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


  1. awww lovely post hon. Glad you are out and about a bit more hehe love the pictures. See you soon xo

  2. I'm counting the days, hours and minutes!

  3. Matt, you crack me up with your comments. Great post and love the pictures. I'd heard of the Ionian Sea but had no idea where it was so I guess I'm with you on that one.
    Vienna looks amazing.
    I'm going to start organising our next get together trip (Part II of the Las Vegas trip) so any suggestions you have re: hot spots is most welcome. Although Lagi and Tolly are on a tight budget so we'll have to include some hot spots in New Zealand...Hutt Valley?!? lol
    At this point we've been talking about Japan or Fiji - so you guys better start saving up. Although I'm sure you'll have a million frequent flyer points by then.

    China would be amazing too - will you get to see the Great Wall?

  4. MaddysDaddy8:11 AM GMT-5

    Count us IN for the next get together whereever it is. My vote is for Fiji.

    Priority #1 while I'm in China will be to walk on the Wall. Priority #2 is to not fall off the Wall while I'm on it.

    I hope I can see some panda bears too.

  5. aunty lagi5:36 AM GMT-5

    hey... what happened to my post??!!
    will post again!
    priority #3 is not to have a heartattack while walking the wall!
    moldovan people must be short as cos you look like a giant in those caves & water wells! ;)
    happy belated fathers day... let us know about the next get together!! will start saving... and accepting donations!!! :D

  6. MaddysDaddy7:10 AM GMT-5

    Who said anything about walking? I'm gonna look for one of those Segway thingies haha

  7. I envy all your travels - your passport must have extra leaves! Nice pictures - keep them coming.


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