Thursday, September 30, 2010

American treat for the presentation

Each of the presenters was to bring a food snack to share from their native country.

We decided to bake brownies. (Thanks again to my friend David for sending us a box of brownie mix in a care package!)

What would normally be no trouble at all was, of course, more complicated.

The first issue was to figure out what temperature to set the oven. (I still think in Fahrenheit.) While I did manage to find/buy a measuring cup -- it is in liters and grams -- so that needs conversion as well. And, then there's the ingredients. Normally I would grease the bottom of the pan with crisco, but I have not found this here. So I greased the bottom of the pan with butter. (Or, margarine? Who knows?) I think I was using sunflower (not vegetable) oil -- but -- I could only tell you for sure if I could read Russian. I don't have any measuring spoons, so I estimated the tablespoons. I improvised until the batter looked "normal" -- poured it into the round (!) "pan" -- and hoped for the best. (I also didn't have any toothpicks to check to see if the brownies were done -- which is ironic since we've seen toothpicks at every restaurant we have eaten at in Chisinau.)

Despite the issues with the uncertainty of the ingredients (and their quantity) -- and using a round pan -- without being able to check to see if the brownies were baked -- they actually turned out well. We all enjoyed them -- and wanted more!

It must be impossible not to bake yummy brownies with a boxed mix! The beauty (and tasty-ness) of American ingenuity

Peggy's Presentation, doi

I was so proud of Peggy! She did a great job with her first presentation!

Peggy enjoyed her classmates' presentations throughout the week as well. She got to hear about their (or their parents') home countries -- Bulgaria, England, Mozambique. . . .

Peggy's presentation was scheduled at the end of the school day, so I had a chance to see the routine for lining up and heading downstairs. I also rode home with Peggy in her taxi. Here she is in the backseat with her friends from Sweden.

"My Life in Florida," by Peggy McLauchlan

My last post was "Lazy Sunday." And I haven't had a chance to upload any photos since! It's been a busy week.

I mentioned that Peggy worked on the posters for her presentation on Sunday. Here they are!

Peggy delivered her first presentation on Monday: "My Life in Florida."

Sunday, September 26, 2010

lazy Sunday

Peggy and I enjoyed a quiet Sunday. She was tired from the Girl Scout camping adventure on Saturday. So we had a low-key day. (That included a 3-hour nap!)

She made the posterboards for her presentation at school on Monday -- about what life in Florida is like.

I found a nice office supply shop on the way to the Central Market, where I bought posterboard, a dry erase marker (for my classes), and some envelopes.

And, fortunately I had many photos posted on facebook that I could copy, save to a flashdrive, and then print out at a nearby photo shop on Stefan cel Mare. Many of these photos were taken with my Blackbery and uploaded in to the "mobile uploads" album -- but the quality of the photos was pretty good.

Of course, when thinking about our life in Florida we were looking for our favorite beach and WDW photos. We also included Spring Training baseball photos and the recent space shuttle launch. Sailing. A backyard picnic (can't see our banana trees, but I hope Peggy will mention them -- fortunately the pink flamingos are in view!). Giving Dad a big hug at the Daquiri Deck. Swimming. Ice cream at the Candy Kitchen with Uncle Dave. I realized I didn't have any gecko photos. So Peggy drew one.

We made a second posterboard about "America" This is where we included the required family portrait (the 4 of us at the Mall of America -- seemed appropriate!) We were also to include famous landmarks from our country -- so we included photos of Peggy at the White House Egg Roll and also Peggy in front of the Capitol before the Inauguration. I also included photos of the Statue of Liberty, the arch in St Louis, the Golden Gate Bridge and the Grand Canyon - but I am afraid she has not seen those landmarks in person yet. We also included a photo of the US flag.

Thanks to our friend Senator Charlie Justice, Peggy has copies of the FL Senate kids book to give out and to donate to the library at QSI. And thanks to the lady at the Port Orleans Hotel at WDW, we have enough Mickey stickers to give out to the whole class.

We decided we would bake brownies to share - as our example of an "American" food. Thanks to my friend David for sending this mix to us in a care package!!

Peggy's classmates are from or have lived in countries all over the world, so I am sure this will be a fun week for her, filled with her classmates presentations. However, I must confess that I have not really felt homesick until working on this project with Peggy -- focusing on the question -- what do I like about living in Florida? And it made me miss the beach, and our little beach bungalow. Perhaps we can get over to Odessa before it gets too cold. . . .

