31 July 2011

More bites

Stayed in another apartment and this time picked up 41 new mosquito bites... which resulted in a sleepless night. The odd thing is that there isn't a mosquito problem when I'm in my village- in fact, I don't notice them at all. Maybe I'm only sweet when I'm in Chisinau. So last night I stayed in a different apartment that had a fan and I bought a plug-in RAID mosquito repellant thing. While I had trouble sleeping (too excited for dad to get here!!!!!!!!), I don't think I picked up any new bites.

Voting still!

And the voting is still on!!! If you like my photos, please vote! You only get one every 24 hours... but that one helps!! :)

29 July 2011

Cate Crandell | One Life Photos 2011

Cate Crandell | One Life Photos 2011

... still, please vote :) And spread the word! You don't have to register or anything

28 July 2011


I entered my first ever photo competition... with the chance to win at most $10000, and if I get the most "likes" then I can win $2500. Unfortunately I submitted rather late, so I don't think I'll get the "likes" I'd "like". But if you'd like to vote, please do. I'm not quite sure when the voting ends.

27 July 2011

Wood and cats

No, the wood has nothing to do with the cat...

But I will tell you that chopping wood is much harder to do than it looks. Trust me. I tried it (and succeeded, mind you... but not very well).


...and how is it that cats always seem to find the best places to sleep? This is the barrel where my host family makes our wine ("Obviously it will be cleaned out before we make the wine" said my host mom). You can see that she loves cats... ha.


25 July 2011


When talking with my almost 85 year-old Great Aunt on Facebook today, I asked her if she's done any headstands lately because, of the many other things I remember about her while growing up, the memory of her headstands at 60+ years old stands out the most. She said she hasn't tried it in awhile so I told her that it's a very popular yoga move and it helps relieve anxiety and stress. Her response? What anxiety and stress? I don't have either. Nothing to worry about and that's a fact.

She rocks. I hope to be like her when I'm 85! But at the rate I'm going... I'm doomed. HA!


A friend from high school who I have really hardly spoken to since high school started messaging me today to catch up. She's said so many great things, but in the midst of all of my thoughts about the future, this is what truly hit home:

You have to dream bigger. You're so worth it! ... you have to have the self-esteem in order for your work to get there.

And... she's right. Maybe I should have listened to my sister all of those years when she adopted the motto "dream big" to apply to herself.

toilet paper and stubbornness

Two things.

One. Yesterday I dropped a brand new roll of toilet paper into the veceu (outhouse). Now, to most of you this probably isn't a big deal. I mean, it's a toilet paper roll. But, you see, this is what I've been worried about doing since the first time I stepped into a veceu for some odd reason I can't really explain... and who knows... next could be my phone, my shoes, my pride...

Which brings me to Two.
I'm stubborn. In fact, pretty stubborn. And the more people tell me they expect me to quit my 2 years in Moldova early, the more determined I am to make it. We lost two PCV's last week and another is on the way out due to a recent medical diagnosis... and I'm projected to be one of the next. Well, friends... let me tell you something: keep telling me I'm going to leave because any sort of encouragement helps fuel the fire that will totally keep me here because I'm stubborn and I don't like people telling me what to do (or what I'm going to do).

24 July 2011


One of my friends pointed out something the other day about me that I'd never really put together before: I don't like transitions.

And it's true... whether it's referring to waiting at an airport to board a plane for a new destination, to the beginning of a new school year, to getting over a love lost, to beginning a new chapter in my life... I just don't like them... so it doesn't surprise me that I have made a long list of "what to do after Peace Corps" that doesn't make any sense to anyone but me. On the list I have things like opening a café/art gallery in Kansas City, a yoga ashram, teach at an International school, continue my portrait photography business, writing a book, doing all of the above at the same time, nanny abroad... etc. So all of the ideas are great (and trust me when I say there are MANY more I have listed), but then the panic kicks in when I begin to think about where to do all of the above. I mean, if it's not one thing it's another, right? Eff this.

But thankfully I'm reading Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert (I'm sure you've read it... and if you haven't, you should) and it's kind of putting things into perspective. In fact, it feels like I'm her... trying to get over a relationship but just not ready to let go, having an itch to travel and make a change, and looking for the peace within myself (I was recently, with nothing but good intentions told I have a tendency to get "crazy" and no, that doesn't mean party crazy... it means there is a giant mess in my head that I can't quite sort out). So eventually in my list making I got to a point where I wrote this (without the asterisks):

F*** it, just GO.

Maybe if I take this route one of those doors that are always open but seem just out of reach will finally come into my grasp and I will be able to grab the handle and open it. I mean, as much as I say I don't like transitions (and, really, I don't)... that might be the best thing for me to do.

In the meantime I just have to wait one more week and my dad will be in Moldova. That is a transition I am GREATLY looking forward to... but his leaving? Not so much.

14 July 2011

vivid dreams

Lately I've been having ridiculously vivid dreams.... and usually they're not happy. But the weather is hot and sunny so when I wake up it's all okay again.

Last night, though, I had one of those dreams where it was the first day of school but I wasn't at my school in Varatic, but I was in another country because the people there didn't speak English. I was supposed to be teaching but no one was there to tell me what classes I was teaching, when, or where... and everyone was passing around me and I was so lost and confused. Then the bell rang and I got on a traditional yellow school bus and all of my students then spoke English and had me sit with them, and even made room even though there wasn't a place. After it took what seemed like an hour, all we had done was a giant circle around the school because there was snow and that's where all the busses were going. At that point I was frustrated so I had them stop near a grocery store so I could go buy food and walk home, since it only took me 15 minutes to walk home. When I went in the store I didn't buy anything, but instead I made guacamole right then and there in the store and had some guy taste it but it really wasn't good... and I was trying to figure out how I was going to pay for the limes and the avocado since they go by weight (you see, I'd never steal anything). I guess I was just super hungry which is why I made it in the store... and then I woke up.

