We talked for awhile about random things (up until this point the most interesting to me was that he has an American girlfriend who grew up in Ukraine whom he met online through the Russian email similar to gmail and they've been talking through Skype for a year but never actually met in person but in a few days he was going to go to Ukraine to meet her....).
But then we arrived in his village and he said, "Welcome to my village... it looks more like a war-zone in Iraq than a village in Moldova." Woah. That was intense, but he was actually quite correct. Many of the buildings looked as if they had been through a war, of which I responded (are you ready for proof that I know next to nothing about history and that I'm not joking when I say I should have studied more in school..?): wasn't there a war here? Nope. There definitely wasn't a war here. He told me that his village used to be one of the richest in Moldova because they have many apple trees. People used to have money and life used to be wonderful. Then 1992/1993 came around and Moldova became independent from the Soviet Union. To me, as an outsider, this is a wonderful thing. To some Moldovan's, this is a wonderful thing. But to others? It created absolute chaos.
Everyone was used to being told what to do and how to do it. Everyone had a job and everyone had money. That's just how it was. When they became independent, many people lost their jobs and their money. People began stealing and causing great destruction. Buildings were abandoned because people couldn't afford to keep fixing the windows/doors that were vandalized, nor did they want to keep having things stolen from them.
It's quite sad, but that's what happened. I wish there was some way to fix the buildings and get them going. Maybe Starbucks will come and buy some of them... it'd be a great Monopoly and people would have delicious coffee all the time.