I had picked up some modeling clay at the Market on Saturday -- so we had fun with that.

And, of course, we had to go back to our favorite playground. Peggy made a new friend, and she was able to finally enjoy the see-saw

One thing I wanted to point out when you look at the photo of Peggy and her friend on the see-saw. Check out their tights. I finally picked up a few pairs of tights for Peggy at the market. What I call "3-D" and decorated tights are all the rage here. You can't really tell in this photo - but - there are petals and leaves on the flowers on Peggy's tights that are "3-D." Pretty cool. Now that I know what size she wears, I must get a few more pairs. I have never seen anything like the girls tights they sell here.

Some things are ridiculously more expensive here -- and some things cost less. I think the tights are an example of something that is a good deal. These tights cost 25 lei -- about $2 -- which is less than Target -- and these are also much more interesting.

We enjoyed our walk around town on a beautiful Sunday afternoon -- sunny, blue skies, gentle breeze, perfect temperature.

Of course, this also meant we saw several brides. I need to get a good photo of one of the bridal cars. The wedding couple will drive, beeping down the street, in a car that is decorated in flowers and bows -- sometimes 2 gold bands or a bridal doll decorate the car as well. I wonder what important call this groom needed to accept while having his wedding photos taken

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Kyung Wha Chung plays Fritz Kreisler: Praeludium and Allegro

This was my favorite piece performed at the concert this evening. Kreisler's Praeludium and Allegro. Here is a version for you to enjoy

Click here for more information about the Organ Hall (there is an English tab)

I also include a few photos from the walk home. One photo is of City Hall. Another is of the Sky Tower.

I have found Chisinau to be a vibrant city with many things to do. There was a Jazz Festival tonight on the other end of the block, at the Teatru Eminescu, but I decided to come home to have dinner and get more work done.

Sala Cu Orga

Tonight I attended a free concert at the Organ Hall. (More photos to follow) As I entered I was greeted by the wife of the British Ambassador, who recognized me from the International Women's Club Meeting. And she gave me a program in English. The concert was simply superb. These were British musicians who will be performing all week, in the Organ Hall and also taking their music to visit those who may not get to the Organ Hall in Chisinau. In addition to the violin, the viola, and the organ -- there was also a Moldovan choir who performed as well. It was a wonderful concert. I especially enjoyed violinist Ken Aiso's performance of Kreisler's Praeludium and Allegro. Perhaps I'll post a YouTube version of that piece, if I can find one.

La Dolce Vita

It doesn't matter what time or day I walk into this shop. It is always crowded. This is the candy store where I saw the sweet fruit candies that Peggy liked on the AirMoldova flight. We have moved on to the chocolates. We had been buying the "moldovas" -- which are kind of like truffles coated with waffle flakes, so they have a slightly crunchy exterior. Today I decided to get 2 of (most of) each kind of the chocolates so we could sample them. Oh my goodness. Tonight I tried the "melodia" It has a little chocolate waffle cookie inside it. I ate both. So I will have to go back again to get one for Peggy to try. These are amazing. But I like that these are small chocolates. So you can eat one and not feel too guilty. You also buy them by the weight, so you can purchase just a few, and not have a whole bag in the cupboard.

Opening Ceremony at ULIM

Many posts ago I told you about ULIM's Opening Ceremony at the National Palace.

Here are the photos of me speaking at the event. Behind me on the dais are the Rector of ULIM and the President of Moldova.

The group photo includes the President, the Rector, the Vice Rectors and Deans, and the international faculty. There are professors teaching at ULIM this semester who are from Korea, China, Turkey, Germany, Poland, and the USA (or, SUA, as they say here: Statelor Unite ale Americii)

Here is more information about the event, on ULIM's website:

Learning Citizenship by Doing: Evaluating the Effects of a Required Political Campaign Internship in American Government | Learn and Serve America's National Service-Learning Clearinghouse

Learning Citizenship by Doing: Evaluating the Effects of a Required Political Campaign Internship in American Government | Learn and Serve America's National Service-Learning Clearinghouse

Working on a presentation about civic engagement and civic participation at US universities that I will deliver as a guest lecture this week. Did a google search to find my article about the affect of the internship in my American Govt class -- and found that my article is posted as a resource on the Corporation for National and Community Service website.

