Buna ziua! (good day!) As I type this we are finishing our first Monday at our PST (Pre-Service Training) site. We are having a wonderful time with our host family. Their home is beautiful and they are more than generous. I will be somewhat limited on details regarding our PST city or our host family because of security recommendations given by the Peace Corps so I apologize if you want more in-depth information. We had heard that Moldovan families are generous hosts and I can tell you with absolute certainty that my experience confirms these rumors. I am always offered more food than I can eat (all of it very delicious, and my host mother is very considerate of my vegetarian diet) and there is always an offer to refill my glass with homemade wine. The homemade wine is another tradition for Moldovan families, and our host family definitely represents this custom well. On our first night they asked whether we wanted vin blanc or vin negru and I chose vin negru (red wine, though it actually translates to black wine) and it has been a delightful addition to every dinner since then, though I am curious to taste the white wine as well. We had been warned that families can be generous by ensuring that your glass is never empty, but our family is very respectful of my weak American tolerance and that for me one glass este sufficient (is enough).
One food that is served daily is placenta. Don’t worry, it’s pronounced pluh-chent-uh, so no pregnant women are harmed in the making of this meal. The best way to describe it is that it’s similar to a scone, though it is filled with goat cheese and dill. I’m sure there’s more to it, but it’s always very good. Other variations are filled with cabbage or potatoes. Fresh vegetables and some fruit are also usually present because although not all families have farms, everyone has land that is for a large garden, including many chickens for fresh eggs and meat. Because of this, all Moldovans are able to eat very well in spite of their reputation as the least financially capable nation in Europe. You definitely wouldn’t think so if you met the people or had a meal with them. They do not have large sums of money, but they don’t seem to need it either because they are very wealthy in terms of family and food.
We will try to post updates as often as possible, but our nearest internet access is at the şcoală (school) which is a 10-15 minute walk away. I apologize for the spattering of Romanian in this post, I am trying to keep the language on my mind to help me learn it better. Noapte Buna! (Goodnight!)