Happy Martisor!

A lovely celebration in Moldova and Romania that celebrates March 1st, and the coming of spring.
Gifts of small tokens of affection, most often red and white, are a fun part of a holiday that has its roots in the ancient past.

Happy Martisor!

Red and White Martisor dolls
Martisor dolls that I made for my husband.
(image by The Global Reader)

Book for Moldova, country #7: Playing the Moldovans at Tennis by Tony Hawks

Another non-review book review!

I live in a part of the US that is so-respectfully referred to as “flyover country”.  We are left to drift along in the fog of the national consciousness, taking form only when needed as a stereotype. We are sturdy, honest hard-working “real” Americans who have no fashion sense and eat nothing but mayonnaise, except when we go fancy at Applebee’s. And everyone lives on farms and knows an Amish person. Our cities are on fire all of the time due to a toxic mixture of poisonous rivers and horrible racism that exists only in Cincinnati and no other place in America.

Right.

Clichés like this make me a bit sensitive, especially when the verdict is being rendered by someone from an imperial city. Places like London, New York, Toyko – they have a huge amount of good press already built in; if you live there, you get a lot of credit with very little effort. The further your home territory is off the beaten path, the less people know what to think about it; unless things are shiny and pretty and fun at first glance, your town has an uphill climb. And some places just get more grief than others – they are usually the ones who need it the least, and deserve it even less.

With that chip solidly on shoulder, I approached my book of choice about Moldova a little cautiously…written by a English comedian about his travels through a struggling, post-Iron Curtain country, there seemed a good chance of it being mean-spirited. But my worries were unfounded; this was a openhearted story, told with fondness and love.

And look…it’s a movie now!

Transdniestr

I am a terrible blogger. I’ve had a hell of a day and honestly cannot string more than a few sentences together…
Therefore, I’ll go with one of my slacker-type posts and let a professional journalist explain Transnistria (or Transdniestr, if you prefer).

Transdniestr
(image from Bogdangiusca at the English language Wikipedia , from Wikimedia Commons)

 

Moldova – Trying to Work It All Out

Some general observations about Moldova:

It is the poorest country in Europe.

The biggest economic drivers are agriculture and remittances from the large segment of the population that has gone abroad to find work. The latter, combined with rather large organized crime networks, leaves the door wide open to human trafficking.

Many of the blogs, videos and general musing from Moldovans seem to be tinged with a dark sense of humor and an ability to see reality flat-on. I totally appreciate that. The country has its struggles, many of them profound, but people don’t want to be totally defined by the tough stuff. And they shouldn’t be.

It seems…quiet. It’s amazing what the world is like when there aren’t cars everywhere…

(We’ll talk about Transdneister tomorrow)