Happy Easter. I told you to check back on May 5th the official date of Orthodox Easter. I went to the Easter service which started at midnight and went to about 4 am. You may know that there are no benches or seats in an Orthodox church. You have to be in good shape to pray. After the service, the priest goes outside and the entire village is gathered there with personal Easter baskets of food. The priest makes the rounds blessing the food with a good splash of holy water. Then the people head home to enjoy eating something from the basket like salami, hard boiled eggs (colored red), and home made breads. Meat is a big breakfast item since they have been fasting six weeks from meat all during "Post" which is their word for Lenten fast. On Easter Monday, which is a Moldovan holiday, I went for a little site seeing trip with the Catholic community I worship with in Orhei. First we went to Orhei Vechi which is about 15 miles from the city. It's a beautiful river valley with an old monastery built into some caves. I'm standing with Sister Mihaila (Michael) who as you may tell is from India. Next comes an Orthodox priest in procession with censor swinging. The group picture following is Fr Klaus and several parishioners. Fr Klaus is from Germany. He's served in Moldova for 17 years. Now we enter the cave monastery by way of a stairway. The man checking out the monk's former sleeping quarters is Fr. Hiani who hails from Fiji. India, Germany, Fiji; you can kind of tell the Catholic Church here is a missionary church. Our group admires the icons in the cave chapel. Next stop is a half hour drive to Curchi, another monastery stop. The red church is one of the oldest in Moldova. This monastery received a large donation from Hollywood star, Steven Segal. They have done a lot of renovation. It is one of the most beautiful in Moldova. You can see it off in the distance among the wooded hillside. Next is the interior of the Orthodox church in Orhei and the Orthodox church in my village. Today (May 12) was Pastele Blajinilor translated as Memorial Easter. Everyone comes to the cemetery to remember their deceased relatives. Think of it as a picnic. People decorate their family graves with food and gifts and some flowers. The priest moves from grave to grave saying prayers for the dead. He finishes by spilling some wine in the sign of the cross on the grave. After that, people spread out a blanket and enjoy the good food they brought and make many toasts in remembrance of their loved ones. I'll close today with the greeting people now say to each other "Hristos a inviate" Christ is risen.
Thursday, May 9, 2013
Get ready for a wild ride. A recent Saturday was the Kentucky Derby and I was observing some real good local derby talent right here in Jeloboc. Not often have I tried to upload a video on my blog so I hope you can see it and observe the frisky new colt. The rest of my pictures today are a wild ride all over the place. Our beautiful valley here where the Raut River flows so gently. The village of Jeloboc snuggled into the valley setting from a hill top view. A typical village house with fire wood readily available outside its green gate. The work room in my house where the family prepares home made cheese called "brinza". First the fresh milk is cooked to a high temperature in the glass jars you see to the right and then the congealed milk is put into draining sacks which you see center. After gravity does its job, in 24 hours, you have brinza. You can then refrigerate it and its like a dry cottage cheese. Making brinza from goats milk can make an even tastier cheese. Oh yes, the lilacs are in bloom. And so are the apple trees. Time to blow out the candles at a recent birthday party for a PCV in Bacioi. That's located just outside Chisinau to the south. My first adventure south of the capital. American and Moldovan friends enjoying an outdoor barbecue.
Friday, May 3, 2013
Put some Spring in your walk and take a picture tour of "the valley". Just head on down this rocky path to the valley below and you will find cows out grazing on new green grass. You will see new born calves, some still drinking from the dairy bar. Horses of course and geese roam the river edges. Ducks are looking after ducklings and puppies are endlessly wrestling one another. Oh to be a kid again, or were you a black sheep. You heard the one about the rooster that crossed the road? So did I. I finally captured one of my neighbors on their bikes. I admire them handling the rocky streets. Then here is one of the local " carusta " parked outside the store. Or the "carutsa" coming down the road with a trainee tied to the mare. The tulips were definitely hitting their peak this past week. Ah, after an interesting Spring walk, its always nice to come back to the comforts of home...the outhouse.