Archives for the month of: March, 2011

Spring has come, and we couldn’t be happier. It’s time for planting, working outside, cleaning up, playing frisbee, going on walks, and opening the windows. I love spring.

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After learning about the importance of maintaining good personal hygiene, the girls in the puppet theater club came up with a script to present to the kindergartners on the topic. They talked about the importance of washing our hands to prevent sickness and the importance taking care of our teeth by brushing and eating fruits and vegetables instead of candy. The girls were definitely nervous, but they did a great job, and the kindergartners were a pretty easy crowd. Because LDS Charities funded our project, we invited the missionaries to the presentation. It was really sweet because after the performance, the girls kept asking if it “made an impression” on them. I think everybody had a good time, and the girls learned some things to improve on for the next performance (4 weeks away!).

Curt (along with 40 Orthodox saints) celebrated his birthday on March 22. For his birthday breakfast we had french toast with orange maple whipped cream, and then he opened presents from his family. Curt’s mom sent a German chocolate cake mix and frosting, so we made sure to have that as his birthday cake. We had a lot going on that day, so we prepared a lot of the food the day before. We had a missionary couple from the LDS church in the village to see our puppet theater club, which they funded, preform their first theater production (more to come!), so they attended Curt’s birthday dinner as well. The masă consisted of mămăligă, brînza de oiae, eggs, meat, sarmale, dates stuffed with smoked walnuts, greek salad, and pajoale de post. Happy Birthday, Curt!

While the girls in my health club were learning about personal hygiene and coming up with a puppet theater production on the topic to present to the kindergarten, the principal and some of the school staff were building the puppet theater stage. I drew up a little design of how I wanted it to look, bought the materials with the missionaries who funded the project, and the stage was finished a few months later. It was so nice of them to put so much work into the stage, especially on their busy schedules. I offered to help so many times; I’m not sure if there refusal was a result of their generosity or my gender.

E is the village librarian, and one of her duties is to help the kindergartners become more acquainted with the library. A while back she organized a production for them. Some of the fourth graders played the parts of certain childhood story characters (like Cinderella and Little Red Riding Hood) and acted out a play encompassing about six or seven different stories. It turned out really cute, and yet again, all the lines were memorized without error.

E’s brother (S) who is a veterinarian owns a cow. I had never milked one, so I told L and E that would be something I would like to do in Moldova. The next week we were invited over for dinner and cow milking. The cow birthed a calf about a month ago, so with the calf on one side and me on the other, I learned how to milk a cow. I didn’t milk as much as S because I got nervous every time the  cow moved even an inch, almost dropping the pale from between my legs. And no, it didn’t help that S kept screaming to not be scared. The cow could definitely tell someone inexperienced was trying to learn on her, and I don’t imagine that’s the most comfortable feeling.

They make fresh cheese with the milk by pouring it in jars, letting it sit for a few days to sour, wrapping it in a cheese cloth, and then storing it to turn to cheese. When it is warmer it only takes about three days, but during the winter it an take up to three weeks.

Moldova (and Romania) celebrates the first day of spring on March 1st. On this day, students and co-workers adorn each other with mărțișori (these little decorations). It’s a great little tradition, and next year I’ll come prepared.

I arrived to school last week to find students wound all around the school in a line. All the girls had their heads covered, and I could hear a priest singing. As I found my way to the beginning of the line, I saw that the priest was chanting or singing all the names of the students and faculty. The participant would kneel, put her head to the floor, do the sign of the cross, and then repeat this two more times. Then she stood up, did the sign of the cross, kissed one part of the icon, and repeated this once more kissing the other part of the icon. Then she put money in the bowl and walked under the icon.

It was later explained to me that members of the Orthodox religion believe in present-day miracles. When participating in religious acts like this, one is to think of a need or a problem they have, and according to their faith, the need will be met or the problem will be solved. These religious acts cannot be performed by a priest, only a călucă. A călucă is a priest at the monastery. He cannot marry or have a family and is to spend all day in prayer.