Saturday, February 17, 2007

February 16, 2007

First, a report on the forum concerning whether Christians should celebrate Valentine’s day. We didn’t get a very straight answer (which is typical in Moldova) about what happened but Oleg did say that the president of the college started the discussion by talking about the love of God. He said “that colored the whole discussion because no one was going to disagree with him.” Oleg did say that he told the group that he celebrated Valentine’s with his wife by getting her flowers and going out to dinner. So I don’t know what was accomplished but that at least talked about it. Oleg says they have to put a spiritual slant on everything here.

Today was our last day of class with the graduate students. They will come back two days next week to teach undergraduates and we will be there to observe their understanding of the material we have taught this week. The social work dean left today for central Asia so he said his good bys in class this morning. The class gave us a framed, enlarged copy of the class picture we had made and they all signed it. They also gave us a ceramic piece that is a map of Moldova and some Moldovan candy. (Moldovan chocolate is fantastic!) When we had finished class today the students just didn’t leave. We dismissed them and they kept sitting in their desks and talking and asking more questions. We dismissed again and they still stayed. They are so eager to learn and to get all they can. They are really good students. They even got interested and even excited about research! Amazing!

When we got close to the house this afternoon we saw a group of people standing just outside the gate to the house. Oleg said, “Oh, it looks like there is a funeral. Don’t be freaked out if you see an open casket.” As we got closer they began to walk down the street with several men carrying the casket. Alex and Lucia said that their neighbor had died and they were having his funeral there in the street. The cemetery it right down the street and they were carrying the casket there. They also said that the cemetery is where the neighbor sat everyday to beg. They think he may have died there in the cold.

Interesting difference in names. Here they call their great-grandparents. Grand-grandparents. I like that.

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