Earlier this week, I got an email from the head of the IWCM (International Women's Club of Moldova) asking me whether I'd be willing to do an interview with the local newspaper Timpul. It's Europe Day on Saturday and they would like to portray a European family. I asked Doug and he said, "Sure." So I wrote back and said, "Sure." (That's how European I am. I didn't even think about the US connection first; after all, Doug does have an Irish passport.)
The reporter called me the next day and asked me whether she and another reporter and a photographer could come by the same day. I said, "Sure." However, if they wanted to meet Doug as well, they would need to come around 6 pm.
They came a little after 7 pm, apologetic - our street seems obscure (it's on all the maps but somehow, that seems not to make a difference). Taxis can't find it, and the reporters had trouble, too. They were really nice and friendly and we sat down and chatted.
They asked about Moldova and how we like it, whether we expect Moldova to join the EU at all, what is different about Moldova, how are the prices, what do we like, what don't we like. We answered. Do I like the EU? Well, I love the EU, really. Are Moldovans Europeans? What kind of a question is that? Of course they are! They might be ex-Soviet but that doesn't take the Europeans out of them. Europe is big - if we can make Malta and French Guiana fit, we certainly have space for Moldova. Mind you, and I said that, I think that the EU has enough internal problems not to consider another extension for quite a while but that's not Moldova's fault. (There's also the Transnistria question which we simply glossed over as "Moldovan politics are complicated".)
The photographer went wild and took 500 pictures of Leah.
We had a pleasant hour. Then we shook hands, they said the article would be up on Friday, and they left.
Friday morning, I got an email from Doug: "Wow. Front page, above the fold, and all of page 4!" In fact, it was all of page 4 plus a remainder on page 11.
The gist of the article is basically what I described above. We like Moldova, we like the green in the city. Moldvans are not happy-go-lucky-smile-at-everybody people but if you dig out five words of Romanian, they are superfriendly and helpful. I had people help me find help, if they couldn't help me themselves. I've only met two grouchy people (the customs lady and a traffic policeman who caught me making an illegal left turn) but both ended up not giving me a lot of grief. I love how people have flowers in front of their houses - flowers everywhere! (Lilies-of-the-valley should be the flower of Chisinau, they are simply everywhere.) We like it here, we hope to stay.
People are - mostly - loving it. I had one Moldovan come up to me and say, "Thank you, thank you for everything you said!" Which made me go back and check whether I said anything unusual. I didn't. It seems that Moldovans are so used to being bashed, they are astonishingly grateful if they aren't. They really don't deserve that.
Someone told me that Moldovans are European in the summer and Russian in the winter. Maybe we'll be here long enough to find out. In the meantime, we bought some copies to send to family. After all, this might just be our fifteen minutes of fame.