Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Turkey- round 2

Yay, so after Bulgaria we were off to Turkey! We have left Eastern Europe, finally!!!!! We spent the first few days in Instanbul with an amazing couple who's mom cooked us yummy Turkish food. Then we took an 11 hour bus ride to Amasya where we hiked around and enjoyed the mountain air (and a huge wind storm, along with no hot water). Since everywhere in Turkey is reached by a 10-12 hours bus ride we headed next to the region of Cappadocia on a 10 hour bus ride. There we stayed in the town of Urgup with a nice turkish guy who happened to be a travel agent and guide and helped us plan our few days there- which included a hot air balloon ride. From there we took a 12 hour us trip back to Istanbul for our flight to Israel. Originaly Israel wasn't in our itinerary but after researching flights we found it would be cheaper to fly to Tel Aviv and then take a bus to Jordan.

The Blue Mosque, Istanbul.

The Aya Sofia, Istanbul.

The mountains in Amasya.

The old Ottoman house in Amasya.


Lift off.

Sharon and I.

My certificate I recieved after the balloon ride.

Our Thanksgiving dinner in the Istanbul airport.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

3 days ın Bulgarıa

Met up wıth Sharon ın Buchurest, took a traın to Velıko Tarnovo ın Bulgarıa.

Searchıng for Dracula ın Transylvanıa

The fırst two weeks of my trıp start ın Dracula land!!! The area of Transylvanıa ın Romanıa ıs one of the most beautıful, fılled wıth mountaıns, castles, and storıes of Vlad Tepeş and dracula. Durıng my travles I read a bıography about Vlad Tepeş, the prınce of the Transylvanıa regıon ın the 15th century. He was nıcknamed the Impaler after hıs favorıte way of kıllıng enemıes. After readıng about Vlad I read Bram Stoker's Dracula. Both great books!!!

The whole two weeks ın Romanıa I stayed wıth people I found on couchsurfıng ( It ıs such a great way to travel. I dıdn't pay for accomodatıons once and stayed wıth really cool people ınstead- Romanıans and Amerıcan Peace Corps volunteers. The weather was great the entıre two weeks, clear skıes! Though wınter ıs settlıng ın and ıt ıs really cold, I am wearıng all my clothes.

Peleş Castle ın Sınaıa

Where VLad Tepeş's father lıved
Vlad Tepeş a.k.a Dracula ın Sıghışoara

Sıbıu, Romanıa
Open aır museum near Sıbıu



Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Yarn skills!

A super cool friend who also shares my love of knitting gave me some wool, a spindle, and how-to book before I left the States to fulfill my goal of learning to spin yarn. Here is what I produced.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Preparing to COS

Another acronym?! Ahhh, what's with these PCVs and their acronyms??? COS stands for Close Of Serivce. That means, done, all over, finished, coming home!!! I now have 2 days left of my service here in Moldova! Doesn't it feel like only yesterday you were saying goodbye to me? Well, maybe not yesterday, I definitely feel like I have been gone along time. Friends have gotten married, kids have been born, people have moved, things have changed. The world went on without me. What's it going to be like when I return, changed from my experience, to friends and family that have done so much in the past 2 years that I haven't been able to be a part of? Will life pick up from where I left it? What will I do? Where will I live?

As I am writing up all my reports, getting documents signed, getting medically cleared (it is as much work to leave PC as it is to enter) I am starting to wonder what the next step of my life will hold. I feel so lucky that I am at a point in my life where I am completely free to do WHATEVER I want. Literally, I can live where I want, work where I want, do what I want. How many times do we reach a time where we are not tied down to anything? I am so excited to come home and see what will happen next!!! See you all soon! December 17 11:30pm I will be in Seattle!

