Why am I spending 2019 in Moldova? Because I love it. Also, after spending a few years recovering from my stroke, I finally feel like I have a future again, and this is my opportunity to kickstart it. Moldova offers the following:
- A healthier lifestyle. To put it bluntly, having a brighter future requires me to lose weight. Life in Moldova will force me to be much more active, especially as I won’t have a car and the landscape is hillier than in my base city of Nashville. Unhealthy food is harder to come by too–there’s not exactly a Taco Bell on every corner. And frankly, I will be extremely conspicuous there, as very few people in Moldova are overweight; in the U.S., I’m nothing unusual, but in Moldova I’ll have the motivation of not wanting to humiliate myself. 🙂
- Healthier finances. Major medical problems are not cheap, and they hit you even harder when you’ve come of age during a recession and had only months previously finally landed a job that wasn’t a dead end. My years as a loan-saddled college graduate stuck in food service and hourly customer support gigs hadn’t really gotten me on the right path toward healthy grown-up finances, either. So spending a year in Moldova, where the cost of living is significantly lower than anywhere in the U.S. (especially in an “it” city with growing pains like Nashville), would help speed up the process of achieving such outlandish goals as life without roommates, or having a child of my own.
- To be of some help. Moldova is home base for several people and causes I care about and want to help. I’m sure I’ll be sharing more details in the months to come, but Moldova is the poorest country in Europe, with all the usual problems that come with poverty, and much of the adult workforce is forced to search for work far from home. That means an alarmingly high percentage of kids grow up with parents who rarely see them, or who are incapable or unwilling to care for them. There are a number of organizations stepping in to help in any way they can, and while I’m in Moldova I hope to be of use to a couple that I have connections with: Justice and Mercy International, through whom I’ve had the good fortune to sponsor three boys; and a friend who works for Moldova’s version of Campus Crusade.
So that about sums it up. And I should add that my employer, who stuck with me through the long process of stroke recovery, is supporting me in this endeavor by granting me permission to work remotely, and I can’t express how grateful I am for that. I feel like the luckiest man in the world.