From the richest to the poorest European country and back

I had a short vacation in Moldova together with my friend Diego. Probably you are asking yourself “Why Moldova!?”. At least this was the reaction of all of my friends when I told them that I had planned a trip to Chişinău. To be honest, despite the fact that I am already back from the vacation, I am not sure what to answer to this question. 🙂

As far as I am concerned, I just wanted visit an eastern European country, possibly an ex-USSR one. The idea was to explore an area of Europe that was culturally and economically entirely different from what I am used to. After several discussions with Diego about which country to visit, Moldova caught our curiosity, and there we went.

I have to admit that I knew little about this country before going there, and two things impressed me the most. The first is, unfortunately, the poverty. The time seems to be frozen in the Nineties there. The average monthly salary in Moldova is around 2500 MDL (150 EUR) while in Norway is 30000 NOK (3500 EUR). Of course, life is cheaper in Moldova than in Norway, but even normalising the salary to the cost of living, the difference remains staggering.

The other thing that left me puzzled is the lack of linguistic and cultural identity. Moldovans belong to the Romanian ethnic group. The official language in Moldova is Romanian, although natives speak a Moldavian dialect which is slightly different from the original Romanian. However, Russians and Ukrainians constitute a large ethnic group in Moldova. Russian is then the default second language at all levels of education, and everyone in the country can speak it fluently. Oddly enough, local Russians refuse to speak Romanian and oblige native Moldovans to speak Russian. Walking around Chişinău, I heard more conversations in Russian than Romanian, which is quite sad. Maybe this is a superficial analysis of the integration problems, but what kind of cultural identity is this?

I learned a lot from this “very original” trip, especially to give value to the things I am lucky to have in my life. Being at home with all the comforts seems like a luxury now. I hope I will always remember about it.

3 Comments

  1. interesting to read this ale. should I plan a trip to Moldova? thinking about it.

  2. Salut,Alex 😀
    Risc sa spun că este cam superficiala postarea ta,dar cred ca timpul (puțin) care l-ai petrecut in Moldova a fost de vină …
    1’st P.S: titlul postării doare,dar ăsta e adevărul…
    2’nd P.S: I hope that my post will be a proof for you to understand what identity I have 🙂

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