up hill for about 20 min and were unsuccessful in finding any sign of a party. I happened to notice a paper taped to the window of a local business that was in English, so we took a chance and entered hoping for an English speaker. We were pleasantly surprised to find the business employed people from all over the world and like any traveler knows that everyone in the world know English. We asked for directions to the celebration and found that our metal buggers had led us in the right direction. Once we followed the directions we found the parade without any trouble.

The parade was pretty cool as you can see from the picture. I was not able to pinpoint an exact theme, but I think that’s what the point was. After the parade was past us we decided to try to find some of Ross’s friends that were also in town. They told us that they were at the Potemkin Stairs and to just ask someone where they were. This advice didn’t help at all because as many of you can imagine, we don’t speak Russian or Ukrainian. So, again we began our lost march into the depths of the celebration hoping we were going in the right direction. Ross being his observant self saw a mother daughter combination with a map. Using our awesome logic skills we decided that they were tourists and may know English (remember everyone in the world knows English). However, they knew 0 English and ended up running from us. So there we were again, lost, when a group of girls about 17 or 18 years old approached us. The alpha girl stuck her face very close to Ross’s and said “Can we help you?” Ross of course said yes and showed them the text explaining were we needed to meet. They talked among themselves a moment and then the Alpha turned to us and said, “Come with us”. We all formed a line and continued into the mass of people in the city center. After about 10 mins of walking they stopped turned to us and said we are there. After a little small talk with them they told us they were going to find some friends so we thanked them and sent them on their way.

At the steps we easily found Ross’s friends and began making out plans for the rest of the day. We decided to walk through some of the city with a local guy they had already met. We made our way around a few blocks where the crowd was not very thick and saw a few historical buildings. We ended up at the Odessa Hotel which is located at the bottom of the Potemkin Stairs out on a large pier. A side note about the Odessa Hotel is that it is the exact same building, with exception to color, as the Presidential Residency in Chisinau. It is like taking the white house, painting it blue, moving it to France and calling it the national hotel of France. After we looked at the boats docked and walked about to get pictures we headed back up the hill to a restaurant to eat. We were taken to a cafeteria style restaurant where you pick your food from under heat lamps, not really what I was hoping for in a meal from another country, but it was cheap and I got a lot of food.

After lunch we decided to just wander around the celebration and experience the party. As we walked down a path I looked to my right and see this crazy attractive girl running down the road chasing someone. Obviously this crazy attractive girl was my girlfriend and I stepped in front of her, momentarily scaring her, but then jumped into my arms in a very corny romantic scene from the movies. After the introductions to my new friends we walked to the other Moldavians that we were supposed to meet earlier in the day. After some talk I realized that Irina and her friends only waited till 11:15 for our bus to arrive. I’m not sure why another 15 minutes of waiting would have been the end of the world, but it is okay. We met, we walked, we talked, we arranged for Ross and I to ride on a different bus home, and then Irina and I left to walk through some more of the celebration. We ate cotton candy and watched a little of a concert before we had to walk back to the busses and prepare for what would be the worst bus ride I have taken in my life.

Let me set the scene. The bus was full with exception to 3 seats and one fold down seat next to the driver. Guess who was nominated to sit next to the driver? Me! This seat had just enough room for me to sit sideways in and even then my legs were pinned to the dashboard of the bus. The bus driver assured me that the seat was way to unconformable to have 2 people in so I would have the seat to myself the whole trip. As we left I tried to fall asleep for a bit before we got to the first border crossing. I think I was successful in sleeping for about 20 minutes when we reached the first border. Because we left Odessa with a convoy of about 50 tour busses you can imagine the wait at each border was long! This is an oversight that I will never make again. We waited at the border of Ukraine for about 2 hours until we made it through. The bus then sped into the night with not stops in mind! Until 1 mile down the road we reached the Moldova border and had another 2 hour wait ahead of us! So we sat, listened to music, talked (not me because the Moldovan girl we were with told the driver I didn’t speak Romanian, so therefore was treated as def mute the whole trip), and tried not to go crazy. When we reached the building where we need to get our passports stamped and bus checked for bombs, Mexicans, and drugs, the other bus driver came from his sleeping box located directly under my fold down seat. He left the bus and came back with a guy about my age, drunk, and VERY dirty. He then told the other driver that this guy would be sitting next to me for the rest of the trip back to Chisinau. The driver that was currently driving tried to put up a fight for me, but lost the battle in the end.

