My short bio: I was born in 1942 in the village of Barta, then Romania, now called Plavnia in Ukraine. My father was drafted into the Romanian Army (then allied with Nazi Germany) in 1942, eventually coming home after the Battle of Stalingrad, only to be drafted again in 1944 but this time by the Red Army after the Russians took the Romanian region of Basarabia.

We were now part of the Soviet Union. I grew up in a house with my Mother and Grandparents. I had a total of 7 brothers and sisters, 3 of whom eventually succumbed to hunger and diseases around 1946, when the Soviets started taking all our food to send back to Russia. My Grandpa also died of hunger when he refused to give up his horse. Back then we relied on roots and small rations of soups as everything was for the collective.

In 1956 I finished 7th grade in the local school. I wanted to study, but everything was far away, we had no roads and no chance to reach any other schools so I started learning how to sew from my neighbor in her improvised shop. This unfortunately didn't help our condition as I couldn't earn any money with my skills.

Once Stalin died, a lot of deported men and women where allowed to go back to their homes, and in 1962 I met one of those men, who wanted us to marry. We did, but I set a condition: I would only become his wife if I we moved to his village, Cuza-Voda, since they had a high-school and I could study 3 more years.

Having finished high-school, I moved to the capital city of Moldova, Chisinau, to become a pharmacist while my husband studied in the Music Collegium. We eventually moved back Cuza-Voda, had a daughter and lived through the Soviet Union, after which our country became the independent Republic of Moldova in 1991. It is indeed weird to see all these countries named in such a small region; now imagine having 3 different identities throughout your life: Romanian, Soviet and Moldovan.

My family was always very patriotic and I'm a big History and Geography fan. It'd be my pleasure to answer any questions you might have.

My Proof: This is me with my Granddaughter, who is helping me with this AMA and translating things to English: Last summer, and this is us now.

Comments: 2356 • Responses: 45  • Date: 

ArcticBlueCZ1712 karma

In those tough times, was there anything that brought you happiness? Some moments that was enjoyable?

moldovangrandma4267 karma

I didn't know what happiness was. I was happy when I had a little bit of bread.

Meloon011577 karma

do you want the union with romania?

moldovangrandma1965 karma


tommythehandsome1209 karma

Please share with us a nice wholesome Moldovan recipe? :)

moldovangrandma2544 karma

Take a three month-old chicken that you raise yourself, you fry onions, put some carrots and then the pieces of the chicken. Take some home-made red pepper paste and two or three spoons of flour. Add some water just to cover the meat and let it simmer. At the end add some parsley and some dill. Serve it with mamaliga (polenta), salt and pepper. Serve with kompot.

pure6191008 karma

QUESTION: If there was one thing you could say to the youth of today, what would it be?

Thanks for taking the time out of your day to do this. Much love from California.

moldovangrandma1371 karma

(This is her granddaughter now. She couldn't believe she got greetings from California, thanks a lot!)

SirJesterful688 karma

Greetings from Florida! The Australia of the United States.

moldovangrandma1069 karma

I know Texas but I've never heard of Florida. Is it Trump's? I know he has a lot of money somewhere.

Edit: I have a map of the United States, I wish I was closer and further from Russia.

KushtyAF972 karma

What has been the most difficult time in your life? Especially since you have lived through so much.

moldovangrandma2041 karma

When I finished school and I didn't have where to continue with my studies. I was too young to go anywhere, we where 'naked' (didn't have any clothes) and bad food. I started to go to another village but coming back hungry through the snow was too difficult. Everything felt hopeless then.

WottleHat793 karma

What life advice do you have to give to a young person?

moldovangrandma2231 karma

Have a strong will. Don't want to much. Go ahead and study and take the best from life. I had a goal my whole life: to work and have a family and a good education.

