Archive | April, 2012

April 15th 2012 – ПАСХА celebration in Comrat

17 Apr

Orthodox Easter ceremony on Holy Saturday in Comrat, Gagauzia, Moldova


Open fires in Comrat

7 Apr

As soon as the warm weather ousted the winter with its freezing wind and muddy roads, other issue started affecting the happiness of walkers in Comrat. Open fires.

In a day, I’m hanging out downtown on the main street, I can count several open fires, made by people that want to get rid of branches, leaves and, worst of all, any genre of garbage. Even though it’s illegal, people sets fires everywhere: by roadways, almost at the front door of their houses, in their gardens and even in public parks. Soon the air gets heavily smoky and if you happen to be on the way of one of those black gusts, you will need a shower and  an aerosol.

Even though such a open trend was somehow surprising for me, I hadn’t been astonished as much as I was when I got to see an open fire in the public park next to the church, just in front of the police station. To increase the grotesque, or the irony, a firetruck was roughly fifty meters away while a team of firemen were cutting and taking some damaged branches off a next to the open fire.

At that point, I had to take a memory picture!

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As obvious to most of the people, this way to dispose of the waste is absolutely harmful for the environment, and for the health and psychological serenity of any person. So then why so many people here in Comrat committee such a savage action? Is everybody insane? The answer is that there’s neither recycling schedule, nor a garbage collecting system in Comrat, and the issue gets worst in the villages.

How are these people supposed to get rid of their garbage?

Italian Club – second meeting at Miras Moldova, Comrat

6 Apr

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Thusrday April 5th, Comrat

That warm afternoon a surprising number of people, instead of hanging out in the sun, gathered  in Miras Moldova centre at 3.30pm for the second meeting of the Italian club,

At first, we went on with our ‘Trip to the peninsula’ watching the Power Point presentation the regions of Valle d’ Aosta and Piemonte, by the very north western border, I had prepared counting on impressing my students with pictures of the Alpi’s majesty. We ‘visited’ Aosta, Torino and Asti, and talked about horses races, sanctuaries and sausages with polenta.


After a brief review of the subject pronouns and the conjugation of the verb ESSERE (to be), we came back to the last topic of the previous lesson: ‘PRESENTARSI’ (how to introduce ourselves). After the formal and informal phases used to address people in Italian ‘CIAO, COME STAI? TUTTO BENE’ etc.., we learnt how to ask and say name and age.

‘COME TI CHIAMI?’ ‘MI CHIAMO VERONICA’ – literal  translation: How are you called?

‘QUANTI ANNI HAI?’ ‘HO 21 ANNI’ – How many years do you have?

There came the time to stand up and practice what they had just taken serious notes about. The students had to imagine to be about to join some people they had never saw before for a certain meeting at a cafè in Italy. Of course, as proper Italians, they were supposed to be in late so that each of them would have reached the table one at the time. Each of the students had to introduce themselves to the people who were already sitting down, in a way that the introducing schema had to be repeated again and again. Through repetitively saying and listening to the same phases, the students were likely to memorize them quickly.

One thing more: the students had to remember to apologize for being in late by saying ‘SCUSA/SCUSATE IL RITARDO’.

Hiding at first the embarrassment with laughs and coughs, by the end all the students managed to have outstanding performance.

The next step was to order something to drink. As we had went my  ‘Manual of Italian coffee and their variations’ presentation, they didn’t get lost when they had to choose a drink from the menu I handed to them. They used the courtesy form ‘VORREI’ (I would like..) to ask mostly for ‘CAPPUCCINO’, my favorite one.

2-Manuale caffè

I was already mouth-watering when I said ‘ I hope not to disappointed you, but chai is the only drink we have available here.’ They burst out laughing, and we took comfort in eating cookies.

Youth club at Miras Moldova, Comrat

6 Apr

The main focuses of the EVS life are both getting involved and involving the locals in activities that might streghten and enrich the community.

