OK, so last time I left you all I was talking about well I really forget. See I write the majority of my emails and blog posts from my laptop at home, then upload them to the web from work (where we just got wi-fi). I know what you all are saying, how is he in the Peace Corps…well I wonder the same thing every once in a while, then the following events remind me. This post promises to be pretty random and pretty long so sit back and enjoy the ride.
First off, I have heard a lot of questions about costs and such, so I will indulge you. The Lei (means Lion in Romanian…HAHAHAHA) is about 13 to 1 against the dollar. A beer costs between 6 and 30 lei at a bar, and much cheaper in a magazine (corner store). Food runs the whole gambit depending on where you eat. A pizza is usually about 30- 40 lei, some meat usually runs 10 lei for 100 grams, Mustard is 7 lei a small container, a washing machine (small) is about 4,000 lei, fresh veggies from the bazaar usually cost 16 lei/Kg for clementine’s, 25 lei/Kg for tomatoes (right now), 5 lei/Kg onions, etc. It seems that people make around 300 USD on average a month. However, I really cant be certain of that b/c I live in the capital and everything is different. I feel that this is all variable depending on where you are in the country. I feel income is much less in the rurals, if there even is an income for many of the people. I have heard of people not being paid salaries for up to 6 months…and pensioners seem to have it hard to as there is always a constant garage sale in my complex with pensioners selling their belongings.
Everyday on the way to work I walk by the most beautiful Eastern Orthodox church which is one of the few that survived the Soviet era. The picture is below. At work, well I do all kinds of things…of which none really account to work for me. I read a lot of ecological policy books and pamphlets hoping to understand exactly what is going on with the Nistru River. I also check email, look for similar organizations in the west, etc. I also think of ways that I can create an ultimate Frisbee team here, and work with the UNHCR which I just found out operates in Moldova!
The Next section is intended for a mature audience, so if you have small children hide their eyes, or if you are around Doug Buckmaster…you know what I mean!
O.K. some interesting stories for you all (well really one funny one). I don’t recall if I mentioned that have a dog and a cat that live with us in the house. The dog’s name is Topa and cat is Mortia. Well the other day a friend of mine gave me quite a few Heresy’s Miniatures from the states. So freakin delicious. So I took them home and shared them with my fam, leaving a little hoard in my room for a rainy day. Well the next afternoon I came home to my dresser totally messed up, laptop strewn on the ground, papers everywhere…and I was like what the (expletive deleted)! So I let it go, assuming the dog got into everything. That night I couldn’t find the chocolate everywhere. I mean I had a hankerin for some dark chocolate followed by a savory Mr. Goodbar, (of which I had been thinking of all day)…and they were gone. All except on little piece of wrapper nearly hidden under the carpet…TOPA!!!!! DAMN YOU!!!!!
Well the next night I got my revenge, a little too well. As we all know chocolate and a dogs innards don’t mix so well. Well to say the least, even though I have seen this dog devour things that the most hardcore goat could not eat, and I mean a goat can eat a steel can for god’s sake – the chocolate won. As I was stepping out of my luke warm shower, towel around my waist hair in the most crazy style believable, heard from the other room GafFFF GAFFFF Choke Choke PFFFF PFFFFF whimper whimper….SPLLLLLLLLAAAAATTTTT. And well use your imagination on what exactly just went down. And if you don’t have one, I will help you.
The most rancid, foul, and all consuming smell began to emanate from the other room. I instantly felt like I needed another shower. I began to hear shrill screams in Russian, I think a baby somewhere started to cry, an old woman on the street actually died - I had to see for myself. Call it the fascination with the abomination, but I had to see if I had the last laugh in the great chocolate saga.
As I turned to corner (now dressed) I became light headed, vertigo set in, I had to brace myself on the frame of the door at the catastrophe that was the carpet in my host mom’s room unfolded before me. She looked up at me with eyes to say… what the (expletive deleted) am I supposed to do about this. Something that appeared to be the collection from the last three days of old coffee grounds from McDolands was sprayed all over the floor. I stood there eyes locked on the destruction one 35 lbs spaniel had created, and all I could think was "CJ dont make this worse by vomiting all over the place". Instantly we all sprung into action. Knowing what had to be done. No, not kill the dog, but rather kill the smell and clean the mess. I took the dog for a walk, Dima set in on the stain, mom set in on the smell. When I returned they knew the remedy…VODKA!
I was a bit taken aback, thinking if I had uncontrollable explosive diahreea the last thing I would want is 200 grams (about 4 shots) of vodka. Well I’l be dammed if they didn’t think it was a great idea. So my mom, got a eye wash bottle (one that I would have used, if per say, I had a HUGE JAGGED ROCK stuck in my eye, and filled that little guy up with vodka. Next, she went to the stale bread and deluged a heel (quite a large heel) in the Vodka and proceeded to give it to the dog with a loving and affectionate HA (NA Russian for here) that dog ate it like it was the last piece of filet mignon on earth. Dima, hitting me on the shoulder, said, "this is gonna get funny". (in russian of course)
So we waited, about 5 minutes passed and they were obviously not happy with the results, so the following chain of events took place. But one tid-bit before I describe these fateful circumstances. Topa is old, I mean really old. We are talking about approaching 15 years old. And for those who don’t know, that’s really old for a dog. On top of that, she can’t hear. I mean you could shoot a gun next to her ear and she would be snoring away like a Cowboys fan on Sunday. On top of that, she is blind. I mean more blind than if she was born without any eyes. This dog runs into everything…I mean everything. Andy Sall’s old dog was blind, but that dog knew where it was…this dog, god help it, no idea! OK so back to the story at hand.
She grabbed that dog by the collar, grabbed that eye douche full of vodka and put it right down Topa's throat. At this point I almost lost it between laughing, wanting to cry, feeling pity, etc. Well that dog took it for a good 30 seconds then was like…”OK that’s enough” and pulled away. My mother, seeming glad with the final outcome sat and waited. Not 30 seconds later the dog came out from under the table like a drunk walking out of a bar in Chicago on St. Pat’s day only to find it was noon and began shaking his head wondering what the hell just happened. With black Spaniel ears flapping side to side, and a little studder in her step…the booze began to set in. From this point forward it all went downhill quickly. The dog, cataracts and all began looking towards the heavens almost wondering if this was meant to be heaven seeing as “all dogs go to heaven”. She bean walking into everything (even more than before). But even worse, she would walk into something, back up, then run right back into it. I felt so bad I had to leave. Soon enough they took her to bed, and the next morning Voila! No more diarrhea. So what I have learned from this is, when your stomach hurts…get loaded on Vodka! Thanks Moldova!
OK, that’s it from my end of the world. Hope you have enjoyed this last three part edition of See Jays World.