When I first found out that the Peace Corps was considering sending me to Moldova I had mixed emotions.
I had previously traveled in Latin America and did not know anything about Eastern Europe.
As I began to do more research I discovered that Moldova is the poorest country in Europe and the smallest in Eastern Europe. It finally hit me that Moldovans have been in the ongoing process of building up their communities, educating their children and growing their economy.
This INSPIRED me.
The idea of having the opportunity to watch a country work towards change is exciting to me.
I also began to see a personal connection between Moldova and the place where I grew up: Malden.
Malden is a city filled with people of all different walks of life. Growing up I often heard criticism and jokes made about Malden (which I also find funny). But, as I got older I realized that this wasn’t just a city outside of Boston, but a special place where a diverse group of people, live, work and interact peacefully (not always, but you get my point).
Over the years I have seen Malden develop and gain more recognition. More apartments are being built, as well as more locally owned businesses. Now that there is more to do here people are more aware of the city and it has more of a presence. Now the positive things are becoming more visible. Of course, rent is also increasing and it is likely that many will be pushed out of the city, but the hope is that Malden will preserve it’s diversity and authenticity.
My point here is that many people weren’t aware of Malden similar to the way that many people in the U.S. (or in different parts of the world) may have never heard of Moldova. Although this may seem like a stretch, this comparison made me realize that it is important to allow a culture and community to grow and be RECOGNIZED with the hopes of preserving their authenticity.
My Peace Corps service started the day that I told someone about Moldova, even if it was a random fact.
Just as I grew to love and have pride in my city of birth I see the same happening with Moldova.
I speak about Malden with so much enthusiasm because it taught me that everyone comes from a different place with a different story.
I know that Moldova may not be as ethnically diverse as Malden, have a ton of Pho restaurants, Dunkin Donuts, nail salons, dollar stores or Boda Borg, but none the less I am excited to be able to call it my home over the next 27 months.
My hope is to bring all of the stories I have gathered from Malden and somehow share them in Moldova.
A couple of my friends decided to marry Malden and Moldova creating: Maldendova…thanks guys 😃
My full name is now Angela MALDENDOVA Spignese. I think it suits me.
I look forward to sharing all of my different experiences with you, the good and the bad, from Malden to Moldova.
Cu Dragoste…With Love