Saturday, December 8th was this wonderful event we like to call the Winter Bazaar. Basically, all the embassies, along with some other NGOs in Moldova, run booths in this big exhibition center in the capital. Why is it so great? Well, really, it starts (an maybe ends) with the food…
All the embassies prepare local dishes from their respective countries and sell them to help raise money for charity. The Chinese Embassy had dumplings, there was an Ethiopian dish being sold, the Italian Embassy made some wonderful meat/cheese sandwiches, and the U.S. Embassy brought out the big guns…(drumroll please)…Starbucks coffee!
Peace Corps also had a booth, and we focused more on dessert. One girl made empanadas, another made cheesecake, and I teamed up with a friend of mine to prepare loads of Christmas cookies to sell. We invited a Moldovan girl we know to sell her beautiful jewelry at the booth, and another volunteer brought out herbs from his partner organization to sell. And then we manned the booth.
There were some funny incidents, like the older woman who took two cookies and told us that we were going to give them to her as a gift. Ha. But it was really just great to be there, enjoy the food, and meet other Americans living in Chisinau (quite a few missionary families).
Other booths sold handmade Christmas cards, artisan crafts, ornaments, scarves and jewelry. There were performers and music and some pretty great raffles. And there were crowds of people shuffling through the aisles from booth to booth. I went last year with a friend of mine who has now left, and I really enjoyed it. And I much as I miss her, I loved going again this year.