Thanksgiving happened just a few days ago, and it was my first time being outside the country for this holiday. Every year, I celebrate with family, and even this year, that was still the case. This family was new to me and even a year ago, I’m not sure, I would have believed this is where I would be on Thanksgiving. Looking back this last year, I have much to be thankful for.
One year ago this week, I received my letter from the Peace Corps., telling me I had been invited to serve in Moldova. Many months and a dozen doctor visits later, I would officially get clearance to Moldova. And on Thanksgiving 2017, I announced to my extended family that I would be going into the Peace Corps. It was hard to tell everyone, especially since I worried when I would see them next. But through it all, I am so very thankful for my family. Every single one of them gave me encouragement, wanted to know more about Moldova and what I would be doing, and were excited for me. I’m sure there were many reservations, as would be expected, but during this time of year, I am extremely thankful for my family and their constant encouragement and love. I wish I could join them all in giving thanks, but know 2 years is not long, and I am so very thankful to have been given an amazing family.
If I wrote down all my blessings this year, it would be 100 pages long. A year ago, I could not have imagined being where I am today. I have gained new family and friends, and created memories to last a lifetime. My host mom recently made the comment that she now has 5 children; 3 girls (who are actually her children) and 2 boys (both of which are American Peace Corps Volunteers from Indiana). To celebrate
ziua recunoștintei (Thanksgiving), my host mom cooked turkey. Turkey is not a typical meat eaten in Moldova. Of course it is available, but this has been the first time I ate turkey since coming here. I am tremendously thankful for the consideration of my host mom to want to celebrate this holiday with me.
Additionally, I am thankful for my host dad. After thanksgiving dinner, I talk with my host father for over 2 hours. He dealt with my language struggles, and told me about his time in the marines. He has also introduced me to Russian words. He speaks both Romanian and Russian, but sometimes when he explains things, he will use Russian words. He always catches himself, but he has to stop and think what the Romanian equivalent is. My host father is a good example to continue studying Romanian and eventually learn a little Russian.
Looking back, I am very thankful I made the decision to become a Peace Corps volunteer, even with all the struggles and hardships and that fact that I’m over 5,000 miles from my American family. But had I not joined, I would not have met my host families (both my current family and my PST family), who have welcomed me with all my language struggles and my American personality quirks. This Thanksgiving I am especially thankful for these amazing human beings.
Here in Moldova, I have an amazing Program Director and Specialist who care so much for the community I work in and support me in the work I’m doing. I am thankful for my “government issued family” and everyone I have met during my time in PC Moldova. I can’t wait to see what the next year and a half have in store.
What are you thankful for? Let me know in the comments. As always, I’m thankful for you taking the time to read my posts. And as always, I hope you took time to enjoy a cup of joe.