Friday, September 24, 2010


I have started to collect plastic bottle caps. If you live in Chisinau, you should, too!

The International Women's Club of Moldova collects the caps for the Regina Pacis Foundation.

Regina Pacis Foundation sells the plastic caps to a local factory where they are recycled into closures for pipes. With the money raised, the Regina Pacis Foundation provides hot lunches for 200 elderly people.

60 bottle caps = 1 loaf of bread!

Click here for more information about the program from Regina Pacis Foundation

You can recycle plastic and help feed the hungry at the same time. A win-win!

If you are not already involved with the program, I would be happy to receive your caps and deliver them at our next IWCM meeting. Thanks!!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

after school

We continue to take advantage of the pleasant weather.

Peggy wanted to go back to the "nautilus playground" which is 2 blocks from our apartment.

On the way we stopped at one of the newspaper kiosks to pick up a Barbie coloring book (in Romanian) that included a pencil and an "ipod." I was surprised when Peggy identified the "ipod" and then used technical lingo about what she was going to download from the computer - and I wonder where she picked all that up (not from her parents!)

We had fun at the "regular" playground, and then went back to the "nautilus" playground on the other side. This time I tried the ab machine. And here is Peggy trying another contraption where you swing from side to side.

I think this "playground" is awesome, and I wonder if the First Lady has seen something like this?? She would certainly be proud of our new lifestyle! We have no car, we walk everywhere, including walks to the playground where we get even more exercise after school.

Here you can learn more about the First Lady's initiative:

(I just signed up to start a personal activity log. We'll see how long it takes me to become a "presidential champion." Not too long, at the rate we're going in Moldova!)

She also tried this bouncy house, 10 lei for 10 minutes. Not a bad deal. (About 80 cents)

We stop to listen to these drummers, and then we head back home.

Aula Azerbaijan

Here is Aula Azerbaijan, the classroom where I teach U.S. Constitutional Law.

In progress: my U.S. Supreme Court Bingo "icebreaker" (The prizes (from the U.S. Supreme Court gift shop) were a big hit.)

We're still in the introductory material, but I am very much enjoying this class!

We also selected a class leader, who will serve as a student assistant, as is the custom here

Korean Event at ULIM, doi

Here are additional photos of more dancers, as well as the tae kwon do demonstration. Wow! They kicked and smacked those wooden blocks. I was hoping the wood was not going to smash into the big mirrors - or the light fixtures. At one point a chunks of wood went flying towards the Rector! A few close calls, but no damage was done (other than to the wood planks, as intended)

I include also a photo of the meeting with students in Aula Korea, so you can see another country room.

Also - as I was sitting there listening to the presentations in Korean and Romanian, my mind wandered. I looked at those women seated in front of me, wondering if they were comfortable sitting in the chairs with their purses. Then I noticed the pile of purses on the table in front of me. And then I remembered what someone told me before I came here: don't put your purse on the floor. I can't remember *why* you are not supposed to put your purse on the floor, but as I looked around this classroom, I was reminded of the custom.

I was honored to be invited by the Rector to join the luncheon with the Korean diplomats. The lunch conversation was also in Korean and Romanian (and the Vice Rector, who speaks 14 languages, was off at ANOTHER event with members of the German Parliament!) so I was without a translator. Nevertheless, it was a most enjoyable afternoon. I learned, for example, that the Rector's daughter is finishing her doctorate at Stanford and that she speaks 9 languages. (Note to self: the Cricova cabernet is quite tasty)

Korean Event at ULIM

As I have mentioned before, the Vice Rector for International Cooperation organizes several international events at ULIM each week.

On Thursday was an event featuring Korean cultural events; the Korean Consul participated in the event as well.

The event took place in the lobby near the main entrance to ULIM and was well attended.

In these photos you can see the Rector and Vice Rector (Seated near the podium), as well as the first installment of photos of the performances.

I arrived late (as soon as I could after class and office hours) - so I missed the introduction regarding this group of Moldovan musicians who performed. They were *fantastic*

Of course, I was pleased when the nai came out. And check this out -- there are Moldovan bagpipes! Who knew?! I will find out what they are called and update you in a future post. It looks much different from other bagpipes I have seen -- it is in 2 of the photos -- looks more like a big pillow cushion