AshleyBurman’s Weblog

March 8, 2009

THANK YOU!

Filed under: One World — ashleyburman @ 11:52 am

I first want to thank my family, in particular, my mom for her part in getting the word out about this project and Moldova to all of her friends.   I could have never had this project fully funded without her dedication.

Thanks for believing in this project, this community and in me!

I also want to send a big THANK YOU to everyone that was able to donate or was able to send the information about my project on to others who were able to donate.  Your thoughts and prayers have helped more than you can ever imagine. 

I am sending a big HUG to you all.  THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!

Multumesc foarte mult…de la inima si sufletul meu!  (Thank you very much…from my heart and soul.)  –It sounds better and makes more sense in Romanian!

February 2, 2009

Thank You for your help!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ashleyburman @ 7:10 pm

From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU!

If you donated, please let me know at ashley.burman@gmail.com.  I would like to send you an update and personally THANK YOU!

https://www.peacecorps.gov/index.cfm?shell=resources.donors.contribute.projDetail&projdesc=261-181

We had our first donation within the last 24 hours! I can feel my nerves calming! =P

~Ash

November 22, 2008

What is to come…

Filed under: Uncategorized — ashleyburman @ 2:11 pm

So after posting all of these post today, I realized…WOW there is a lot.  I still need to post a little more about Budapest, Dad and Brad come to Moldova, My partner, The School System, and my latest trip to Italy, Switzerland and France.  So, I will post those later, enjoy what I have for now.

I really wish I enjoyed writing, it would make this all so much easier!  ;-)

Herding/Shepherding

Filed under: Another Day as a Moldovan — ashleyburman @ 1:32 pm

Herding and Shepherding in Moldova, what an adventure.

In Moldova almost every village family has a cow. My host family included. The cow, which is usually female, is their source of milk, sour cream, cheese, etc. as well as every year they get the cow pregnant for meat or to sell. For about 8 months out of the year the cows are taken out to the fields. As for my village, we are split into two parts. Half of the village takes their cows to one open field and the other half to a field on their side of the village. Our half has only about 60 or so cows. From sun rise to sun set we head out with the cows. This is done on a rotating basis. Every family with a cow has to herd the cows. This turns out to be about three or four times a year. A group of four is needed to be sure no cows are lost or left behind and to be sure they do not eat any of the crops.

When I first went herding I was with my host dad, Charlie (a volunteer), and Misha (a friend of my hdad’s that they paid). One of us had to be there at sunrise and the rest of us arrived about ½ hour later with the cows as they walked to the meeting place. From 7 am until about 6 pm we were out in the field. I was in the back. I had to keep the cows moving. We were on a hill with a good amount of trees. So I was going up and down the hill all day making the cows move forward. You would think that we covered a large distance, but the truth is the process is very slow. We also let them stand and eat for an hour or so and then move on at a very slow pace. At lunch time we sat on a little hill and had some lunch while the cows all took a short nap. We then started our trip back to where we began. The cows were wonderful. They were so friendly and they enjoyed a little human contact and attention. (A little scratch on the head made them happy)

It was a good experience but it was also a very long and boring(ish) day. BUT the worst part of this particular day was that I was on antibiotics for two tick bites I had earlier that week. The antibiotics made me very sensitive to the sun and my face felt as if it was burning off throughout the day. For almost 3 weeks after my day herding I had a red face.

Shepherding is a very similar experience. Shepherding is only done a few months out of the year. The coldest months (Dec-Feb) the sheep and goats are home. During the months of March and April the sheep and goats are taken out to the fields (an entirely different field in the village) to graze and eat. May to sometime in November the sheep and goats are cared for by someone else that is paid by the host families. We have two locations where sheep and goat live for the warmer months. The people that live with the sheep and goats take them out to graze and then milk and sheer them. The milk is them made into goat cheese and is given to the families with sheep and goats at a reduced price.

