International Vacation: The Host

My country through the eyes of an American

Nadejda Artiomenco
Staff Reporter

This summer I have hosted my friend and classmate, whom I met a year ago at an American high school, where I was a foreign student. His family made me acquainted with American traditional holidays and gave me a sense of what American everyday life is like, something I would never be able to find in a boarding school, where I lived. We graduated together and made plans for future, a part of which was our trip to my home country, Moldova.

This is how the past summer became a discovery to me ? of habitual life routine at my home country, of the people who live there and, by and large, endure lives far more difficult than mine and of a close friend, whose first experience of traveling across the ocean happened to be more than just a relaxing vacation at the sea shore (although it was a part of our trip, too).

It is not surprising that most people living across Atlantic are unfamiliar with a country in Eastern Europe, the total area of which is a little more than the total area of the Maryland state (compare Moldova 33,843 sq km to the Maryland State 31,849 sq km). What was surprising is that how little I actually know about my home country and how poorly I understand the processes, both cultural and social, that take place there.

The word ‘corruption’, that seemed to be so abstract and theoretical, became very real and even tangible as I was looking at the grassland that used to be a lake two years ago. A place, that since childhood brought associations linked with natural calming beauty thanks to a lake that in the summertime cooled and soothed people. That lake soothed people who needed soothing ? but now the lake had become abandoned empty. Every time I hear the word corruption now, I think of that lake and how the lack of responsibility, care and rightfulness that resulted in its destruction.

This vacation was anything but a predictable neither to me nor to my friend. Answering his questions about the life and people in my country, I would ask myself as well: “How did it turn out to be like that?” or “What can be done to change it?”

By hosting a friend from the United States in Moldova, I discovered my home country in a way I never was able to before, on my own.