Weird. I know.

13 July 2011

This is Moldova

After I woke up for my 6 hour nap, a couple of my students dropped by for me to take pictures of them. While walking back home, we walked past a pile of trash and I jokingly said, "do you want your pictures here?" ... thinking they would laugh and we'd keep going. Instead, Marin said, "Yes. This is Moldova."
And unfortunately, he's right.


I woke up this morning with half of my back full of bug bites... guess he thought I was super sweet or something. So I put some anti-itch cream on them but it just wasn't doing the trick so I decided to also take some Benadryl right before lunch.

Thirty minutes later I was super tired so I decided to take a nap. Six hours later, I woke up. Pretty sure Benadryl only works because it makes you pass out... therefore forgetting the itching/allergies.

10 July 2011


I fell back on the downward slope again of questioning my position here and considering going home. But instead of letting myself completely crash again I decided to take a different approach. I have stayed away from the internet, read 5 books in 2 weeks, and made my way to Chisinau and Razeni (my first village). What I've learned (and sometimes relearned) from friends, family, and books:

Leaving Moldova would be like drinking alcohol to the point of blacking out. When you come back to your senses, the problems still exist. There's no point in running. It's best to clean up your act, get your head on straight, and then make new decisions.

Sometimes pretending to be happy really makes you happy because you realize you have no reason to be sad... and it's fun to pretend.... and then you're having fun before you know it.

When it's time to make a decision about the next chapter in this thing we like to call "the Book of Life", the answer will be obvious... as long as you don't ignore the signs.

It may take a huge journey to discover what was there all along but it's possible to have missed what was there all along if the journey wasn't taken first. Plus, it's pretty difficult to say "no" to traveling.

Reading rocks. Internet rocks. But reading is so much better than the internet.

"I suddenly had such a pang for home that I began to cry. It wasn't St. Louis [insert: Kansas City] I longed for exactly, but some larger and more vague idea of home- known, loved people and things." (The Paris Wife by Paula McLain)

"Wherever love is, there you will find your treasure. You've got to find the treasure first." (The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo)

Focus on the present: not the past or the future. Doing those two things can only lead to more confusion that make you forget to stop and smell the roses (and there are tons here right now! Makes smelling them easy... except did you know that a lot of roses don't actually smell?!)

Listen to the stories your family tells you. And if they don't tell you stories, ask them to. You never know what you may find out if you just listen.

I didn't have to be a good student in order to become a good teacher.

Saying "goodbye" sucks... but hopefully it's really "see you later". In most cases.

Apply. Apply. Apply. For. Everything.

And that's all I have for now.

05 July 2011

Don't drink the water

On the way to Pelinia today to visit my friend Mandy the rutiera driver was especially cranky and quickly demanding money from the people as they entered. When I go to Chisinau I usually go with this driver because it's at a reasonable time, so I'd say we kind of know each other (well, kinda). But because he was cranky I didn't talk to him like I usually do... which was fine. I wasn't in the mood. Well, when I got off the rutiera at the stop for Pelinia he asked me if I had brought a bottle of water with me. I then told him no (thinking how many times have I left a bottle of water in the car...??!!). So then he told me not to drink the water here and I said no problem- I don't drink the well water in Moldova anyways. Well, then he told me to not drink the water in Pelinia because I needed to drink it in Varatic to stay there.

04 July 2011

Broken dishes

I am very happy my host mom is so easy going (and that we always get tons of dishes for Easter) because, when cleaning dishes today after making these delicious breakfast bars with fresh raspberries from our garden, I accidentally broke the big bowl. While I was nervous to tell her I broke it (but obviously I had to come clean), she just laughed it off and said, "Ooohh Katușa" (Katușa is the Russian translation for Cate). I'm going to miss that when I leave.

01 July 2011

Kissed by a cow

Ever been kissed by a cow?

Yea, me either.

Until today.

I spent the late morning (oops, another sleeping in day!) and early afternoon finishing up the wedding photos from Amelia and Nate’s wedding from when I went home and also talking to a few of my students that stopped by (unfortunately mostly about the accident… and the fact that Sasa claims he will actually try to learn English this year which I’m SO excited about!). Then I’d had enough of sitting inside on this sunny and warm day so I did what I do best- went to the river to read and lay in the sun (ok, hopefully that’s not what I do best but it sure is enjoyable).Photobucket


After about 2 hours of soaking up the rays I decided it was time to head back home. On the way home I saw the first sunflower of the year and a cow that kept beckoning me toward him (or possibly away… but I wasn’t willing to find out which) with his mooooooooooooooooooo!!!!:


and this cow that was definitely beckoning me toward him because he kept coming closer and closer and closer… and then he LICKED my hand. If you’ve never been licked by a cow you are really missing out on an incredibly weird feeling. The texture of the tongue is much like that of a cat… rough like sandpaper. But not only that- it is incredibly long and powerful and he kept trying to see how far he could wrap it around my hand (must have been a game). Finally I was able to scratch him and show him that he doesn’t just need to lick my hand like a lollipop… and he relaxed… then attempted to follow me home until he reached the length of his chain that was stuck in the ground and he couldn’t go any further.