In March, Charlie and I went with my host dad shepherding. We took our two sheep and our one goat and headed out to the fields. As we walked down the road we found Loda (my dog) following us. I had to take her back two times because she kept getting out of the yard to come with us. In the middle of a road all of the sheep and goats met and we led them out to the field. We started in and apple orchard where the kids were jumping of the trees and the goats were climbing the trees to eat the leaves. While there we had a sheep give birth to a lamb. It was so quick. After just a few hours the lamb was walking on its own. The idea is the same, we walked slow and stopped a lot guiding the sheep and goats and watching over them so they did not run off or eat something they were not suppose to.

On our way back into the village some of the goats decided to walk off the road and into a person’s garden. At that point others started to follow. By the time I got to the side of the pack to move them back onto the road almost all of the sheep and goats were where they were not suppose to be. There I was running back and forth trying to force a herd of sheep and goats and every time I made one side of the herd move the other side came back into the garden. It was a sight for everyone…the American who had no idea how to herd sheep. It did not stop there. When we made it to the top of the hill which was the first house in the village a goat went around a fence and into someone’s yard. I followed it to lead it back to the road. We ended up circling a house for about 10 minutes. Eventually Charlie came to help me; he also had trouble getting the goat to get out of this person’s yard. When we finally got the goat back on the road it turned out its house was the house next door and it was trying to go home the back way!!!

All I can say is that both days were quite the adventure but I am very thankful I am not a Shepherd/Herdsman.

BUDAPEST!!!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ashleyburman @ 1:31 pm

In August I took another trip. But this was no ordinary trip; this was a trip with two people who had never had the chance to travel in Europe before. This was a trip with two people I had not seen since I left for Moldova. It was a trip in which I did not have to spend a single dime =)!Meeting my dad and brother in Budapest was great. We did everything you could imagine. We went to the Castle, we went the park, we saw a Bath, we took a cruise, we ate lots of very good food, we saw Roman remains, and we walked a lot. It was great. I think it was a great experience for Brad and my Dad.

I arrived at the Budapest airport about 4 hours before my brother and dad. I waited for them to arrive without any patience. When they finally arrived I help a sign with their names on it. (I was in a crowd with others holding signs and I was trying to be funny…it really was not that funny) What did happen to be funny though, was when my dad and brother came out of customs with about 150 lbs of luggage. I still cannot believe they traveled all this way with bags full of gifts and sports equipment.

The new volunteers ARRIVE!

Filed under: Peace Corps, Uncategorized — ashleyburman @ 1:30 pm

In June I had been eagerly awaiting the arrival of the new volunteers. As one of the Volunteer Mentor Program Coordinators I was going to be able to put into action all of the work I had been doing to prepare for this day and the coming summer.  We had contacted and answered almost every question possible before the big arrival day of the new group, but we knew they had so much more to learn in a short 10 week period!

In mid-June Moldova group 23 arrived from America. They were bright eyed and full of energy. It was a good feeling. I felt so great to be able to not only help them but to also understand exactly what they were feeling and going through. They were a wonderful group and I had a great time getting to know all of them.

A group of us (the mentors) all went to the airport on the day of their arrival and welcomed them with big signs and a lot of noise. I will not lie…we did have several times were we cheered for people we thought were the new volunteers but turned out to be a group of volunteers from a church in America. After we welcomed them we went to a school close to Peace Corps where other volunteers welcomed the new group with cheers. For the rest of that weekend we helped the new group get acquainted with the city and Moldova by taking them out to dinner at night and taking them to see the EuroCup on a jumbo screen. Overall I think they all had just as good of an arrival experience as we had.

