So…yeah…what do we do exactly??

I realized recently that most of our blog posts are about big thoughts or feelings regarding life in general. But if any of you are like me, then you are thinking: WHERE ARE THE DETAILS? Are these yahoos just being pretend philosophers over in Moldova? Yes….perhaps we are….but we also find things to fill our schedule that we can easily quantify here.

So…almost three months in…this is how we spend our time.

Romanian Language Learning

I (Carolyn) found a phenomenal teacher that I have mentioned previously. In addition to the in-person sessions for 90 minutes on Wednesdays and Fridays, I also try to do self-study between lessons. The self-study usually takes up somewhere between 8-10 hours every week. I also consider reading books in Romanian and “watching” Romanian TV to be a form of studying (whether or not that is actually true).

My current round of “self study”

Volunteering

This is a big bucket of time for us. We are volunteering at a student center that was founded and is run by people Daniel knows from growing up in Texas. The student center aims to create a fun and safe place for university students to make friends and hopefully grow as people – interpersonally and spiritually. It should be noted that college life is much different in Chișinău than in the US. There really is no college culture here. Universities do not have the intramural sports, greek life, student associations or volunteer groups that seem to be everywhere on university campuses in the United States. For this reason, the student center seems to fill a need in Moldova.

At the beginning of the semester, we host a week of big, fun events to introduce new students to the center. [That would be this week FYI.] Then, for the rest of the semester, there are weekly “clubs” and other special events. The clubs available during the past fall semester were music, English, baking, social media, and women’s “tea time.” For the spring there will be an English club, a baking club, a fitness group for women, a volunteering club, and a professional “entrepreneurial” skills group. Any guesses as to which clubs Daniel and I will be leading?? Yep – fitness for me, entrepreneurial for him, and English for the two of us together. What this means is that we have spent much of January prepping for these clubs, and soon we will be putting all our plans to action. We will spend 8 hours at the center two days a week. During this time we will be leading the aforementioned clubs and also simply keeping the center open for students to have a place to come do homework, socialize, etc. More to come on whether these clubs end up being enjoyable….both for the students and ourselves.

Spending time with new friends

One of the hardest things about moving to a new place is friends. In my previous moves it seemed to take 6-9 months to start making TRUE friends. I expect it to be no different here, and in fact, probably more difficult because of the language and cultural differences. But that is not stopping us from a valiant effort. We keep trying to get plugged into the different circles in Chișinău to find our lunch table crowd. And on top of that, we also want to foster relationships with some of the students we have met. Don’t you all remember being a college student and missing being in a home with non-students? So for those students who live far from home, we want our apartment to be a place where they can relax, cook food, and be a part of a family – albeit weird, American, and small.

We went with another Moldovan friend to a “Made in Moldova” festival at the Expo Center. This was a cake on display there.
Also ice skating with a bunch of the college students!

The tasks of daily life

These last two categories are less interesting, but that does not make them less time consuming. Groceries can take an absurd amount of time. Although we love not having a car, it does mean that getting anywhere takes a while because it is either by foot or by trolleybus. In addition, there are very few one-stop shops here (like Target or Walmart), and therefore shopping means going multiple places….again….by foot or by trolley. Disclaimer: I’m not complaining about this. I am loving the slow pace. I think it’s great that you can’t schedule too many things in one day because you simply won’t get them all done. BUT….it hopefully explains a little bit where our time goes.

Keeping up with our American selves

Finally…we do spend a little bit of time maintaining our American personas. We obviously write blog posts for you – our tribe – to keep up with us. We pay bills. I am already totally dreading doing our taxes from this country; Daniel is weirdly super excited about it.

Oh. And I guess we travel sometimes, too. More to come on our next trip in a few weeks.