September 5, 2004: Headlines: COS - Moldova: Huntington Herald Dispatch: Moldova RPCV Nicole Shets says the joys of homecoming are all in the plastic shopping bags

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Moldova: Peace Corps Moldova : The Peace Corps in Moldova: September 5, 2004: Headlines: COS - Moldova: Huntington Herald Dispatch: Moldova RPCV Nicole Shets says the joys of homecoming are all in the plastic shopping bags

By Admin1 (admin) (pool-141-157-13-188.balt.east.verizon.net - 141.157.13.188) on Monday, September 06, 2004 - 6:33 pm: Edit Post

Moldova RPCV Nicole Shets says the joys of homecoming are all in the plastic shopping bags

Moldova RPCV Nicole Shets says the joys of homecoming are all in the plastic shopping bags

Moldova RPCV Nicole Shets says the joys of homecoming are all in the plastic shopping bags

The joys of homecoming are all in the plastic shopping bags

Recently, I finished my Peace Corps service in Moldova.

How have I changed, you may ask, since I left my native mountains more than two years ago? Well, now my hair is pink, I have even less patience when waiting in line, I can wear the same clothes for several days in a row, I can make beet soup.

People have expressed concern for my safety while living and traveling abroad. "You know who likes Americans? Other Americans," Iíve heard. But I havenít felt like a target, and I have encountered many bus, train and street angels whoíve helped me find my way -- the young woman in Paris, for example, who helped me lug my enormous suitcase up the stairs of the metro station.

Coming home, I realize afresh that America is a shopperís paradise. I hear the siren song almost daily and push around a cart in a store not because I urgently need something, but just because I can.

Iím also struck by the number of plastic bags we use. At the checkout, I donít think Iíve bought much, but suddenly I have four or five bags, none of them very full, to carry to the car.

In Chisinau, Moldovaís capital, plastic was a problem, too. In general, Moldovans are champions of re-using and repairing:

A soda bottle later holds sunflower oil or house wine. Plastic bottle caps stitched together become a car seat cushion or bathroom mat.

But when I would muster the gumption to ask the supermarket cashier in my halting Romanian if I might reuse my wrinkly grocery sack, sheíd say yes but look at me as if Iíd sacrificed all the dignity an adult with a 6-year-oldís vocabulary and a thick accent can have.

Even at the open markets, vendors would insist on putting my packet of cocoa or laundry soap in a little sack. It seemed an insult to refuse, and depressing, I thought, that a sign of affluence is having more disposable stuff in your life. Around apartment buildings and parking lots, white supermarket bags and small sacks blew around like weightless jellyfish the colors of butter mints.

I didnít mean to write about plastic. I intended to write about who and what I missed: my grandmas, black bean burritos, free refills, etc. But I just got back from Wal-Mart, and I had to unload all the bags.

Nicole Sheets is a returned Peace Corps volunteer and a Barboursville native. She can be reached by e-mail at moldovanicole@yahoo.com. Her column appears on the Life page the first Sunday of each month.





When this story was posted in September 2004, here was the front page of PCOL Magazine:


Director Gaddi Vasquez: The PCOL Interview Director Gaddi Vasquez: The PCOL Interview
This month we sat down for an extended interview with Peace Corps Director Gaddi Vasquez. Read the entire interview from start to finish and we promise you will learn something about the Peace Corps you didn't know before.

Then read the questions and answers one by one and leave your comments on the issues raised during the interview including Infrastructure Upgrades and the new Situation Room at Headquarters, Is there a Budget Crunch this year at Peace Corps, Peace Corps' Long Term Expansion, the Changes to the Five-Year Rule made last year, Safety and Security Issues, the Cooperative Agreement with NPCA, RPCVs in Policy Making Positions at Peace Corps Headquarters, Peace Corps' Departure from Russia in 2002, Director Vasquez's Accomplishments as Director, the Peace Corps Safety and Security Bill before Congress, Continuity at the Agency during Changes in Administration, the Community College Program, and the Director's Message to the Returned Volunteer Community.


Read the stories and leave your comments.






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Story Source: Huntington Herald Dispatch

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Moldova

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