Summer TIME

Filed under: Random, Uncategorized — ashleyburman @ 1:25 pm

What a summer. I had so many plans for this summer. I wanted to do a hike with Charlie through Northern Moldova, I wanted to have a camp for the students, I wanted to finish the project proposal we have been working on, and I wanted to do a camp with a few other volunteers. None of this happened. Instead I worked all summer on Pre-Service Training. I had several sessions in which another volunteer and I lead. We planned and organized several of the training sessions for the new volunteers. Another volunteer and I changed the format of several of our work materials and also had training sessions. My summer was filled with me going back and forth between Chisinau and my village. It was not a bad summer; I just did not feel as if I did everything I wanted to do. I did have several English clubs throughout the summer which were successful. And Charlie and I did take a one day hiking trip.

Last Bell

Filed under: Holidays, Uncategorized — ashleyburman @ 1:23 pm

Last Bell is just another ceremony. But this last bell I was not in the mood to praise my school. I had a terrible last week of school. Two weeks prior to the end of school another teacher and I had planned a Volunteer Day in our community. I talked to all of the about what it meant to be a Volunteer and how we could volunteer in the community. As a school we decided to clean the village. The week before the event we talked to the principal and he agreed and decided that we could do the event on Tuesday but the students could only do it after classes because classes were very important the last week. We agreed. But on Monday after 3rd or 4th bell the assistant principal came to me and said Volunteer Day would be cancelled. She did not want to tell me this but she did not have a choice because the principal left her to clean-up his dirty work and mistakes. He made her tell all of the students to come to school the next THREE days with supplies to hoe, etc in the fields. The principal promised a local agricultural businessman that he would allow the kids to work for him during school hours. This also meant that the teachers needed to form a rotation to supervise the students and their work. None of this was discussed with anyone. I did not agree. I was very upset. So on the last day of school during the Last Bell the principal wanted me to give a speech. I refused (as I did for the First Bell this year).

The principal then gave his speech, gave awards to the “smartest” students, congratulated different students and organizations and then gave me and my partner a gift for our work we had been doing for our school and with our club. It was just another day of sucking-up and fakeness.

Loda

Filed under: My Best Friend — ashleyburman @ 1:20 pm

In March Loda got pregnant. Not something I planned but not something I tried to prevent either. I was in Chisinau at the time she got pregnant with a dog my host dad made her meet. She was supposed to give birth on May 22. A few days prior I began to check her temperature and hand feed her. She was not looking very well. I called the vet and did all of the reading I could to understand what was happening and what was going to happen. The day of the birthing her temperature was not going down like it was suppose to and things did not seem right. I was in a daze. I had no idea what to think or what to do. Everyone was telling me what to do, but it was all different information. I called the vet and he said everything was fine and normal. That night I stayed up all night. Every 10 minutes I was outside with Loda. I would stay there as long as I could then I would come inside for a few minutes and go back out. It was around 3 am when Loda was having a hard-time breathing. She was not eating or drinking and things just were not right. I had nothing I could do. It was my first dog pregnancy and I really did not understand what I was supposed to be looking for. Around 3:25 am Loda passed away. I just stared at her. I could not believe it. My best friend was gone. I ran to the small house and woke my host mom up scream “she died, she died” my host mom and I ran down to the school to wake my host dad up. After several minutes we got him out of bed and out of the school (When he works there he has to sleep there). We all went together to the barn and my host dad confirmed she was gone by saying “Ashley come here” I came over to him and he said “Yes she is dead”. I had been there all night watching her die. I did not need to see her again dead. I quickly walked away balling. I went to my room and had no idea what to do. I called my friends. Neither of them answered. So then I called my mom and dad. They called me back and we talked until I calmed down. I had trouble sleeping for the next few days and I was in a trance for almost two weeks. I have lost people close to me but for some reason this was different. I cared for her, she was my baby. She was so special to me and she meant the world to me. I needed her here in Moldova. Emotions and feelings are on a high rope here and it is very difficult to understand why we react the way we do to certain things here that we know would affect us differently in America.

