Stories and Culture

In Love: A Letter of Admiration to Moldova

My heart,

We’ve passed our year’s anniversary, and I’m going to gush. It’s been the fast track for us, and though we’re still learning each other, I confess: I think this is the real thing.

Your idiosyncrasies have broken me, and I re-pieced myself into you (don’t gag, it’s sincere!).

You’ve brought me beauty.

Through your values:

You delight me with your family leanings. I giggle each time your маршрутка drivers pull over so the mothers can rush kids to the side of the road to pee. And that мама, who slung her toddler between her legs, was shameless! She folded her baby V-wise, pants around ankles, swinging her gently mid-tinkle.

Through your tempo:

Your pace of life, while frustrating at first, has encouraged (forced…) me to cultivate patience: I can now watch with pleasure the бабушка at the bazaar who cradles her eggs with fingertips, like I imagine she’d caress her grandchild, carefully transferring from a 20-bag to my десяток.

Through your spontaneity:

Your capricious weather, once a rollercoaster mood, is now a cherished quirk. When I started to believe the passionate heat would never end, when I started to swelter under your pressure, I woke to a fall morning in August. These little surprises are comforting, dear, when life as a foreigner scoots to the same rhythm.

Through your generosity:

Though not my love language, your little gifts mean much: tea, with honey (but no honey when the water is hot! You’ve read something somewhere about chemicals, or cancer…), and candy, unexpected, from your sock drawer. It’s good on the tough days.

Through your faith:

Your economy of trust impresses, and it’s making me a better person. How you open me to others! I ask for delivery in the capital city, and I pay on order’s arrival. Strangers hand children to strangers on a packed маршрутка, or I hand over my purse. I can leave my computer in the pizza place when I go to pee, and no one makes off with it; I can trust others to give back my things; I can trust that the first time the smile cracks on my neighbor’s face (not like our plastic American smiles), she’s warmed to me.

And now that we’re on the subject of trust, I believe it’s the time to admit: I have no romantic notion of you, my heart. I take the bad with the good (and oh, how bad you get sometimes!).

You’ve caused tears I never thought could leak.

Our conflicts have been strife with furor.

I hated that time (both times!) you grabbed my ass (in public!).

I resent the propositions; I prefer to do the chasing. Besides, macho is out these days…

But this isn’t an arraignment! They say love is overlooking flaws, the ability to still somewhat idealize your partner, and I gladly place you on that pedestal. But no, I maintain, it’s not romantic; no satin and plush and chocolate dreams, but a hard pocked surface with cracks. The cracks are the character, mon petit chou.

And I promise, I will contribute, too. I bring youthful spirit to your cynic’s history, and a motivation – innovation – fostered on American shores. None of that “I want to change you, let me change you” business. It’s the “I can learn from you, you can learn from me, we’ll do this together.”

So, my love, I think we’ve got it. The few years I’ve walked this plebian road, sclambering and tumbling, I never expected our meeting, never anticipated this commitment. Lest you forget, women are independent these days, and for some (for me), it’s pride’s point.

But we entered into this contract, you and I, hands in the air for the outcome. And not so long ago, бывало: we’re one now, you and I. A whole from halves. So let’s do this, love – roll down that road, cartwheel-style. It will be easier with two sets of limbs.

My heart is your place, now. With fondness, with pleasure, with excitement for the next leg of our journey together:

Your Haley

 

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