So off we go down the road at 3 am. The first hour or so was okay. I sat on my corner of the seat and tried to sleep. As you can imagine I didn’t get much sleep, but the guy next to me slept like a baby with his head resting on the dashboard. At about 4 am I was just drifting off into a dream land when I feel a head resting on my shoulder. Without thinking I pushed this guy off me and then was blindsided with a punch to the back! I couldn’t believe I had just been punched! The driver saw this and started yelling at the guy and threw the guys bag at him and told him to put his head on that. After about half an hour Irina called me to tell me she was home. This phone call woke the guy up just enough to try to sleep on me again. So mid conversation I feel his head on my shoulder again and again I took his head and threw it to the other side of the seat, turned to finish my conversation, but then received repeated blows to my back not from the guys fist, but head! I took my phone from my ear grabbed his head again and yelled something like, “Dude! What’s wrong with you! STOP”. After a few more heads to my back the bus driver was half way off the road trying to fend the guy off of me. After the driver threatened to kick him of the bus he stopped and fell right back asleep. The rest of the trip was pretty quiet except for one more attempt to sleep on me, but after I threw his head off the window to his right he stopped.

Once in Chisinau I left the bus, walked about 2 blocks in the cold spring air and then decided I had suffered enough on the way home to walk half an hour in the cold, so we got a taxi. At Peace Corps I tried to get some sleep before people started showing up, but that was short lived because it was 6:30 am and people started coming to the office at 7 am.

The End!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Hello all,

I have returned from the Holy Land aka. Israel! This has been my second trip from Moldova and was amazing! In this post I am going to be posting a few of my favorite pictures along with some commentary.

First things first though I need to throw a special thank you out to Ohad Benjamin Sternberg. This man busted his ass for 12 of his bestest of friends to plan the best vacation that any of us have ever had. So thank you very much sir.

First Picture!

Katie McNabb!!! In all her glory. There is talk going around that there may in fact be a whole album dedicated to pictures such as these catching her in all of her glory. I have many more pictures just like this which captures the beauty of this wonderful ginger.

In this picture I stand where Jesus, yes Jesus, was baptized! Only the Jordan River is all. While we were here there were roughly 100 Japanese people in white taking their turn to pay and be baptized. It is really sad how touristy of a place this has become. You walk into a gift shop upon entrance to the site after which you walk onto a patio with a restaurant, area to buy your white robe to be baptized in, and a changing area. I assume that if Jesus were being baptized today he might not choose this location to be baptized in.

Not much to say here except that I had never picked an orange from an orange tree until now! Although, the oranges in Israel were very sour. It may had just been the time of year.

In my opinion most Moldovan girls have the exact same pictures in their facebook pages. This is one of a whole series that I took on a nature walk. I want to be perfectly clear that if you are a girl from Moldova and have one of these pictures don’t be sad! I still think your beautiful!

In this picture you can see a huge white building. Although, it’s not a building at all! It’s a tent. Throughout the country they had greenhouses that would make my partners drool! This particular green house contains banana trees.

The Moldovan roll! I had to take advantage of the warm weather to practice my Moldovan roll. The roll is perfected by the Moldovan people in the summer however one must have a larger belly to keep ones shirt up allowing the sun’s rays to bronze ones belly. I will be sporting this roll in the upcoming summer regardless if I don’t have a manly belly. I can do one better a sport all of my manly belly hair.

This picture was taken in a city called Acco. It was probably my favorite city that I went to. We arrived here just before sunset and were able to eat and then head to the sea side to watch the sun set. The weather was perfect; people were outside having a good time, and made me really look forward to watching the sun set over Romania this summer.