May 9th

Filed under: Holidays — ashleyburman @ 1:17 pm


May 9th is another day off school in Moldova. If you are a history buff you may know why. May 9th represents the day WWII ended. Moldovans may not know much about the Holocaust and they may not understand who the Nazis were and what they did, but they do know very well that May 9th was the day that the war ended. To show their respect they have a ceremony every year in the memory and honor of those that served in the armed forces. Ever village has a WWII monument. The one in my village is three very large silver sword looking things that are pointing high up in the air and are placed on a circle base which has pictures engraved in it. On May 9th the Mayor, School Director and other important people in the village including a selected few of the students gave speeches and or sang to honor the veterans of the village. There were a lot of people who arrived in their Sunday best to the event which lasted 2 hours or so. It really was a beautiful ceremony.

November 17, 2008

Status?

Filed under: Uncategorized — ashleyburman @ 7:31 pm

My current status is BUSY.  I am busy.  This is not something new for me…but now it is work in two different languages and my brain hurts!  I need to update this blog, I know.  So if I make a promise then I have to keep it.  By the end of the week, that is my promise.  (Saturday) I will have information about…Summer events until now!  And also a very long awaited explanation of the school system here.  WHY did I not post about the schools earlier?  Well it has taken me a year to really understand.  I feel I have a good grasp on the culture, people and situation of the Moldovan school situation.  And if you need a little (I am looking for a word to put here but I cannot think of it in English…this is what happens when you speak more than one language) if you need a little taste or tease of what is to come just know that Moldovan teachers just went on strike last week.  BUT the school in my region decided not to do an Active Strike…which means that they were not on strike at all.  Politics!!!   Just you wait…there is so much to read about.  Saturday!

August 19, 2008

Oh Where, Oh Where, did Ashley GO???

Filed under: Uncategorized — ashleyburman @ 1:44 pm

I have had a bit of a hiatus from updating this blog and I apologize.  Nevertheless, I am aware of how these blog things work…people rarely remember to look at them.  With this I imagine not to many people have missed reading my writing too much…oh but wait…there is so much you have all missed…and because of that I will FINALLY update you!
March: After my wonderful trip to Istanbul with my friends, Karen and Jimmy, I came back and wrote on my blog…not a great blog…but sufficient enough.  Then after a short time, my AC adapter to my computer broke.  Actually just the wire split close by the part that goes into the computer.  There were sparks and everything.  Without the adapter, I did not have a workable computer.  Since my computer was an Apple, I could not find a replacement in Moldova and because it is such an old model, I could not use any of the other volunteers’ adapters.  I tried to bid on the part I needed on E-bay…but I did that through a friend over the phone and it did not work very well.  I told my dad about the situation and since my birthday was coming up and my family (mom and dad) love and miss me so very much they were so kind to buy me a brand new wonderful SONY laptop.  The hard part was figuring out how to get the computer to me.  It did not seem like a good idea to mail the new computer…I would never trust a computer entering the mailing system here.  The only option, which was a very good option, was for the computer to come with Karen’s friend from Dayton, Ohio.  (That shows you how lucky I am)  Karen’s friend, Angie was to come (came) in April around the end of the month.  Angie was so nice as to bring my computer with her on her long journey to Moldova.
Because I was without a computer for a month and a half, I was very behind on a lot of my work…I have been doing my normal work and trying to catch up… this is the reason in which I have not updated this blog…Again, my apologize.
In addition, a big THANK YOU to my Dad and Mom for my wonderful computer that I use very often.

