Wednesday, September 15

Playdate with Patrick

Maddy has made a new friend and his name is Patrick. It just so happens he is in the same class as Maddy and they live in our apartment building too. This is one of many more playdates to come :-)

Thursday, September 9

Happy Birthday Grandma

Happy Birthday Grandma
We Miss & Love You
Matt, Rach & Madison xox

Wednesday, September 8

Happy Birthday Aunty Sachi

Hope you have a fun day today and get lots of goodies from Mareko & Micah
Much Love Matt, Rach & Maddy xox

Sunday, September 5

Working Abroad: Albania & Moldova

Albania's location in Europe
My latest travels took me to Albania and Moldova.

Albania is a small country in south eastern Europe that shares a border with Montenegro, Kosovo, Macedonia and Greece. It has coastlines on the Adriatic Sea to the west and the Ionian Sea to the east. If you've never heard of the Ionian Sea before, that would make 2 of us.

Due to a hectic first 2 weeks, I was not able to get out of Tirana and see much of the countryside. Normally this is how a trip goes for me. I get to see a lot of the airport, office and the inside of my hotel room.

I am happy to report though, that the people of Albania were warm and friendly. I was told that they like Americans so for once I didn't mind identifying myself as American while I was there. The IT Specialist, Iris, recently had surgery to remove her entire stomach but managed to soldier on at work despite the obvious discomfort she was in. I'd be out of work for 3 months if that was me.

Moldova's location in Europe
I'm writing this post from Chisinau, Moldova. Moldova is located in between Romania and Ukraine. The people of Moldova speak both Romanian and Russian, neither of which bears a resemblance to Samoan.

To get to Moldova from Albania, my teammate Graham and I had to fly via Vienna, Austria thanks to the Fly America Act, so instead of a 2 hour flight between countries, it took us 18 hours to get from A to B. Normally I would complain about something like this except Vienna is a world class city that I have only read about and seen in movies so I was happy to use the layover to tour the city.

I will be returning home in a week and I am looking forward to rejoining Rach and Maddy who I miss terribly. Next up is Mongolia and China in October.

St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna, Austria
At the entrance to the Old Orhei cave monastery

Here we go down and into the mountain

The caves emerge on the cliff face overlooking a river 200 feet below

A functioning chapel in the caves

I can tell you Samoans would never have survived living in caves this small

People trek to the top of the mountain to pray and leave money at the base of this cross

I couldn't go further than this because I was wearing shorts

My gracious host and tour guide, Andrei Rusu

By a water well in a small Moldovan village near Orhei

Not an uncommon sight in the rural Moldovan villages, a horse drawn cart

Saturday, September 4

Happy Fathers Day

Happy Fathers day Daddy
Hope you're enjoying your steak meal in Moldova ;-)
We miss and love You xox

Also Happy Fathers Day to Papa, Uncle Mark, Uncle Tolly, Grandpa, Uncle Lloyd, Uncle Poko, Uncle Junior and Uncle Ivan. May you all enjoy this special day. Much Love xox