Vacation (part 2)

Alright, so the rest of my vacation was spent in Belgrade, Serbia; Montenegro; Croatia; Bosnia; and Italy. The whole thing was 3 weeks of amazingness. I traveled the first two alone and the last week with my mom and grandma. In these three weeks I hiked up mountains, jumped off cliffs into turquoise water, floated in the sea, ate delicious sea food, watch Croatia celebrate in the streets after a soccer win, and saw the Colosseum in Italy. It was a much needed trip out of eastern Europe. A funny thing I noticed is that when I would sign to my grandma I would be speaking Romanian, not english. When I would sign "yes" I would be saying "da" to myself. i can only assume this happened because both are stored in the foreign language section of my brain. It is like me confusing Russian with Romanian now when I speak with Moldovans, but this could be due to the fact that they interchange the two also.

Kotor, Montenegro
Budva, Montenegro Croatians celebrating after winning a football game.
Dubrovnik, Croatia
Mostar, Bosnia and Hercegovina

Outside of Mostar

Outside of Mostar. Tour group.
Sarejevo, BiH



Grandma playing in the fountain.

Inside the colleseum.

Saturday, June 14, 2008


After almost 21 months of working in Moldova I am taking my last vacation. We are not allowed to travel in the last three months of our service and I had 18 days remaining so I decided to do one big trip and tour the Balkans. My trip started a week ago when I flew into Budapest, Hungary. It was a nice quick flight from Moldova, only an Hour and a half, on a small prop plane. My flight left Moldova a 5:45am. Since I had to be at the airport at 4am I had to stay in the capital the night before and wakeup at 3am to get ready and catch a taxi to the airport. Knowing I had to be up that early I couldn't seem to fall asleep the night before and got 0 hours of sleep before my flight. I arrived in Budapest at 6:15am and was completely exhausted. My plan was to meet up with a girl from and stay with her but I couldn't get in touch with her and spent my first hour in the city searching for internet and then a hostel. By the time I checked into the hostel it was around 9am. I found out the girl working there was from Romania and she was quite surprised I spoke Romanian. But by the time I put my bags down and crawled into a bunk to snooze I was so energized about being someplace new that I couldn't sleep and only ended up laying there for an hour until I finally got up and decided to tour the city. As someone going off no sleep I got around most of the city the first day. I did happen to find a huge park though that I laid down in for a rest in the sun. That night I was totally ready to sleep good and hard after being awake close to 38 hours. But guess what? Guess how good I slept? HORRIBLE! I think I was way too tired and too worried about actually getting sleep plus the walls of the hostel were paper thin and I could hear everybody that came and went. When I "woke" the next morning after very few hours of sleep I felt a little delirious and my eyes hurt so badly. So instead of walking the rest of the city I hadn't seen yet I decided to go chill out at the famous thermal baths. It was amazing!! There were huge pools indoor and outdoor full of natural warm water. I stayed there for hours just floating and relaxing, letting the jets massage my back and neck. That night I had planned on taking a night train to Bosnia but I found out that there is only a day train and I didn't want to waste a day traveling so I took a night train to Belgrade, Serbia instead, a city I originally planned to see but cut out at the last minute. So I was looking forward to anther night of bad sleep, especially because I didn't want to fork up the extra money for a sleeper car.

Wedding (year 2)

So once again it is wedding season!!! As soon as easter is over and nobody has to fast anymore the weddings start. I was invited to one last month by my new counterpart, her cousin was getting married. I went all out on this wedding and got my hair and make-up done and bought a new dress. The wedding was so much fun!!! I danced all night and finally gave up and went home at 2:30am even though it was still going on strong. my feet just couldn't take it anymore. At one point I had a guy ask me to dance to the fast music and he tried twirling me all over the dance floor and ended up just getting his toes stepped on a bunch. I can't help it if we don't grow up learning to dance like that.

BBQ-ing and Victory Day (May 9th)

May 9th is a big holiday in Moldova. It celebrates the end of WWII. And Moldovans use it as another excuse to celebrate and not work or go to school. There was a parade and concerts in my city all day long. It was very soviet affair with them carry the soviet union flag in the parade.

So my new found friends, he ones from easter who have adopted me into their family invited me to a BBQ 2 weeks later for victory day. Since they were providing all the food I felt I had to contribute something so I brought marshmallows and taught them all how to make smore's. Oh did they love them!!!! I also brought them their very own frisbee!!! Here are some fun pictures.