Sorry for the poor update – there has really been too much lately! But now I finally have a bit of time… As I wrote earlier, my trip to Europe started with a 10 day stop in Moldova. It was great as always. I managed to see several friends (though not all – sorry for that Natalia and Gehandie!) and attend a couple of nice dinners. The Swedish evening that I mentioned was very nice; there really are many more Swedes in town now than when I lived in Chisinau. The best was that everyone seemed to enjoy life there almost as much as much as I did. I also had time to go and see a ballet (Coppelia) at the opera. I love going to the opera or classical concerts in Chisinau because it is very unpretentious. It is super cheap (a few dollars for a ticket) so everyone can afford it. People come in jeans and there are always a lot of kids there. Of course, some see it as going for a coffee with friends, so you might get people behind you that sit and chat through the performance. And in the winters, it used to be really cold. I once heard a story about how the dancers one winter performed a ballet in 2 ⁰C. So I brought my jacked to my seat out of habit, but it was actually warm this time. I hope that is a sign that times are getting better. My only disappointment was that my favorite chocolate that I normally stock up on – 72% cacao from the Ukrainian brand Korona – had disappeared from the shelves in the supermarkets and replaced by Western brands. Well, I guess life has to go on also in Moldova.
Outside the Chisinau Opera with Liliana, Vadinm, Dina, and Doina (and their friend on the phone)
While in Moldova, it was Mărţişsor, which is one of my favorite traditions. It is a festivity that celebrates spring. It is an old Dacian tradition (at least in Moldova and Romania; now that I browse around a bit, there seem to be a debate between it is of Dacian or of Roman tradition) and it dates back a few thousand years. Basically, it symbolizes the break between winter and spring, and is a celebration of nature coming to life, fertility, and love, etc. In Moldova, small pins in red and white are made and sold in the streets, and everyone gives everyone a pin that you then wear for a month. Or rather, you wear all the pins you get for a month. It is a lovely tradition!
People selling and buying Martisor pins on Blvd. Stefan cel Mare in Chisinau
When I was done with my work in Moldova, I had a few days off before my work in Romania started so I went to Stockholm for the weekend. Though I was there not too long ago, it was so incredibly nice to see everyone. And coincidentally, my uncle Knutte had arranged a family gathering Friday evening at Restaurant Cassi in central Stockholm, so I got to see all my aunts and uncles, and several of my cousins and their kids. It was fun as always. According to tradition, mom, Jessica, and I also went on the annual book sale, this year accompanied by Linnea. (And no, I actually didn’t really get anything!) And I had time to see my dad, stepmom and several friends, so it was really a good weekend!
My family, or part of it anyway
Me and Jessica (I look at bit off because I was wearing glasses that day and took them off for the photo, so I couldn’t really see the camrea:-))
I am now in Bucharest for since about a week. Apparently, I am starting to become a bit of an institution at the hotel: The girl that takes the room numbers in the breakfast room in the morning just smiled and said “I know!” this morning when I told her what room I was in. And one of the waiters asked if I wanted coffee as usual, and made a remark about me still being there. So I think it is time to go back to DC soon….