Sunday, October 31, 2010

Since I can't go home for the holidays...

My mom has decided to send me a care package for the holidays in order to bring a little bit of upstate New York to Moldova.  Since sending boxes abroad can be really expensive, it makes sense for everyone to contribute items for one large shipment.  If you would like to contribute please send or drop off items to my parent's address by November 25, 2010: 3691 State Rte. 4, Hudson Falls, NY 12839-3707

If you don't want to send an item, but would still like to help out give Betty a call 518.281.0146.

Thanks for your contribution!  I know that I will really be missing home around the holidays.

Calling all teachers!

Do you want your students to know and understand a new culture?  Do you need a contact to open the door to cultural exchange?  I have the key for you!  Sign up for this incredible information exchange program with current Peace Corps volunteers!!! 

I am currently working with a wonderful teacher in Newport, NY.  Through our email correspondence I am able to bring an entirely new culture into their classroom discussions.  Through photos, videos and chronicling daily tidbits of my life in Moldova.  I am able to open the minds of young students in the United States through my experiences here in Moldova.  I hope you take advantage of this incredible opportunity to bring the world to your classroom.

Peace and love,


Chronicle your own family's history and share it with the world!

The mission of The Grannie Annie contest is: “to celebrate family stories, foster an interest in history, and nurture the writing skills of young people”.  I think that this is a great opportunity students around the world to share their stories.  

If you are a student in U.S. grades 4 through 8, or a homeschooled or international student 9 through 14 years of age, you are eligible to participate in The Grannie Annie's annual writing contest. You are invited to interview a family storykeeper and write about something you learn from your family’s history. Then share your story with your family, school, and community . . . and with The Grannie Annie!
Who are the storykeepers in your family? Ask them about your grandparents and great-grandparents, your parents, aunts, and uncles. Ask about their daily lives, their adventures, their joys, and their sorrows. Your story can be humorous, tragic, or inspirational. It can be a story of courage, adventure, or anything you find interesting about your family’s past. 

You can find all necessary information about registration, deadlines, and requirements at the following website:

Where I've Been...

Friday, October 29, 2010

Halloween... not my favorite holiday.

I find Halloween to be a lot like Valentine's day.  Another money making holiday for the greeting card, costume-making and candy manufacturing gurus of the world (well mostly just in the USA).  Let's not deny the fact that most of the costumes are probably made in Taiwan or China and the best chocolate really does come from Europe... so in reality the reaping of this holiday is global. 

When I was little, I think I was a princess almost EVERY year.  I wore a pink dress (that was my cousin's during her days as the Dairy Princess or maybe her prom dress?), a pink crown that I had in my dress up box, and every year my mom would have to buy or find me a new wand to carry around.  Let's be real, I am the only girl in my family which basically makes me a princess everyday but on Halloween I got to dress and act like one.  It was magnificent.  Then at some point during middle or high school Halloween became a holiday in which the girls wear as little as possible, everyone gets completely drunk and does stupid things.  Well, I guess after 9th grade the novelty of this holiday wore off.  Mostly because I ended up in the hospital with a banana bag, but also because the holiday can't exactly bring back the the days of dressing as a princess in a light pink gown that is far too long, putting on my own makeup and wearing heels that I couldn't walk in. 

So I'm sorry if I don't get all excited about Halloween.  Which is fine because Moldovans don't celebrate it either.  Most kids don't even know what it is (in the villages).  In the capital some of the clubs and bars participate and many people of the young city dwellers wear costumes out to the bars.  I've heard from a lot of the Peace Corps Volunteers working in schools that the kids go CRAZY over Halloween parties.  Which makes sense.  When you're a kid why wouldn't you want to dress up in a spooky, crazy outfit or as your favorite cartoon character, eat loads of candy and basically goof off all day.  One volunteer actually told me that one of the teacher's at his school was boycotting the Halloween party as it celebrated paganism and is against the religious beliefs of the majority of the children at the school.  On the one side, the volunteer just wants to share an American custom with his students but on the other side the teacher has a point.

It's funny because I love scary movies but I hate Halloween.  I love chocolate but I never really liked begging for candy (trick or treating).  Last year, my roommates and I put together a bowl of goodies which included apples, candy, condoms, toothbrushes, pencils and toothpaste.  The assortment was acquired mostly for free as one of my roommates' father is an orthodontist, Gannett Health Center gives out free condoms and the apples were acquired from an event that had extra.  The candy of course cost us a little.  When we received no trick or treaters... we indulged ourselves in the pile and stored the toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss and condoms for later use.  I hope this year 108 Parker has some trick or treaters.   With gritted teeth and I wish all my readers a Happy Halloween! 

Sunday, October 24, 2010

What is a better gift than giving itself?

Hello Family and Friends!!!

I was catching up on my Sunday morning news by reading the NYTimes online (thank goodness for internet) and I read an interesting article about the D.I.Y. Foreign-Aid Revolution (  The article sent me to a blog which sent me to another website (I love counting my clicks sometimes...) called

This organization is incredible.  It organizes pre-screened projects around the world (including the USA) and allows individuals to make online donations to support these altruistic and entrepreneurial projects.  It's really genius.  It also has a tab entitled "Get Involved" which is for those individuals that aren't able to make a philanthropic contribution and still would like to get involved to connect with organizations to actually volunteer!  The only sad part is that it doesn't list ALL the projects happening around the world.

I encourage all of my readers out there in the world that if you are involved in a project that fits this website, nominate your organization or project to be posted by clicking here or instead of starting your holiday shopping early this year consider the gift of giving as a family to an organization or project that needs your help!

Love and peace,

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Flying solo

My first week of working with my new partner organization was nerve-wrecking, mostly because I had no autopilot, no crutch to lean on for help or support.  My first week of work was my host partner's week of August vacation.  So what did I do?  I kept the office open from 8:30 to 16:30, made a few copies, answered the phone (in Romanian), tried to fix the ancient computers, studied and played online.  I have never in my life been on Facebook more than I have in the last few months of my life.  It's really quite disgusting.  I wait for updates from friends in Europe (morning) and in the afternoon I check for updates from the USA.

For the next two years I will be working with an Agricultural Extension NGO helping with marketing and expanding their daily activities and services from copies to computers with internet.  Thus far, I have organized all of our informational pamphlets in the office and rearranged the furniture to make it a more open and welcoming workspace.  Hopefully, I will be able to start really understanding the conversations of the people who come into the office and start planning some seminars to help the farming community.

My messy desk

Organized stock of pamphlets
Pamphlets organized by category and alphabetical...

Friday, October 1, 2010

I apologize for my neglect

In the weeks leading up to my trip back to the USA were filled with days of work, meetings, birthday parties and preparing for traveling home. I have a running word document and a small notebook (that I carry everywhere) filled with notes just waiting to be colorfully embellished and distributed to all of you via my blog. In order for these stories to make sense, I will be posting them (somewhat) sequentially.

Peace and love,

P.S. I have recently added a wish list to my blog. These are mostly items that I miss from home or am too cheap to buy here. I am not asking any one person to send me a care package (because it is really expensive to do so) but rather would like to provide suggestions to any groups of people who feel so inclined to send something my way.