07 October 2009


This is the first time in my life that I have ever been a foreigner. Brief forays into Mexico and Canada notwithstanding, before this experience, I had never immersed myself in another culture to such a degree that I could rightfully think of myself as anything other than a tourist. As of today, we have been in Moldova for one week, which is already the longest period of time that I have ever spent in another country. It should also be noted that I am here with my wife, Jamie, as well as our two children, Chloe and Alexander, who are three and a half years old and seven months respectively.

As a Fulbright scholar, my research project is to create a documentary video that explores the complexities of Moldovan cultural identity. Although I have a few ideas in terms of the directions that I may like to take this project, the overall thesis of my film remains in soft focus, as I believe that to have a specific agenda going into the production of this documentary would work against the integrity of the medium itself.

In preparation for our trip, I taught myself some conversational Romanian and Jamie began to study Russian shortly before we left. I also absorbed what limited information I could find about this little-known country in Eastern Europe, though I can already see that many of my expectations had been based on myths, or at the very least, subjective impressions that fail to accurately represent any kind of universal experience. With that said, the observations that I present here are also limited to my own subjective point of view, though I will make every attempt to minimize any cultural biases which may otherwise distort my perspective.

On a regular basis, I will seek to articulate that which I am learning as I learn it, to relay the experiences that facilitate a deeper understanding of both their culture and our own. Chances are, you might not be in Chisinau anytime soon, so I will attempt to find empathy from the inside looking out. I will make every attempt to share this unique and valuable perspective that has been afforded to me by the Fulbright program, the opportunity for which I am deeply grateful.

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