Meet me, young and emotional on the front seat of a big white car with the seat belt fastened. I don`t know yet that this road trip will turn out in something more than just a ride. Where can a piece of fresh soft cheese with salt eaten in a sheepfold for breakfast, some fallen apples collected from the ground in a monastery garden for lunch, Sambuca near a bonfire for dinner lead to?
“Rediscovery” was an 8 days trip to the hidden and unreachable places of Moldova. We are four of us in our team and we don`t have a plan. We are enjoying the ride along the landscapes of Moldova, hills, caves, cliffs, along a land of sunflowers burnt to ash, turning into an apple orchard, where we stop to steal the round shiny fruits.
We drive slowly through a small village looking for stories. It is a special one in the whole country; old believers – a thousand of a kind, sunny people. Small houses with open gates and doors, dusty roads, barefoot kids playing with pumpkins and corncobs.
We stop near an old Soviet car with two people inside an attached open trunk. They are peeling the seeds out from the sunflower heads with their bare hands and black small seeds fall in a sack at their feet.
– The real happiness, – a woman tells us. – is that our children don`t leave. Young people fall in love with locals and come to Pocrovca to build a life. They don`t look for work in other places. There is always work to be done here.
After forty minutes, we turn on the engine and I hear the crunch of gravel under the wheels as a melody of sunflower seeds falling into the sack.
What do you imagine when you say “poverty”? Moldova has a description of it. It says: “Look at me, I am poor, but hardworking. I am poor, but calm. I am poor, so what?”
Somewhere in the north of the Republic, my mates wash the car. I, glossy and spoiled, lay down in the grass. My sneakers absorbed the dust of my tiny country. My brain absorbed stories. I will carry them with me like a tattoo, like a mark I connected with a local rustic reality. The reality in which the happiness is not an eternal introspective search, where happiness is kind and simple.
There are roads that can be reached just on one-side wheels of a car. They will frighten you; they will be disturbing and complicated. One day, you, the wanderer, the nomad, will come back to your comfortable nest, you will put on your expensive suit, and suddenly you will realize, that under it is another you. And you did a great journey to reach it.
Pictures: Andrei Moraru