Thursday, April 24, 2014

Pete's Trip to Moldova

Pete spent last week back in Moldova and had all sorts of adventures, but since he’s already back to work and spending his male-limited words on things like “econometrics” and “socioeconomic climate,” so I’ve decided to go ahead and summarize his trip for him.  We are one flesh after all – as he often likes to remind me.  And we Skyped several times, I’ve seen the pictures and videos… I’m pretty much an expert.

So, without further ado, here are the highlights of Pete’s Third Trip To Moldova:

After hours of travel (that will never seem too hard compared to The First Trip to Moldova which involved traveling with squirmy, whiny boys), he arrived in his rented apartment, where he enjoyed silence for the first time in months.  He also enjoyed the views of the city:

Then, after catching up on some work and grabbing some dinner at one of his old favorite places, he enjoyed some sleep.

The next day he arranged to meet our good friend Tania and her new baby!  She, ever the hospitable Moldovan, made him way too much food, including two big platters of blini, one filled with meat and one filled with nuts and sweet cream.

Since Tania spent so much time with us two years ago, and we watched the romance blossom between her and Maxim, and then witnessed Maxim's baptism, we feel very close to them!  When Pete got to walk Tania down the aisle at their wedding a couple years ago, it felt like family.  So now Pete feels like a.... grandpa??

As we traveled around Chisinau, he took a few photos to show us what had changed and what was still the same...
.... and they're still parking their cars on the sidewalks!
 He also went to visit the Owens and "our" old house.  And our former foster dogs!

Before his trip, he was contacted by the NC Secretary of State's office to see if he would take some materials over to a school there.  Pete was happy to oblige -- and was pleasantly surprised to find out it was the one elementary school we had actually been to in Chisinau!  Tania and Maxim's church meets there on Sundays, so we had visited a couple times.

Anyway, when he arrived at the classroom, the kids were all ready for him and treated him like a rock star! They gave him gifts, sang him songs, and were soooo grateful.

The main reason Pete was in Chisinau was to give a couple of talks. One was for the university that he taught at originally and one was sponsored by the American Embassy and was for teachers in Chisinau.  He spoke about developed economies, namely the United States, and ways to more effectively engage students in the classroom.

He didn't take any pictures of these events, though.  :)

A secondary purpose to his trip was to visit some of the projects that Moldova World Children's Fund has been sponsoring.  One of the newer projects is a place called Guiding Star, started by an ambitious young woman who had a child who died from disabilities.  This new center is a place where she and other volunteers teach disabled children after school.  Pete enjoyed meeting them all.

As you can see below, this building is in sore need of repairs and fixing up.  Currently it has no working restrooms, so installing one is a top priority.

Once again he was happy to see that MWCF is giving money to people who need it, and lives are being changed.

Speaking of MWCF, he also visited the tuberculosis kindergarten/orphanage where we replaced all the windows and doors. Visiting Liuba, the director, is always one of the highlights of traveling back to Moldova.

She always gets all teary and is sooo grateful.  This time she had the kids do a little dance for Pete, too!

A couple of other highlights were visiting with a former student from his time teaching at the Academy of Economic Studies, a town hall Q&A with four U.S. Senators who were there to discuss the situation in Ukraine and the Russian agenda, and visiting with the professors he gotten to know over the years.

4 U.S. Senators, all with "John" in their names

His last night in Moldova was spent having dinner with several of our missionary friends that we got to know two years ago.  It was great to catch up with them and to meet the one we hadn't met yet-- Miles, this bundle of joy below.

One other notable thing I'll point out is that Chisinau continues to be a Land of Running Into People We Know.  When we were there years ago, we kept being surprised by how often we would see someone we knew in the city.  Considering how few the people were that we knew, and how many people there are in the city at large, it seemed odd how often that happened.

This trip was no exception.  On THREE different occasions Pete ran into someone he knew without planning to!  He doesn't seem nearly as shocked by this as I am.... but he does tend to be less exclamatory in life in general.  So, since I am the one recording this account, I will go ahead and include multiple exclamation points anyway!!

Finally Pete wended his way home to us.  We were thrilled to have him back -- and the stockpile of our favorite Moldovan candy he imported to the U.S.!!

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