Case in point, the team of EVS volunteers organize the Youth Club at Miras Moldova every Tuesday at 3.30pm. The  participants have been approaching the concepts of personal identity, community, society and the relations among the three through lectures, dibates and games.

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Easy and healty Italian pasta sauce

4 Apr

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If you want to cook pasta, but you are running out of ideas for a sauce, here is a quick and easy one for an authentic and healty Italian meal.  Tonight  I had it with a friend in my apartment and we loved it!

Peppers and tomato Italian sauce for any type of pasta

olive oil                                                                                                                                                                               half an onion                                                                                                                                                               one pepper                                                                                                                                                                  plain tomato sauce                                                                                                                                                        salt                                                                                                                                                                               parsley

While past is cooking in a pot of boiling water(salty), chop half an onion very fine and sauté it with a little olive oil in a saucepan. Add a chopped pepper, stir with a wooden spoon, salt, and cook it for few minutes on a high heat till it release some of its juice. At that point pour  the plain tomato sauce in the pan, and after stirring, cover with a lid and turn the heat down. Let it cook for 5/10 minutes, but remember to stir every now and then.

When the pasta is ready, pour it in the saucepan and briefly turn the heat up, so then the sauce will blend fine with the pasta. Sprinkle fresh parsley on top, and enjoy!

Teaching Italian language in Comrat

4 Apr

Smiling nervously across the room, I skimmed over my audience’s attentive faces and I started the Italian national song on my computer at 3.32pm last Thursday, at Miras Moldova centre, Comrat: the first Italian club meeting has just begun and it was on me, as the leader of the activity, to bring it to a satisfactory conclusion.

The week before I had put immediately my name on the table when the vice-coordinator of Miras Moldova had suggested us EVS volunteers to organize an Italian language course for the youth in Comrat. What an amazing opportunity to share my identity and my native language, I thought.

First of all, I wanted to show ‘my students’ that Italy is something more than the pizza-and-mafia country we are usually depicted nowadays. Besides giving them the basis for Italian language, I was eager from the very beginning to make the youngsters understand the Italian cultural richness by looking to the history and peculiarities of each region, so I decided to go sightseeing on a with my students all through the peninsula. Power point is the tool I will use for this virtual journey: every session will include a brief yet meaningful presentation of a region, and  by the end the students might feel almost like they have been all around Italy.

Here is a general view of Italy we went through in the first meeting of the Italian club, as an introduction of our ‘Trip through the peninsula’.


My second target for the Italian club is to provide an intensive course about the basis of Italian language.  As I love to see people having fun while they learn, I’ve realized the best way to teach is by interchanging the sit-and-listen-carefully parts with learning activities that require the student to shake their numb back a little too.

The grammar topics we approached in the first meeting last Thursday were the Latin alphabet, subject pronouns (IO, TU, LUI, LEI, ESSO, NOI, VOI, LORO), the conjugation of the verb to be (SONO, SEI, E’, SIAMO, SIETE, SONO), the concept of missing the subject because unnecessary in Italian and the courtesy form for address people formally (pronoun LEI and verb in 3′ person sing). The theory, then, was alternated with simple games: for instance, after going over the pronouns, we practiced them through the energizer ‘Pronouns’ Salad’ (a slightly variation of ‘Fruit Salad’).

After this, we started with some Italian phases for introducing our self. That day we focused just on the most common greeting ‘A: Ciao, come stai? B:Tutto bene, e tu? A: Bene, grazie.’ , and by the end I was so pleased I noticed the excitement in my students’ eyes.

By saying those few words, the youngsters were already feeling  a little Italian.


April fooled us today

1 Apr

April Fool’s day – Today the weather here in Cormat is completely nuts.

8 am – windy, and overcast. 5°c

13 pm – tiny flakes of snow flow from a very dull sky

17 pm – the sun shines. 12°c

I swear this is the most original April Folls’ day I’ve ever had;)