Daniel belongs to a Facebook group here in Chisinau for expats. It is an amazing wealth of information. Looking for a latin dancing meet-up group? Desperately need an obscure cooking ingredient and can’t find it anywhere? Look no further than the Facebook group.
While perusing this group page, Daniel found information on a free concert put on by the Italian embassy…so we decided to go. It was at the “Filarmonica Naționala” in the center of the city. We took an American and a Moldovan friend with us, and we really enjoyed the classical music and the accompanying opera singers. It was interesting to us because in some ways a classical music concert is the same everywhere. At this event the average age was 65+, just as it seems to be in the states. The oboe tunes the orchestra…the conductor is just as intense and flourishy with his moves as ever. And yet, in true cross cultural form, some things were surprising and even annoying to us. For example, people applaud A LOT. The Italian Ambassador to Chisinau spoke at the beginning of the concert and there was applause after she finished each sentence or two in Italian, and then applause AGAIN after the translator finished in Romanian. We must have clapped a dozen times before she finished her 2 minute schpeel. And then the applause after each concert piece was IN UNISON. Every time. I kept forgetting if I was at a classical performance or at a barn dance. And being the individualistic American that I am, I refused to clap in unison with everyone else. I never would have survived communism. Speaking of which – I don’t know if you can tell but the venue itself was straight out of the eighties with wood paneling everywhere and old yellow velvet covering all the seats.
After the concert we went to a Christmas Market that had just opened for the season. After this experience it is clear to me why everyone loves these events so much worldwide. It was magical. Truly. Little houses selling spiced wine and freshly fried dough with fillings (placinte). Other little houses with souvenirs and gifts. Little babies in huge puffy snowsuits out with their parents. Live music. Carnival rides. And then so many lights glittering and flashing and twinkling everywhere. It’s too bad that Daniel and I are not photographers and that our camera of choice is our cell phones. I don’t think these pictures do it justice, but hopefully you will get just a little flavor of the fun we had.