My schedule lately rivals the busy American lifestyle I thought I’d left behind.
At my primary job at the Ialoveni library, I’m co-teaching three robotics classes, tutoring a student in English and working with the director and others on various projects.
I’m mentoring a team of four girls for the upcoming Diamond Challenge competition that promotes youth entrepreneurship.
I’m working with several other Peace Corps volunteers to develop training materials for Moldova’s tourism industry.
I’m helping a local Romani leader trying to establish radio stations to serve her community in Moldova.
I’m traveling to the Peace Corps office every Friday and working with them online throughout the week on Peace Corps Stories and other communications tasks.
I’ve been helping several volunteers and community members individually with articles, grad school applications, media challenges and other things.
I also write regularly for this blog and elsewhere, trying to advance the Peace Corps goal of promoting understanding between Americans and other people.
Champa’s been busy lately, too, with school and other activities ever since classes opened again on September 1. The two of us also do everyday things like buy groceries, cook dinner, read books and, of course, hang out with our host family. This past Saturday we hosted a dinner party. This coming weekend we plan to attend both a jazz concert and a local cultural festival.
In other words: We’re busy. My life is not quite as intense as when I was running a university news office, but it’s a long way from being “retired.”
We have only about ten months before we complete our service and return home. Until then we’re trying to do as much as we can to serve the people of Moldova. We’re not alone in this. As I wrote recently after a conference with the other Peace Corps volunteers in our group, many of them have abundant to-do lists as well.
Simultaneously, many Peace Corps volunteers in Moldova and around the world, especially those serving in smaller communities, have found a quieter life where they may still be having a big impact. Each of our experiences is different; “busy” does not mean “better.”
And here’s another thing: Many Moldovans, especially women, are even busier than we are. They’re raising families, working in offices, sowing crops, feeding animals, tending gardens, cooking meals and helping neighbors wth vastly fewer resources than we have back home. Yet I’ve never heard any of them refer to a “fast-paced Moldovan lifestyle.” Maybe they just haven’t had the time to tell me.