If you’re “not exactly retired” like us, you may remember searching for apartments years ago by scouring bulletin boards and tearing off phone numbers from promising listings.
That was long before Craigslist and other sites moved the process online — at least in the United States.
Here in Moldova, though, people are still using bulletin boards, often located near bus stops. Those looking to sell or rent their property post advertisements in Romanian or Russian, Moldova’s two main languages. Most of the signs are printed simply in black and white, with no photos or graphics. Some are scrawled by hand. Within a few days or after a storm, they start drooping.
Moldova does have sites resembling Craigslist, most notably 999.com, which also sells a wide range of products. It is especially popular with younger people, offering online streaming and mobile apps for both IOS and Android phones. The site’s listings for houses and apartments can be sorted by location, price and other factors, in Romanian and Russian. Just as in the United States, ads pop up in the margins to extol candidates in the upcoming presidential election.
Still, many Moldovans continue to rely on bulletin boards and old-fashioned word-of-mouth, asking friends to tell them if they’ve hear of something new coming on the market. I haven’t seen any companies that handle rentals, at least where we live, much less the local listings you sometimes see printed back home.
Champa and I have learned about all of this over the past few days as we’ve begun searching for an apartment ourselves. We’ve loved staying with our host family in Ialoveni, where we’ve been renting the second floor of their house. This past Saturday, we hosted our first dinner party, with several other Peace Corps volunteers who came from neighboring towns. Unfortunately, the family needs to reclaim the second floor, so we’re now actively looking for a new home.
The Peace Corps staff and our current host family have stepped up to assist us and, thanks to their help, it’s looking like we may resolve the situation soon. That’s good news — well, except for the bulletin boards. I was just starting to get the hang of using them again.