Worrall Travel R's

Worrall Travel R's
Roz and Russ

Worrall Travel R's - Kicking the Bucket List

My photo

We are the Worrall Travel R's Roz and Russ Worrall. Our goal before we "kick the bucket" is to see as much of the world as we are able, learn about world cultures, experience making friends around the world, and share goodwill and what we learn with others. WE HOPE YOU JOIN US VIA THE BLOG ON OUR TRAVELS.

We started our world travels in 1969 in VW camper van in the USA, Canada, and Europe, but didn't actively blog about our travels until 2009 aboard our sailing vessel SV Worrall Wind, a 44 ft Nauticat Ketch.  On September 5, 2009 we left San Francisco and took a left at the Golden Gate to Explore the World.

From to Sea to Land
After almost 4 years of cruising Mexico and the South Pacific, we sold our beloved boat in Australia, 2013. The Worrall Travel R's are continuing our travels around by many other means of conveyance -boats,trains, planes, sometimes camels, elephants, rickshaws, and hot air balloons.. 

Russ is a retired engineer, optometrist, professor from U.C. Berkeley. Roz is a retired computer programmer/analyst, educator, (teacher, administrator, professional developer). 

Our Mantra:
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
~ Mark Twain

Thursday, September 01, 2016

First Day of School Celebration, Moldova Exchange Day 7, WTRD 23 Sep 1, 2016

First Day of School Celebration, Wine, and Farewells

Today in Moldova is very special!  From children to college students, everyone who is a student returns to school. Just like in America, it is a sigh of relief for many parents to have their children  return to school.  There are many working parents who must juggle childcare and their work schedules during the summer holiday.

This morning in our family's home, the uniform was pressed, the flowers for the teacher were purchased, breakfast was eaten, hair was braided (on Catalina),

and we were off to school.  Catlaina's father was waiting for us downstairs.  He and Catalina held hands as  he walked her to school.

At first, Catalina was the only student in sight.  The closer we got to school the single student turned to hundreds of children and their parents.

There is no playground equipment at Catalina's school.  It looks very formal with large front courtyard.  I asked Catalina what she does at school during recess if there is no place to play.  She says she eats between classes.

Today the courtyard's perimeter is filled with children in various uniforms (plaids and solids by grade level) and girls with wreaths in their hair by teacher so that teachers can easily spot their students.

Mariana situates Catalina in the front row near the steps.

It seems that no two uniforms are the same. Parents can buy fabric and make their own uniforms for their child's school and grade level.  There are also stores around town that sell skirts, blouses, shirts, pants, and dresses.

Columns of balloons decorated the school pillars.  There is an air of excitement as children see their friends and anticipate the opening celebration.  The youngest of children are scurried up the steps and inside the building.  They are first year students and will be a part of the opening march into the courtyard.

Catalina is a second year student and her class is close to the staircase. She is petite and I occasionally get a glimpse and photo...I think, but there are a lot of little girls with pink and white wreaths in their hair.
 The music plays.  The Flags are presented.   Dignitaries speak and are presented with bouquets of flowers. There are dancers,

singers, the releasing of doves, helium balloons,

 and the bell ringers who ring in the new school year,

and the doors to school open and classes file in with their teachers. Today is a short day.  Tomorrow the academic day starts.

This is such a beautiful tradition.  It honors students, teachers, and the value of eduction.  Although after reviewing the photos I took, I don't think the kids enjoyed it so much.  We were fortunate to have been on a balcony with some shade.  The children were smushed together for an hour outside in the sun with little visibility of the courtyard celebration if they were not in the front row.

I think even the school cooks may be recalling the hours they spent in the courtyard on the first day of school.

We follow the students into the building to an assembly hall.

Our home host Mariana who works for the United Nations is giving a presentation on Human Rights, Inclusiveness, and Diversity with another colleague.

We only stay for a few minutes and then leave for a tour of the Millesti Mici Winery.

In some ways our day resembles the parents' first day of school.  Celebrate that school has started, say bye bye to the kids, and go drink some wine.  Ha!

The Millesti Mici Winery is underground.  There are 250 kilometers of limestone tunnels under the vineyards, 55 kilometers  of galleries where 1.5 million bottles of wine are stored, and miles of cask storage.  The temperature control in the tunnels is perfect for long term storage, whites for 27 years, reds for 40 years, and sweets for up to 200 years.

Individuals from around the world rent cazas here to store their Moldovan wines.

The winery was not established until 1968. In 1985 when Moldova was still a part of the USSR, Gorbachov in an attempt to curb rampant alcoholism, had all of the wine and vineyards destroyed. The winery hid 10,000 of its finest most expensive wines in a secret room.  Such a loss.

Within two years, 1987 because of new vines and a good weather year of abundant rain and sun, the best harvest of grapes and fine wines were produced.  Independent home wineries began to store their wine here again.  After our bus and walking tour of the tunnels and galleries, we went into the secret wine tasting room.

First we entered through a remote control sliding limestone door that when closed looked like a cave wall.  We entered a beautiful gallery with four large casks at the end.  Then our guide opened the casks which concealed the wine tasting room.

Our group enjoyed red, white, and sweet wines and treats while we listened to an accordion and violin duet.  We also celebrated Helen's birthday a day early, as we will all be dispersed to other parts of the earth tomorrow.

Once we were filled with wine and snacks, and were given plastic bottles for "doggie bags" of wine to take home, we went to lunch.  No kidding, the food never stops.  We went to a nearby lake and conference center where we ate lunch in a covered waterfront pavilion.  We drank our "doggie bags" ate soup, salad, fried fish, and polenta.

We returned to Chisinau and the Creative Development Association by 3:15.  It was time to face the fact that we are leaving our new friends tomorrow and they will be helping us to check-in on our flights and print our boarding passes.

Having taken care of necessary business, Russ did a little shopping while I down loaded photos on thumb drives, then met up with the group at 5:30 for our farewell dinner.  We enjoyed each others company saying goodbye not only to our new Moldovan friends, but also Sacramento friends that are splintering off to Croatia, Paris, Holland, Amsterdam, Vienna, and Greece.  No homebodies in this group.

We celebrated Helen and Mariana's birthdays,

sang some songs, gave parting gifts,


hugs, kisses, and a few tears.

This has been an absolutely wonderful experience.  It has been fun, educational, and filled with activities and memories.  Our new Moldovan friends have done a remarkable job making us welcome and providing us with excellent experiences.  It will be hard to say goodbye to our friends and to Moldova, a small country with a big heart!  THANK YOU!  Our greatest wish for you is to use your amazing talent, big hearts, and energy in developing a Friendship Force Club in Chisinau and come and see us in California.

Russ and I are on our way to Athens tomorrow for a week of sailing in the Greek Islands, before attending the Friendship Force, International Conference in Morocco.  We will most likely be out of Wifi reach for daily updates, so please don't worry if you don't hear from us every day.  I should have photos posted on the blogspot shortly after I email a post.

All is Well with the Worrall Travel R's, our last night in Moldova.

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