All the small things

Sometimes when things are hard, work is tough, ideas fail, or you’re missing home it’s all the small things in the day that keep you going.  Here are a few things that brighten my day in Moldova:

  • Drinking tea from my Van Gogh mug.  I bought this mug at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam of Van Gogh’s Wheatfield with crows, and I love it.
  • Feeding the puppies.  There’s a litter of about six or seven puppies that hangs out just around the corner from the door to our apartment, and they are so cute.  We’ve started feeding them at lunch, and it just brings me joy.  They yelp and crowd in around whatever leftovers we put out.  Eventually I hope to post a picture of that.
  • Getting packages.  I’ve only gotten a few, but package days are always good days and make me want to whistle and sing while I walk down the street.
  • Video chatting with friends/family back home.  That’s always the best.
  • Chatting with the cashier at the local supermarket.  It’s this young woman who helped me check out when we first arrived and knew immediately I was a foreigner.  She’s always very kind and returns my smile.  She’s usually there when I go in, and I always get in her line just to say hello.
  • Recognizing people around town.  It makes you feel more at home, like you’re part of the community.
  • Snow!

    Fresh snow outside our apartment building.

  • Paying my bills without any problems, liguistic or otherwise.  (I know, I know, when else would “paying bills” be something that someone actually enjoys?!  This experience involves all kinds of new perspectives.)  Feels good to be able to pay bills in another country and another language.
  • Getting new cooking/cleaning utensils.  Our apartment had quite a few pans and dishware when we arrived, but there were still a few extra things I wanted.  Little by little, to make our small stipends last, I’ve been purchasing items for the kitchen.  And it’s always nice to have a new serving spoon.  (Most recently, I had to replace our teapot, which I left on the burner too long and the ceramic/paint inside started chipping.  We now have a swanky new little teapot…short a stout…with a fancy handle and a modern spout.)
  • Coca light.  I’m a diet coke girl.  It’s a treat I allow myself to purchase about once a week.  Mostly when I have lots of work to do at home, and I can enjoy sipping my unhealthy sugary beverage while pining away at the computer.
  • Reading.  But that’s not news, I love reading wherever I am.
  • Running.  Another thing I love almost everywhere.  Although, icy roads will make this interesting…so far I’ve managed to run at least once a week without any major problems.  What keeps me from getting out more is limited daylight hours – it’s dark by the time I get home from work.
  • Shooting the breeze with colleagues.  A few weeks back, my site mate and I sat down with a couple of our colleagues at the agency and we took turns sharing songs on YouTube from the bands we like.  It was great.
  • Making a joke in Romanian that someone actually understands.  This is harder than you think, but when you are successful, it is a most satisfactory experience.
  • When my dad writes “LOL” in his e-mails.  (Hi dad!)  Keep sending, pops, because your use of hip internet lingo makes me smile.
  • Visiting my host families.
  • Chatting with my host sisters online.
  • Saying hello to the woman who cleans our building.  She always responds with a kind smile and says something in response.  (It’s cold!  You walk fast!  Where were you?  Back from lunch?)
  • Seeing bundled up kiddies running around in their snow suits and hats.  It’s adorable.
  • When my parents hold my dog up to the camera during our skype sessions.  My dog doesn’t get it, but they do it anyway.  And everytime I still say “hi Toby” in my high-pitched dog-speak voice.  What can I say?  I’m a dog person.
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