This summer has absolutely flown by. The weather is still hot, the kids will be going back to school in less than two weeks, and all of us in Group 19 are approaching our one year anniversary. It is amazing to think that my service is almost half over, but as we say here “Viaţa merge inainte,” which means life goes on. I wanted to give an update over how my summer months were spent and a little bit about what will happen in the not to distant future.
I took a vacation in June and had the opportunity to see some amazing places that I had never been to before. My friend Becca and I took off on our 2 week journey and first took a bus from Chişinau to Bucharest. It was overnight and we arrived in the city at 4:30 in the morning. We took the 6 am train to Budapest and stayed three days there and took a boat ride on the Danube to visit a small town called Sventendre. We relaxed and took in the sites, climbed to the top of the Citadel fortress, relaxed in the natural hot spring baths that they have, and met some really great people. We then took a night train to Krakow, Poland, and we also were able to take a trip to Auschwitz Concentration Camp. It was an experience I will remember for the rest of my life. My parents told me that my Grandpa Fellows visited the camp shortly after it’s liberation, so that was special because it is something I didn’t know about him and is something I found out we also share. Krakow was beautiful and we were able to see a dragon cave and a fire breathing dragon (no, it wasn’t real…when Becca and I were planning our trip, it truly never occurred to us that it wasn’t real…yes, intelligent I know!), as well as some amazing churches. After a few days there, we then left on another night train to Prague. I have already been there, and for some reason it was almost like coming home. I 100% recommend Prague if you love to travel because you can find just about anything there. We stayed in Prague for about 5 days and spent time relaxing. We went paddle boating in Howard the Duck (it was this giant paddle boat on the Vltava River) a few days in a row and went back to some of our favorite sites (Becca actually lived in Prague for a month and she was just as excited to go back as I was). We visited a village called Kutna Hora where the entire interior is designed with human bones. During the plague of the 1300s, the cemeteries were overcrowded and starting to smell. There was then a man who decided to design the church using the bones of the dead…40,000 bodies in all. Creepy. I also saw Don Giovanni in a theatre, but using only puppets which made it really enjoyable and funny. Overall it was amazing. On our train rides, we went through some gorgeous countries and saw some amazing sceneries. Romania has some beautiful mountains in the north, Slovakia I only saw during the night and in the twilight but still seemed beautiful, and when we went through Ukraine, it really reminded me of Moldova, but with better roads. It was a great break before GLOW Camp that started in July, and I was rested up and ready to go.
For most of you who read my blog, you know that I was a Camp GLOW Director this past July. GLOW, or Girls Leading Our World, is for girls ages 14-17 who live in the country of Moldova. We had been preparing and planning, and had a very successful event. Around 100 girls from all areas of Moldova came to learn about health, life, and how to become a future leader for their country. Overall, it was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life and hope that the girls learned as much from me as a learned from them. I am so excited to get into planning next year’s camp and want to again thank all of you who gave us support for this spectacular camp.
August has been a good month so far. I have had a few trainings and meetings in Chisinau, so it has helped to mix up my work weeks and get me out on the road. I have a Language In-Service Training (the final one!) in Chisinau and am very excited to get to see everyone. We are all a very tight-knit group in Peace Corps and we have truly become life family to one another. It should be a great time.
That is all for now, and I wanted to leave a recipe for everyone, including other PCVs who read my blog. This one is not Moldovan, but a very simple easy sauce that most anyone can make at home pretty quickly. I dedicate this to all of the volunteers who are sick of eating ketchup on their noodles and miss good old pasta sauce. Here it is:
1 kg Tomatoes (preferably with the skins off and crushed)
1-2 large onions, Minced
3 Cloves Garlic (or more if you like garlic), Minced
1 Carrot, Minced
1 Tbs. Butter (optional)
Sauté onion and garlic together until soft (7-10 minutes), adding a little salt to help draw out the moisture and for seasoning purposes. Add carrot and sauté for an additional 5 minutes. When mixture is cooked well, add tomatoes and bay leaves (I use 4 or 5, but it depends on how much you like that flavoring). Add salt and pepper to taste, and put a lid over the top, allowing it to cook for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. After this has cooked, taste the sauce. If it seems acidic, add the tablespoon of butter to even the flavoring. If you are lucky enough to have a blender, add the contents into the blender and mix. If not (for example, PCVs), you can eat it as it is. This can be put in the freezer for up to 6 months. Pofta buna!!