Over the last few months, I’ve had a lot of people ask me about the weather here in Moldova. For someone who hails from Indiana, this is a question one should expect to answer daily, if not multiple times a day. (Hoosiers spend a lot of time talking about the weather. The facts being that Indiana can have a day of all four seasons and even recently, within one week, the temperature had a nearly 60 (16C) degree swing.

With that in-mind and as Punxsutawney Phil recently made his prediction of an early spring, I hesitantly have decided to share my experience of my first winter in Moldova. Most of the cold and all of the snow is behind us here *knock on wood* and with the days becoming ever longer, I figure this might be the perfect time (outside of the August heat) to talk about winter.

Temperature

The best I can describe it is that Moldova has weather and temperatures similar to (Detroit) Michigan. I searched in vain to find what the current average for the last few months have been, but I couldn’t find such data (or none that I could verify were for the most recent time frame) What I did find is below. I remember many days it felt tremendously colder.

The average temperatures of Chisinau per month.

Even though it has felt quite a bit colder than what I’m used to in southern Indiana, I would argue that the wind and bite have not been as bad here. I walk more outside here than when I was in my hometown. I usually get a nasty cough during the winter, but it has yet to show itself and I’ve remained healthy thus far this winter. I know that doesn’t necessarily have to do with temperature, but an interesting correlation.

My route to work.

Work-Life Balance

Winter in Moldova slowed down work around the house (specially outside and in the garden), but that allowed for jobs to pick up the new free time and keeps people busy. Looking at civil servants, since these are the individuals I deal with the most, it seems that work has picked up quite a bit. For me, I’ve gotten quite busy myself, what with planning events for the library and working with my partner to start planning our project (and of which I will be going to the capital for a workshop).

Of course, this time of year brings about many holidays, from 2 Christmases, 2 New Years (St. Vasile Day), and many other celebrations, many people take a few days off here and there to celebrate.

A Christmas tree display in the capital at one of the Christmas Markets.

Snow & Sun

From my understanding by other volunteers, Moldova usually does not get the amount of snow that has befallen us this year. At least, normally it does not all fall so close together. Despite having what could easily have been well over a foot of snow fall within a few short days, right now, there is no snow left on the ground. I have a feeling there will still be more snow to fall, but I don’t think much will stay around. For about two weeks, there was a time I would wake up every morning to fresh snow on the ground. It did make for a some what magical experience, even if I had to trek a mile in it.

On average, Chisinau gets around 1.6 inches of precipitation for the four months of November, December, January, and February, with precipitation falling for 12 days each month. On average, this feels about right from what I have experienced. There were definitely more days with gray skies than that, but now in February, the snow has been shinning and it feels like spring is just around the corner.

According to one weather site I was on, the average amount of sunshine was 3 hours a day (with the rest of the light hours being cloudy and gray). Even if this wasn’t true, many days felt like that.

The benefit of the sun setting so early allowed me to catch amazing sunsets on my way home.

Winter has been enjoyable, with sledding, family gatherings, and lots of food and snow. I’ve not enjoyed the ice (and now mud), my host mom slipping on ice and breaking her arm (she is much better now!), or the new pot holes in the road, but I’ve been able to capture some amazing photos of this winter (Gallery below-click on one to enlarge).

If you have any specific questions about winter in Moldova, ask away in the comments below.

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