The new new normal has snugly settled into my home country, Moldova. This explains why I am submitting this piece so late: I’ve been too excited about my first post-COVID concert!
The situation here was bleak enough in April for me to reconsider coming back home. Now, vaccines are more readily available. Moreover, medical institutions have been pretty creative about making them as accessible as possible. Some city buses have even been turned into “express” vaccination points.
A good part is that my city has been embracing such campaigns. This is surprising because the average citizen of Moldova has been pretty reluctant to accept COVID-19 as a real illness and not a Godly punishment for Moldova’s “succumbing” to contemporary “deviations.”
Some of my family members even went as far as traveling to neighboring countries to get vaccinated. This was more common at the beginning of the global vaccine rollout. Moldova is a lower-middle income country, so it doesn’t have the monetary resources to acquire vaccines to cover much more than frontline medical workers.
Things are way better now, however. Clubs are legally open now and the evening curfew has been lifted, so coffee shops, bars, and theatres are open until late at night. The most striking difference between Moldova and the Oberlin campus has been people’s reaction to change. The way I perceive it as an outsider — and hearing about the situation from some on-campus students — is that there is a certain tension between accepting the lifting of some mandates and holding on to the same precautions. At home, people are fully embracing change. It seems that everyone is taking their first real breath in a year and a half — a breath of happiness, for finally being able to visit senior family members; of relief, for the possibility of going to school in-person; and of excitement, for being able to experience the readjusted adventures inherent to summertime.