It is snowing today and has snowed all night! It is really beautiful. The temperature today is to be 18 to 4 degrees! It was really cold last night but there isn’t much wind today and it doesn’t feel that bad. It is to be very cold all weekend—15-4 on Saturday, and 24-21 on Sunday.
We completed our time with the Romanian undergrads yesterday and really enjoyed them. All of our students, graduates and undergraduates, have really gotten into the helping process. I don’t think that they have ever been taught any systematic approach to practice. We had them memorize the stages and steps as homework and they all knew them perfectly the next morning. Most of the Romanian undergraduates can read and understand English, but are hesitant to speak it. Victor, our translator, is their English teacher and he encourages them to talk to us in English.
Mariana, a really great student who speaks English, talked to us about social work education in the US and Baylor in particular. She finishes this year and really wants to continue her social work education. She is from one of the villages and says that there are no social workers there and there is tremendous need. I asked Vitalii what “village” meant and he said it usually refers to a rural area. We hear, “In my village….” a lot. From our one trip outside of Chisinau we know that there is a world of difference outside the city. I don’t think we could say the Chisinau is 3rd world, but you don’t go far outside the city limit before it is.
We had a long conversation with Alex last night about conditions here. He worries so much about his children’s future. He would sacrifice everything to get them a university education. The problem is that unlike the US a college degree does not necessarily predict at least a middle class lifestyle. There are many here with degrees that do not have jobs or are underemployed. This means that the young people are not really motivated to study and plan for college. Irina, the oldest daughter, spent 2 years in a Baptist school in Georgia, but ended up coming home because she missed her family so much. She has a job working with a program that sends young adults to the US to work and travel for a summer. She loves her job and I’m sure does well because of her USA experience; but, I doubt it pays much or has much of a future. Alex wants them to have a career.
We are so glad we didn’t have to try to get to the school today. Irina had to go to work and she called a taxi because she fell so many times trying to get home last night from the bus stop. It took her 40 minutes to find a taxi that would come out here. She said they either had too many calls or didn’t want to come this far.
For supper last night we had grape leaf rolls (similar to cabbage rolls) and pickle soup. Can you imagine?!?! It is really good. I asked Lucia to give me the recipe and she said she just puts it together without one. I want to get several of her recipes.
We wanted to cook something for the family this weekend so we went to the grocery store yesterday after class to see what we could find. It was quite interesting trying to find enough ingredients for any of the recipes we were going to use. Vitalii, our driver, was with us and he knows nothing about cooking. He could ask to clerks where things were but that didn’t mean we recognized them when we got to the right shelf. We were looking for cream cheese. We knew they have it because Lucia had told us that it was expensive. We finally got something that looked like it but when we got home Lucia said it was some other kind of cheese. Vanilla came in a carton, Baking soda is in an envelope. They don’t have baking powder. They don’t have crushed pineapple, only small pieces. It will be interesting to see if anything we do is worth eating!