Other things in March:
After my vacation I had to go back to Chisinau (the capital/PC office) the weekend after for a training I was co-leading.  Here we have a group of volunteers who are apart of a network.  It is called the Peer Support Network (PSN).  We basically do things to support and help all volunteers.  We are trained with different  techniques on problem resolution…almost like RA training.  So I joined this group in December and in March I was leading a training with some friends for the new group of volunteers that arrived after us.  While I was there, it was during Loda’s (my boxer) menstruation.  It was her second week which meant she was now interested in other dogs for a little exercise. So without telling me my host dad took Loda to another dog and she had some fun with the boy dog.  I later come home to see Loda in the back of the yard in a small barn thing with a cage keeping her in.  I got very upset and found out that they took her to get her pregnant.  (Now my Host dad is not fully to blame, I am too, I did not explain the whole dog pregnancy to them…their cycle and that sometimes a bigger dog is not ready for sex their first period.  My host family also spoke of how they wanted a dog just like Loda and insinuated very strongly that they wanted  Loda to have puppies so they could have one.  I was always unsure about this, because I am not for extra puppies running around in Moldova…or anywhere, but my host family was so helpful and kind to let me have her in the first place, so I felt as if I owed them)  Everything happened so fast, and I was not around, so, she got pregnant.

April:
My Birthday-
My birthday fell on a Friday this year.  And most people know, I am not really into celebrating my birthday.  No need for attention to be on me…I can just do a little dance if I want peoples attention, no need to be born…I think being born is not original…but my dancing is =)!  So, my friends and family respected my feelings.  My partner and friend Tatiana (club partner) and my tutor and other friend Oxana came to my house and gave me a gift…a cake, and wrote me a poem.  It was so nice.  I then went to school, (I did not have classes that day) and took the cake and bought some juice to share with my colleagues.  We had a little masa (table- meal) and ate the cake and some cookies that I made.  There were also a ton of flowers on my desk that students left for me.
Later that night, as a family we had pizza and all ate together.  My host brother gave me some flowers, my host mom and dad gave me a soap holder in which they bought with me there in the store with them…and my host mom showed me what she was making, which should be done in the fall, and my sister…well.  It was around 9 pm or so and we (hbrother, hsister, hmom) went to the store down the hill.  (Our stores are small and have some food and some little trinkets you can buy)  So we enter the store and all three of them start looking at the trinkets and then speak in Russian…in any case, they tried very hard to be sly, but it just does not work when you ask someone to go to the store with you and then buy them their gift in front to them.  When we arrived home, my sister came into my room a little later and gave me a very nice picture frame.  This is where you learn, that the thought is what really counts.  They really just wanted to give me something, and as most of you know, I am a little difficult to buy for…so it was hard for them, and I am very thankful for everything they gave me, it was all very thoughtful and nice.
But again, nothing beats sweets!! =)  (And a new computer!!)

That next day, Saturday, I went into Chisinau to file my taxes electronically.  And later went out to a nice French Café for dessert…it was delicious!  I went with a few of my friends!!! (Karen included of course)

Moldovan Easter:
Since they are Orthodox here, there are a lot of similarities to the Catholic faith.  They have a period of Lent.  Which is pretty difficult.  They are not suppose to eat meat or anything that comes from an animal…eggs, milk, etc.  So their diet is limited.  A lot of people actually only participate in this for a week of Lent instead of the entire 40 days, etc.  This was also a learning experience for them and for me.  I participated in the Catholic Lent and was given the opportunity to explain what we do as Catholics and why.
Anytime there is a big religious holiday here, Moldovans make massive amounts of foods that all take a really long time to make.  My host mom and sister cooked all day the day before Easter which was the last Sunday in April.  There were several types of salads, meats, sarmale, crepes, placinta, etc.  On Sunday, we really did nothing…absolutely nothing.  Around 6 am my host mom and my neighbor Stella got up and went across the street to the church and had the food that was prepared blessed with holy water, incense, and prayers, etc.  We also had some eggs that were dyed red, which represents something that I am not aware of.  At that point, instead of people saying Good Afternoon or Day, it switches from Easter day for the next 40 days to “Christ has risen“,  and the response is “With truth he has risen.”
Later that morning my hbrother, hsister and I took red eggs and hit one another’s eggs to see whose was the strongest.  Who ever cracked the other two and theirs did not crake will be lucky in the next year.  I won…but I had a goose egg which is stronger than a hens egg.  Then around 1 or so we ate this big meal and it looked as if we had not eaten anything because there was that much food.  Later I went to my partner/friends house and had dinner with her and her family and her marriage godparents. (There are baptismal godparents and marriage godparents here)

