August 9, 2018
I have on week left of Peace Corps Training. Next Thursday, at approximately 3am Minnesota time, I will be sworn in as a Peace Corps Volunteer! (Barring any major or dramatic life events.) If you happen to be awake in the middle of the night Thursday, feel free to tune into the Peace Corps Moldova Facebook live stream to watch the whole event!
The last few weeks have been a whirlwind. I got sick for the first time with the always fun Giardia. Luckily each Peace Corps medical kit comes stocked with meds for this parasite so I was on the mend in a few days. I submitted my statement of commitment to our Country Director. I had my final interview with her to ensure I am ready for service. I’ve had a plethora of birthday parties and community events. We hosted a youth event to teach local you the harms of smoking. We organized a community wide trash clean up. We had our final tech sessions aka COD trainings. Next Tuesday, we will wrap it all up with our language proficiency exam.
PST has been exhausting. Emotionally draining. Physically tiring. Frustrating. Rewarding. Challenging. Intense. Successful. Full of growth opportunities. Exciting. Eye opening. Worth it.
While PST was all of that and more, it has been one of my favorite life experiences so far. I met some great friends who taught me patience, perseverance, and cooperation. Even though the stress of spending 60 hours a week together did make me want to kill them sometimes overall I love them dearly. I could not have made it through the stress of learning a new language and adjusting to a new job all while living in a rural village in a foreign country without our many venting sessions and ice cream breaks.
When I arrived in Moldova I only knew two words in Romanian – Da and Nu. (Yes and No). I now have intermediate proficiency! I can speak fluently with my host family about meals, activities and emotions. I can use public transportation and order food in a restaurant. I can discuss projects and future plans with my partner organization. I would not have gotten here without the love and support of our language instructors. They did not simply show up to teach us four hours of language everyday but were invested in our success. If we had a problem integrating, missed home, or just needed a hug they were there. I’ve always struggled with learning languages and this was my biggest fear when joining the Peace Corps. But for the first time I am excited for the chance to keep learning and expanding my language skills.
My host family has been warm, welcoming, and kind. They not only opened their homes to me but their hearts. Leaving the Brus house is what I am most sad and nervous about once PST ends. I’ll miss baking cakes with Mama Maria at 8pm on a Tuesday. I’ll miss conversations with my host sister while picking fruit in the garden. I’ll miss learning how to make wine and champagne from Tata Petru. I’ll miss our conversations about American culture, Moldovan traditions, and general life. I’ll miss our nightly dinners and morning teas. Even though I’m leaving their home, I know they will continue to be a huge part of my service. We already have plans for them to visit my permanent site and for my return to the village. They have gained an American daughter for life. I am so thankful they were my first set of Moldovan parents.
I am excited to get to my permanent site and start integrating with my community. I am ready to learn more about their needs and wants. I am ready to get to work. But I will also miss this unique experience for all the challenges it brought me.
Hopefully the next time you hear from me, I am an official Peace Corps Volunteer! Thank you for all your continued support and love. I would not be here without the encouraging messages and many FaceTime calls.
Love and hugs from Moldova,