When I’m in Ialoveni, I sure do miss my host sisters from training. They’re around the same ages as my sisters back in the States. There’s nothing quite like a bond between sisters, and I feel so fortunate that I get to have two sisters here, and two back in the States.
That said, while I’m in Ialoveni, I do get to chat with them on Skype and Facebook. We send messages back and forth, and the week before last, I was doing just that with my host sister Marina. We were just talking about how things were going, work, school, boys, the usual, and then we stumbled into the topic of her dad’s birthday, which is coming up. I told her that I didn’t know what to get him for his birthday. She agreed, dads are the hardest to buy for. Then I had idea – what about shoes for a ballerina? (This is a long story, but basically, it involves the video-taping of one dancing host father after a few drinks, which my host family showed me during my last visit. Needless to say, there was a LOT of laughter. And some pretty impressive leg work.) But Marina loved the idea of getting ballet shoes, and so we made plans to meet up at the central market (piața) that Saturday.
My host mom was concerned that ballet shoes might be a little too expensive, so Marina took me to a gift store. This store was, quite literally, a “gift” store. It has a big plastic present over the doorway and sells a collection of items you might give to people as gifts. so we went in and sifted through the merchandise. I found an extensive toy doctor kit for my little host nieces in Ialoveni, and some sweet tools for the grill for my host dad. (Over the summer, we had some great grilled meat and grilled vegetables, courtesy of my host dad, so I thought it was a good gift.) As a bonus, I also got to my other host sister, Nadejda, who was in the city getting a Valentine’s Day gift for her boyfriend.
All set with gifts in hand, I asked my host sister Marina where I could go to get pictures printed. We walked around the piața area, and stopped into a place where I gave them my flash drive, they dropped the pictures onto their desktop, returned my flash drive and told me to come back in an hour.
With an hour to kill, Marina and I needed something to do. I needed some baking pans for cake and brownies and such (see picture below), so we headed into the piața, where I found two great pans and picked up some bananas. We still had a bit of time left, so we decided to look for somewhere we could sit down (inside, out of the cold) and have coffee. We chatted for awhile over our hot drinks, and then we left to pick up the pictures and parted ways. It was delightful. A great Saturday afternoon.