That next week was spent preparing for the next Sunday.  We went to the cemeteries and painted the crosses and cleaned up around the burial sites of my host families family members.  And of course it rained…and rained.  But trudging through the mud to get to the new cemetery in the rain was worth the adventure and learning experience!
The day that we went and painted/cleaned the burial sites, I was invited to a neighbors house for pizza.  This lady, who I call Jean, has a daughter and sister in America.  She goes herself to America every six months for six months to work for a Russian family.  She is a very nice lady and she started to come to my Adult English club.  She wanted to know some English for her next trip to America.  She had her brother and sister in-law over and invited me to come and have pizza with them.  I did not realize there were other people there, I thought it was just going to be her and her family, so I arrived in my rain boots, rain jacket, wet and late.  But they accepted me and fed me some very delicious pizza!
Still to come….
The Sunday After Easter.
This is what I call the Day of the Dead.  It was another rainy day.

May 9th

Loda:

Last Bell:

Summer:

The new volunteers ARRIVE!

PST:

BUDAPEST!!!

DAD and BRAD come to MOLDOVA!

July 24, 2008

Congratulations…

Filed under: Uncategorized — ashleyburman @ 11:29 am

Congratulations to Mike and Melissa Meldon on their new arrival! 

Anna Marie Meldon

She is a very adorable baby!

 

Also, good luck to Rich Franklin on his next fight…UFC 88 on Sept. 6th in Atlanta against Matt Hamill.

TKO? =)

Text ME! It is free

Filed under: Random — ashleyburman @ 11:19 am

Hey friends and family…Want to send me a text….I would love a nice note from you once in awhile.  Now you can send me 10 text messages a day for FREE! 

Here is the website:

http://www.orange.md/

On the upper right side of the page you will find a box that says Orange Text and shows an envelope.  Click that box…then a new window should come up.

Where it says:

 de la: erase websms and write your name

The scroll should be to +37369

Blank: 859469

Big Blank: WRITE YOUR MESSAGE HERE!

Then put the orange code in.

Lastly PRESS trimite sms  (Send text)

If you have verizon I may be able to write back!

Have a great day.

June 30, 2008

Starting a New Life Together

Filed under: Uncategorized — ashleyburman @ 11:32 am

Congratulations to my cousin Andy and his new wife Robin on their wedding.  I heard it was beautiful and I cannot wait to see the video. 

Congratulations to Taylor and David on their wedding!

June 26, 2008

Loda

Filed under: Uncategorized — ashleyburman @ 10:31 am

My Sweet Baby Girl!!!

Another day with the animals…Herding

Filed under: Uncategorized — ashleyburman @ 10:26 am

I will write more about this day as well…Check out the pictures for now.

My Front Yard

Filed under: Uncategorized — ashleyburman @ 10:22 am

This is the view from the door entering my house and the entrance to my village written in Russian…

A Day Being a Village-women

Filed under: Uncategorized — ashleyburman @ 10:20 am

Sheaperding!  A day I could only experience here…

Check out the pictures.  I will write more later.

March 9, 2008

Congratulations!!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ashleyburman @ 10:22 am

I have a few congratulations to give: Brent:Congratulations on your new house purchase! Mike and Melissa:Congratulations on your coming addition to your family! :) Rachel and Darren:Congratulations on your new future in Colorado!  (And I am looking forward to the Golden Retriever that will hopefully be coming soon)            Lastly, the latest news I received:Congratulations to my cousin Julie on her Engagement!  ~I am already sad I will be missing my cousin Andy’s wedding hope not to miss this one too!I can not believe so many of the Marzhauser’s are getting married!   I am so happy for all of you ;-)

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