Winter Update

I’ve been bad at updating this lately, so let’s just pretend this is all I’m going to write until springtime comes. Then we’ll all be pleasantly surprised if I write anything sooner. If you have anything specific you want to know about, leave a question in the comments, and I’ll respond with a post.
I hope you all had very happy holidays. It was very strange here because we were not with family and could not attend our normal Christmas family gatherings. In fact, we spent Christmas day on a train to Istanbul. After two long days of traveling by train (we all agreed later flying is worth the cost), we made it. We spent four wonderful days in Istanbul and saw everything from the Hagia Sophia to a movie in English. We told ourselves it was okay to see movies and order pizza because we were weren’t just traveling, we were on a break from Peace Corps. We also spent a few days in Izmir, Selcuk, and Cannakale. I uploaded all the pictures to Flickr and Facebook, so you can check out Istanbul, Ephesus, the Temple of Artemis, and Troy there. We had a great time traveling with our friends Emily and Michelle.
Coming back after two weeks left us wanting to travel more and missing some things that Moldova simply cannot offer. I thought what I would miss from America and other more developed countries were things like toilets and clean streets. Istanbul wasn’t perfect, but it was better than Moldova in these respects. But on this trip I realized I miss people smiling! Moldova has a very rich culture, and a lot of people laugh and joke, but not just on the street or with people they don’t know very well. I miss seeing people smile, and just optimism in general.
Christmas here was celebrated on January 7th (they still use the Julian calendar) with a big meal and a few of our host family’s friends and relatives. We also celebrated the saint’s day of our host dad’s namesake a few days later. That was actually a bigger party than Christmas. Their children Skyped from America, and it was fun to get to talk with them. And, it’s Moldova, so there was a lot of drinking and singing.
Honestly, the vacation was welcome because I’ve been having a difficult time here lately. Moldovan kids are a lot like American kids, and my biggest problem right now is maintaining interest and motivation in the classroom. A language is a difficult thing to learn, and it takes a lot of independent effort. These students think their future is already mapped out for them, and there honestly aren’t a lot of opportunities for them in Moldova. Convincing them to put in the effort has been very difficult, and I’m not sure I’m cut out to do it. I don’t blame them. I blame a difficult system that sets students up for failure by not letting them fail, and I blame myself for not having the right kind of personality for this work. So, that’s why these past few months have been hard. And I miss Emo and my family. And Tim misses Chipotle.


Author: Bre

I am in motion and in transition right now. I married Tim Knoll less than a year ago, and we recently applied to The Peace Corps. I work as a freelance journalist.

3 thoughts on “Winter Update”

  1. Nice to know that you miss your family and Emo and Tim misses…..Chipolte! Ha! Just kidding. It does sound tough. Especially when the goals are so tough to attain. But on a small scale it’s kind of like dealing with my mom. Even though she doesn’t remember I’ve been there, it matters for the moments I’m there, and that makes it worthwhile.
    So…do people smile in Turkey? It just sounds so weird that people rarely smile in Moldova. At least not in public. That WOULD be depressing. Especially in the winters when the weather isn’t so great. The pics are great from the trip! Start planning the next one!

  2. Sorry about the students(that was a nice name for them)being so difficult but I guess you have to realize little Breyanna cannot change what the teachers in the past has accepted. Just know we love you and miss you as well.

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