This picture is of some really cool crosses that were carved in the stone walls of Jerusalem. The crusaders apparently carved them. There were areas of the city where whole walls were covered in them.

The valley of death: The dead travel down this valley to reach hell…

Katie McNabb drank 10 diet sprites a day

Everyone has got a little captain in them. This is not only a great picture because we are doing the captain, but as you can see there was something down below us sparking an interest. Notice Nkosi and Sam’s lack of interest in the picture.

This is us covered in mud! If you take time to really look at this picture you can see how ridiculous we were all acting. If you look closely you can see that I am sporting a 6 pack of mud. If the world only knew that one bath in the Dead Sea and you instantly become swole!

If you look closely you can see Saudi Arabia in the distance. This was the first trip across the Red Sea for the captain of our sea bearing vessel and he didn’t quite know where to dock. Therefore we went just a little too far and ended up in Saudi Arabia and were headed off by a Jordanian military boat that proceeded to escort us to our correct port in Jordan.

Funny story: Our captain was in the dock for a total of 15min after we left and threw a used cigarette in the water and was therefore fined $700. So in one morning our captain went in Saudi Arabia water and was fined $700 for something very small! It is safe to say he had a no good terribly bad day.

This picture was taken at Petra. It’s cool because it shows how the people living here carved gutters to collect rain water that flowed off the cliffs. The water would run down hill to the main area of the city.

Indiana Jones anyone? Our tour guide made us line up against a side of the cliff in a single file line to see some cliff formations of spiders and alligators, but when he tried to point them only one of us could see them. He then proceeded to tell us to turn around revealing the “treasury”. This is the most famous building in Petra and I’m sure all of you have seen it in Indiana Jones. Funny thing is it’s not really a treasury at all, but a tomb.

All the holes in the rocks are homes of citizens. Fun fact they were also tombs. That’s right the people lived with their dead. I’m sure they were sealed up, but still… I don’t know that I would want my dead relatives rolling out of their graves and falling on me in the middle of the night.

This is me in my awesome garb at the royal tomb over looking all of my subjects. “One day Simba…. All this will be yours.”

Doing my best Moldovan squat. My knees don’t bend all the way so it makes this move a little more uncomfortable looking than the Moldovan people make it look.

Well there you have it. A taste of Israel and all the fun we have had. Just another shout out to all the people who helped plan this trip. And look at me go! 2 posts in 2 days!!!! Word!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Change? Shit is guess change is good for any of us.

Hello all,

I have decided to write down a few things that I find interesting about myself now that I live in a far far away land. This morning I was sitting on my bed drinking my 2 cups of coffee and watching my one episode of Dexter before I get out of bed and get swollen working out with my tension bands in my room and it occurred to me that my daily behaviors have changed a lot now that I am here.

1- In the States I would eat because I was bored or lazy. Now I don’t eat because I am too lazy to walk my lazy ass down the road two blocks to buy food. As you might imagine this new behavior has lost me 20labs (lbs. but more fun to say labs). My snacks in the State included waking up at 11 PM and driving to a gas station for a Dr. Pepper and a bag of Nibs. Now my snacks include me rooting through my packages sent from home hoping with all my might that I missed a sucker, candy cane, or better yet a 1lab bag of skittles. Most of the time this activity ends up in disappointment, other times I find a stale yet satisfying Sees’ sucker.

So I have made a decision! From now on I need to start eating all day everyday if I am going to gain any of my weight back. I am going to become the most ghastly, repulsive, disgusting pig a Moldovan has ever seen and with time I will gain my 20labs back and arrive at my glorious, handsome, bigger self.

2- Sharing. I love to share now. I do it all the time! Back home I hated it! I always thought to myself… go get your own bag of Nibs! Now with a little behavioral conditioning from the very generous Moldovan people I find myself leaving work to get something to eat to get me through the gap between lunch and dinner, which can sometimes be 8 hours, and returning with 50 lei worth of Snickers bars for everyone that works in my office. It actually brings me joy because when I share with people they will actually pretend to understand my Romanian. Most of the time I can see exactly what they are thinking when I am rattling off long strings of non-comprehendible Romanian, “What?” “Who is this kid?” “He can’t be Moldovan” “If I just smile and nod he will stop” “Why did I engage him?” “How does he not understand the difference between dative and accusative?” just to name a few thoughts that go through people’s heads.

