"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime."
Mark Twain (The Innocents Abroad/Roughing It)
Taking Twain's words to heart, we're doing it! Traveling is a shared passion of ours and we have always talked about how neat it would be to work overseas. Then one day it hit me, the key is to stop talking about it and just go...so we're doing it. We are moving to Moldova, a small country in Eastern Europe, to teach at an International School. This experience will be unlike anything we have ever done before. Although we will miss our friends and family in the States, we are overwhelmed with excitement and anticipation for this adventure.
We want to document our travels for our own memories, but also to share our experiences with our friends and family. We will begin with our last tour of the beautiful state we have called home for the past 6 years, Florida...
We are going to Moldova!
June 23rd 2011
As we come to the end of our time here in Moldova, it is difficult to put into words the way we feel about this place we have called home for the past 11 months. Of course we have grown to love this country and it's people, and saying good bye will be bittersweet. After a loooong winter, we were delighted as the first signs of spring came and the days began to lengthen. It was like a procession of blooming, starting with the apple and cherry trees. Then came the lilacs, tulips, daffodils, peonies, and now that summer is here...the roses! As the days grow hot and long we have been like two bears coming out of hibernation and rediscovering our surroundings all over again. In these last months, we are spending as much time ... read more
March 1st 2011
Imagine the antique trains you can tour and snap pictures of at old historic train station museums...that's the train that we took last weekend from Chisinau, Moldova to Odesa, Ukraine. On the way there we had padded seats, a table for our snacks and coffee, and NO heat. We rode for five hours in our coats, sipping from our thermos of hot coffee and walking the length of our train car to keep feeling in our toes. On the way home three days later, on the same train we had wooden park-bench seats, limited tables, and a raging coal-stoked fire that kept our car at a cozy 85 degrees F. You really never know what you're going to get over here in Eastern Europe, that's why we live by the golden rule: "Always dress in layers"! ... read more
January 9th 2011
Whenever Nick and I have our bags packed full, and are sitting in an airport terminal or standing on the platform at the train station, I get this old familiar feeling. It feels like freedom, excitement, anticipation... Like I have everything I need to live strapped to my back, Nick standing next to me, and we can go anywhere in the world. The love of traveling and exploring new places is in my blood, thanks to my parents who gave me every opportunity to travel that they could when I was young. This year we spent our Winter Break in Paris, France and Vienna, Austria. This Christmas was our first time spending the holidays away from family and friends. It was tough being away from all the coziness of our usual holiday traditions and family... but ... read more
November 13th 2010
Sighisoara is a town lost in time. We spent most of our time inside the fortified citadel, where the winding cobblestone streets and old buildings give the impression that nothing has changed in the past 500 years. "Central Sighişoara has preserved in an exemplary way the features of a small medieval fortified city, it has been listed by the UNESCO as a World Heritage Site." Stopping in Sighisoara was something we decided half-way through our trip, after hearing about it from a fellow traveler we met in Brasov. It turned out to be my favorite place along our trip and I cannot image our journey as being complete without it! The streets are lined with colorful "Pensiunes" (guesthouses and hotels), restaurants, and souvenir shops. We arrived somewhat late in the day, so after finding a cozy ... read more
November 7th 2010
It is the castles of Transylvania that first inspired us to plan a trip to this region. You truly loose yourself to reality as you step into another century...a time of Fairy tales and medieval castles. Peles Castle nestled in the mountains of Sinia, Romania (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pele%C5%9F_Castle) is like something out of a Fairytale, as it was built as a sort of "vacation home" for Romanian royalty. We were able to walk around the grounds, but it was not open for tours. However, we did find a lovely little cafe where we had coffee and cakes with Peles Castle and the Carpatian Mountains as our backdrop. Bran Castle has become known as "Dracula's Castle" even though it doesn't have much to do with the actual Count Vlad Dracula. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bran_Castle). There is evidence that he may have used ... read more
October 31st 2010
Days 2 & 3: Brasov After our enchanting night at the "Loft of Heartache" we headed on to Brasov, Romania. http://www.romaniatourism.com/brasov.html Brasov is one of the seven walled citadels populated by the Saxons of Transylvania, which were known in German as the Siebenbürgen (seven boroughs). Brasov is a lovely town, with traditional foods and artwork reflecting both its Romanian and German roots . It is also filled with a surprising number of English-speakers and Americans. It's a pretty touristy place, which we are not accustomed to living in Chisinau. So few people speak English in Chisinau that my ears have grown very sensitive to picking out English speakers in a crowd. As we walked around Brasov, we were delighted to hear a mixture of languages and accents...French, Italian, British and Australian English, and of course the ... read more
October 26th 2010
Day 1: Sura cu Dor It is like I am seeing the fall colors for the first time.... We are driving across the Moldovan/Romanian countryside during the peak of the color change. I can't stop staring out the window saying "wow". While driving through the countryside and small villages, everywhere we saw men, women and children working in their fields, harvesting the last corn, cabbage, and potatoes of the season. Horse carts outnumber cars on the road by MANY. All the horses are adorned with bells and red tassels. I thought it was just festive look, but we learned that this is to ward off evil spirits. As we drove further in to the Carpatian Mountains, the views became more and more spectacular. Poor Nick had to concentrate on the narrow windy roads, while I gawked ... read more
October 5th 2010
OK, they said this would happen… When we got here, we did a workshop on Culture Shock. The first stage is “Honeymoon”. Oh, is it ever! Everything is novel, exciting…every experience is an adventure! We are experiencing so many new and different things, and we love every minute of it! I’d say in most cases we are still experiencing Honeymoon phase. However… the small bits of “Rejection” are starting to set in. I wouldn’t exactly call it rejection in our case, but more of a homesickness for certain things. And it’s interesting what I am finding myself homesick for. Of course there is the obvious, our family and friends. But it helps that it’s so easy to keep in contact with everyone. For me, it’s more of the little things. For example, I really miss having ... read more
September 26th 2010
We have been teaching for about one month, and the theme of our cultural studies unit is Moldovan culture. Kelsey set up a field trip to the Monastery of Capriana, and I brought my Intensive English students along also. Our bus arrived at school at 9am and we loaded up the kids and headed to the Village of Capriana which is approximately 40km north of Chisinau. We were very fortunate to have clear blue skies. The ride was very pretty passing vineyard after vineyard and drove into the forest which used to have bears, wolves, and deer, but they are no longer around. I have yet to find out if it is from over-hunting or some other reason. Heading into the village is a narrow road with a steep grade I was hoping that our bus ... read more
September 12th 2010
We have now been in Chisinau for a month! Some days I feel so comfortable, like I have been living here for years. Other days, the fact that we are not in the U.S. is so blatantly obvious. But one thing is constant...Nick and I are in this together, and no matter what we are doing, we are having the time of our lives! This is an amazing country full of contradictions. Just today, I walked into three "frizeries" (barber shops) asking "vorbesc engleză?" before I found someone who spoke enough English to understand what I wanted. In the same afternoon we stopped for lunch at an outdoor cafe where we were seated next to two tables of Americans! It is pretty uncommon to hear people speaking English, so whenever Americans hear one another talking, ... read more