After the April Fools day post, several people have inquired as to the real and the more ‘mundane’ details of our life here in Chisinau. So here it is. It’s nothing glorious, but it suits us just fine.
In the morning we each take a bath in a long, deep cast iron tub because the shower doesn’t work. That’s actually fairly common here, which is why the landlord is in no rush to fix it.
The kids have breakfast cereal most mornings these days, though scrambled eggs, pancakes, and french toast are nice stand-ins on occasion.
We buy milk in little 1 liter bags and it’s pasteurized but not homogenized, which means it settles. We pour it into a pitcher and swirl it around in the pitcher before pouring it. It’s not as processed so it’s only good for about 3 days and it tastes incredible! I’m spoiled now forever – I’ll never want American milk again.
I bought some knitting yarn but haven’t found the right size needles yet, so no joy with knitting so far. My yarn is calling my name though… It’s a Turkish brand that I used to buy on Ebay, and it’s really great yarn.
Owen still takes 2 naps a day, so that limits how productive I can be out of the house. If his morning nap is short we can hop on a ‘rutiera’ (converted van) or bus and ride about 25 minutes into the center of town – that’s where all the really good supplies and shops are. Otherwise, we go for a long walk in our neighborhood. There’s a pharmacy, small grocery store, dry cleaners, and electronics store. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately, for my wallet’s sake) there’s no fabric or yarn store in our neighborhood. The whole city is very walkable, and we love that.
I can’t take Owen on a bus in a stroller, so I have to ‘wear’ him in my Ergo Baby. He can be on my back, my front, or my hip and it’s really comfy for both of us.
A liter of milk only lasts us a day, so we go to some sort of store daily. Bread (thank goodness we can buy it sliced now!) doesn’t stay fresh very long either because the bread here isn’t loaded with preservatives. But oh, it’s yummy, and fantastic for french toast!
Right now root vegetables are easy to find and cheap, so I use a lot of those in cooking. Potatoes, carrots, onions, and beets too – but I prefer not to cook with beets… Send me your root veggie recipes – I’m running out of ways to cook potatoes and carrots.
I wake up every morning to a sound similar to rain outside, only not. I figured out what it is this morning – someone a few floors up shakes their rugs out every morning and the dirt comes raining down. If I could I’d do the same, but because there are bars on our windows (like all first floor apartments here), we have to walk our rugs outside and beat them with a special bar made just for beating rugs.
My favorite snack is bread with ‘chocolate butter.’ The chocolate butter makes any piece of bread taste like a buttery croissant with a hershey bar spread over it.
If there was one wardrobe piece that I couldn’t live without it would be my black leather Coldwater Creek knee-high boots with 2-inch heal and pointy toe. (And remember, we walk everywhere we go.) Shoes are important here. A person who respects himself (or herself) wears nice shoes, always cleaned or buffed of mud spots (or in my case, baby drool). I can usually tell an American tourist from as far away as I can make out their shoes. In the summer I’ll put my boots away and don my red peep-toe high healed wedges.
The lady at the little convenience store outside my apartment knows me well, and knows what I like. She’s always eager to upsell me milk, yogurt, sour cream, and the freshest bread and cookies they have. She’s even given me products and told me to come back another day to pay for them when she didn’t have change. She asks about my kids and knows what kind of cheese we like. It’s nice.
I do laundry every morning. We have a Russian washing machine, with all the settings in Russian (Samsung though). But no dryer, so everything gets hung to dry on the balcony or on a rack in Bruiser’s room. Most things are dry within 24 hours.
Our apartment is mostly hardwoods, with poorly laid linoleum in the kitchen and tile in the bathrooms. I have no use for a vacuum, but the broom, dustpan, and mop are my friends.
On weekends we usually take the kids to one of the malls here – there are a couple big malls and one has a play area for kids. $2 for an hour to play there. In the summer we’ll probably just take them to one of the parks – those are abundant here. Sundays are church for most of the day. Morning church starts at 11:30, ends after about 2 hours. If Eugene’s preaching we show up early. Then time for lunch and kids’ naps (or quiet time). Every other week we have an ‘International’ church that we go to on Sunday evening.
I got spoiled in the US with all-natural cleaning supplies, and even started a business based on them. They don’t have those here. I finally found a dish soap that doesn’t eat the skin off my hands, but it still dries them out. Now I just use vinegar, lemon juice, and baking soda for most purposes.
Our kids are usually the loudest wherever we go, but they’re also usually the happiest – or at least the smileyest. I haven’t figured that out either, just noticed that they make more noise and smile more in public than other kids.
Bean and Little Man share a bed. We’re hoping to find them a sturdy bunk bed, but so far no luck. It’s here, it’s just a matter of finding the right one.
Our living room is also our master bedroom. That means every morning we have to take the sheets and blakets off the bed, put them in one of the kids’ rooms, and fold the bed back into a couch. Reverse that every night. The kids love to play on our folded up bedding. Much fun.
Well, that’s it folks. It is what it is. Not glorious or exotic, but it’s us. It’s good for us for now.