I feel like I’m at the point in my exchange trip where Russian is finally starting to become my default. I definitely do not feel comfortable communicating yet — that would take a lot more than six weeks — but I am able to get across what I’m thinking more and more. I’m also really enjoying myself here and if given the chance I would love to come back and visit Moldova.
This week has been mostly school-oriented. But you know me; I can’t help but procrastinate a little bit. (Ok, more than a little bit).
This procrastination this week has taken the form of getting a haircut, a massage, and visiting the Jewish cemetery. The haircut was pretty darn fancy; it was my first haircut ever where a hair-washing has been included! I’m a SuperCuts kinda guy. And at the reasonable price of 10 US dollars, I was very satisfied. The massage was a tad more expensive, and I do not have any way to judge its quality because it was my first (and probably only) massage experience. The zen meditation music made me want to punch something.
Yesterday was also the mid-program evaluation, which sounds scary but was really just a nice chat with the Resident Director. He informed me that I am not failing my classes. Thank Kabbalah Monster.
The Jewish Cemetery in Chisinau hidden in the northwestern corner of the city, close to the university where we are taking classes. I went with a few friends to pay our respect to the victims of the Holocaust in Moldova and I was blown away by what I saw. The cemetery is overgrown with ivy, and there are very few paths that aren’t covered in plant matter. We found it difficult to avoid stepping on gravestones at some points of our walk. The graves that are marked, however, are very ornate and many even have etched drawings of the deceased. I was able to place some stones on a few of the graves and say Kaddish. In the heart of the cemetery is an abandoned synagogue. What once was the floor is now covered in litter and more ivy. There is graffiti all over the walls and the arches are starting to crumble. There are no accessible entryways — we had to squeeze through an iron gate that was slightly ajar but stuck in the gravel. But despite all of the debris and the state of disrepair, the temple had a magical quality to it. Light came in through the dome and reflected on the broken liquor bottles, and we all stood in the center of the space in awe for about 15 minutes. Photos don’t do it justice.