Here’s another post I’ve been meaning to write for a while, but haven’t had a chance.
Before you get too excited, I didn’t pop off to Moldova for a quick weekend visit. There will be no stories of missed airline connections, and attractive Dutchmen and too much limoncello in this post (for those of you dedicated blog readers).
No, this is all about a woman from Moldova. She’s in my Creative Connections course. Now, we’ve been in the course together since March, but I’ve never really taken the time to talk to her. I’m going to be honest with you, I’ve been pretty bad about talking to everyone in my intercultural Creative Connections course. Over the first 6 months of the course, I gravitated almost exclusively towards the Irish folk and the other Irish/Australian woman, which is, of course, not the point of an intercultural group. Its also not very helpful for me in completing the course, as the whole idea of the diploma is to be able to teach and interact with other intercultural groups, and give us the experience and knowledge to do so.
There are probably a few reasons why I’ve done this. Firstly, it is easier to talk to the Irish and Australian folk. I don’t mean in terms of English or speaking skills, though that is sometimes the case, but just because there is a common understanding of culture, behaviour, experience. Enough of our experiences overlap to be able to converse easily, with there being enough variance to create interest. Of course, again, that is the point of having an intercultural group – to have you interact with people you wouldn’t normally interact with, and learn how to communicate with people who don’t share your experience. So, I’ve been pretty bad at learning how to do that over the past 6 months.
There are other reasons though. Due to groupings, I ended up spending a lot of time with a wonderful Irish woman leading up to the Midsummer Festival, who I really got along with and loved talking to, so I often found myself looking for her at meetings. Many of the younger folk, so again, the people that I would naturally gravitate to, are Irish, so that’s also meant the I often am chatting to them.
Anyway, for whatever reason, I haven’t spoken much to this woman from Moldova. She spoke out at a meeting last Thursday and shocked us all, revealing she had been pregnant for the whole course, and was due this week. No-one could believe it. She had always worn the same jacket, and it just happened that it hid her belly very well. But, I also feel like this is very much her, not making a fuss, not getting all romantic about things. Her quilt piece was called, ‘Flowers are a waste of money’, because she used to work in a flower shop and she could never understand why people would bother spending so much money on something that was going to die in a few days. Such a different perspective and way of looking at the world to… say… me. A hopeless romantic who can’t help but share every thought and feeling with the people around her, via a blog or otherwise…
Anyway, now that I’m in Kinsale, I no longer have access to a car, so when our meeting finished last Thursday, I had to take the bus back to Kinsale. The bus wasn’t until 10pm, and it was only 7:30pm so I had a bit of waiting to do. I had originally planned for some quiet time in a cafe with a notebook or some such, but when the women in my course realised I had 2 and a half hours to kill in the cold, autumn air, I immediately had two invitations, one to join a group of people I didn’t know for dinner, and the other to walk around Cork with the woman from Moldova. My first instinct was to go to dinner, as the girl inviting me was a good Irish friend of mine, who I had hung out with a few times outside of the course. But, I had a sudden change of heart. I had already eaten dinner. It was nice night. I like to walk. And I knew nothing about this woman from Moldova, who seemed endlessly fascinating.
So, in the end, we went for a few laps of the city, talking about all sorts of things. University, jobs, Ireland, Moldova, Australia, the changing seasons, airplane tickets, racism, homesickness, architecture, and (appropriately) how taking the time to do something different, walk on the other side of the road etc. always shows you new things and perspectives.
No huge revelations, really, but a truly lovely hour and a half. A reminder that you don’t need a lot to have an enjoyable evening, to learn something or have an experience. A reminder that everyone has a story, if you just take the time to listen.
And, now, it appears that I’ve slid into cliche, so I’ll end the post before I further ruin something that was truly lovely.


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