So! The moral of this story is, if you share in another country people want to talk to you.

3- I have learned that regardless of how long, cold, or how much snow there is in a winter I always hate it! I constantly have to remind myself that it’s not Moldova’s fault. I don’t hate my life in Moldova I hate my life in winter in any country. Spring is on its way here (that’s what I’m told anyway) and when it does come I will revert back to sickeningly positive self. As of now though I keep my winter face, coat, boots, and scarf on, close my eyes and hope that when I open them the ice, mud, freezing temperatures, grey, and snow will be gone!

Finally I would just like to mention that I just returned from Israel and will be posting pictures/links to pictures on here along with some explanation….. Maybe…

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Well, it’s been a few days since I have written here so I thought I would give my 12 followers a quick update, even if 11 of my followers I talk to on a regular basis.

When I last wrote I had just experienced a devastating storm here that destroyed homes, tree, and crops. The local grape crop was destroyed which meant that much of the house wine that is so popular in Moldova couldn’t be made.

Since then I have been working on a project with a lady that I work with on a daily basis. Her name is Tatiana and without her I would not be able to speak a word of Romanian. She is one of the only people who has conversations with me that go past the point of my everyday conversations that I have with my host family and random people. The project involves what is called a Rocket Mass Heater (check it out here I will be putting this heater in a greenhouse to extend the growth period of different vegetables. The heater is 5 times more efficient than a normal wood burning stove and because it is so efficient the only exhaust from the heater is steam and small amounts of CO2. I have written up a PCPP application to get this project funded. Although the total cost is only about ~$480. If anyone is interested in donating to my project you can go here:, but not yet because it won’t be there, but keep an eye out! If you are in the States reading this… ask my parents because my whole application will be sent to them. You can look at all the details there.

As far as legitimate work goes…. that’s about it. Suzette and I have our Debate Club that we took over from another Volunteer who now lives in Chisinau. It’s only once a week though so it doesn’t provide much work. It is however one of the things I look forward to every week because I get to hang out with some of the smartest kids that I have ever been around. They all know English very well and are able to debate on topics that would stump many kids in the States. And they do this in ENGLISH!

Some of my aspirations for the near future include, a basketball team because there is a brand new gym in one of the schools here in Leova, another basketball team in another school here in Leova, but for a younger group of kids, organization of a basketball league in which these teams can compete during the winter months, and a computer training project that Katie McNabb and I want to do because the MS Office programs are not being used to their full potential in our organizations.

In 10 days I will be off on my first real vacation of my Peace Corps experience. Suzette and I are going to Berlin, Germany. I have been counting days down to this vacation since I bought my plane ticket. We are going to Berlin especially because of the Christmas markets that are famous during Christmas. I have done a little research on what exactly is involved in these markets and I have determined that basically the whole city is covered in Christmas. There will be a 4,000 sq ft market set up in front of a castle and that will be just one of the markets. Here is a video that can do a whole hell of a lot better job explaining that I can.

Another high point of this trip will be the FOOD! We plan to eat Mexican, Chinese, I’m sure German, and much much more! I would for sure say that I am most excited for Mexican though, it won’t be La Hacienda, but it will do!

Friday, September 3, 2010

The perfect storm....s

Hello anyone?
I thought I would give a quick update of somethings have have happened in the last week.
On Tuesday August 31st a very large storm hit Leova, knocking trees over that we 2ft. in diameter, killing power, and water for over 24 hours. Many houses were damaged due to the strong wind and....trees falling on them, and devastated all of the frumos decorations form the weekends holidays.
This particular clip, which yours truly took, made it on NATIONAL news! Yeah I'm famous NBD!

A few days later while I was hanging out at Suzette's apt. eating really thin pancakes it started raining incredibly hard and I was able to get this video of the aftermath.

And here are a few random pictures that I took on my way home from eating really thin pancakes.