CynfulPrincess748 karma

As someone who lived through the Soviet Union, how do you feel about it? Do you think it helped anyone or did it cause more trouble for those within it?

moldovangrandma1773 karma

Only bad. Long silence. Before the Soviet Union we had a house, we had our gardens, we had our crops. We had it all throughout the war, and only when the Soviet Union came we lost it all. They didn't teach us true history, we only learned the history of the communist party. All summer, my father worked with us to collect the harvest and in August, he had to travel to Kazakhstan to collect the harvest there and have enough to feed us.

klein432747 karma

What is the best thing about living in Moldova?

moldovangrandma1769 karma

We have very good climate, good soil and very welcoming people. Come and visit!

Nihiliszt701 karma

My russian grandmother (who you sort of look like btw) lived in Russia during the blockade and had to eat glue and the soles of her shoes to survive, what is the most ridiculous thing you remember eating to satiate hunger? Also she is your age and wouldn't even understand Reddit let alone how to type a paragraph so props to you.

moldovangrandma978 karma

I ate green berries that made me puke. I still never eat them. We ate sticks from sunflowers. I lived on the shores of a lake, but was not allowed to fish.

Evil_lil_Minion562 karma

I lived on the shores of a lake, but was not allowed to fish.

How did they enforce this? Did they have the police or some sort of government agent watch natural resources like the lake to make sure no one used it for personal nourishment?

moldovangrandma1169 karma

There were boats on the lake with guards watching.

grass_type686 karma

Of all the years you've lived through, which has been your favorite, and why?

moldovangrandma1780 karma

Good years were when I had my grandchildren, when I had goats, sheep and turkeys and I made cheese. I had land and worked it but now I'm old things are harder for me, but still I'm happy because I'm proud of my grandchildren who are studying.

grass_type468 karma

Thank you for your answer! Two more questions, if you have time.

  • What is your favorite kind of cheese, both to eat and to make?
  • What are your grandchildren studying?

(also, greetings from Colorado!)

moldovangrandma887 karma

After slaughtering a lamb, we take the gall and let it ferment. We use it afterwards for making goat and sheep cheese. That's my favorite. Do you know how to milk a sheep? You have to milk it from behind, under their tails. We often mix goat and sheep milk.

My granddaughter is in Germany and my grandson is in the USA.

TheFallenPersons519 karma

Hello! If you could go back in time and stop anything, anything at all, what would it be?

moldovangrandma1111 karma

  1. When the Soviet Union collapsed, I would unite Moldova with Romania.

nomemory468 karma

What are your feelings towards Romania ?

moldovangrandma1052 karma

It's my home country. I've always wanted us to be one whole country, I grew up with Romanian radio and even during Soviet times I was dedicated and aware of everything that was happening in Romania, educated my children and grandchildren with a love towards the Romanian Nation and they've now regained their romanian citizenship.

meteoritee456 karma

Hi! Do you have any regrets? Or anything you would have done if you had the chance?

moldovangrandma1087 karma

I would've liked to study further. For now, I would like to have more work, have a better sight, sew more! laughs and take care of my great grandchildren. (Comment from granddaughter: she can never stay still!)

Edit: I would've liked more children.

jeloquiti415 karma

Thank you for doing this AMA. What is your sweetest memory?

moldovangrandma922 karma

Sweetest memories are with my grandchildren. Seeing them singing and playing music with my husband. I've always really enjoyed sewing, so every time I've finished a piece, I feel a lot of satisfaction.

balmergrl397 karma

Was there an equivalent of E Germany Stasi and neighbors spying on neighbors during USSR times? If so, how did it affect society then and how does it affect Moldovans' attitudes today? What are your thoughts on Putin's Russia?

Thank you for this AMA, hearing from people like you is one of my favorite things about Reddit.

moldovangrandma843 karma

There where people who were saying "that guy has grains hidden!". There have been and there are still that kind of people. Even my neighbor was one of those, they had a net. You know them with how they speak and even in 2009 they where going around agitating people. On the surface you don't see them, they're normal people.

Edit. Putin laughs I have bad opinions. I don't respect him. I don't like him because he has no family. What does it mean? This age and single?

notesunderground374 karma

What was the worst thing you experienced and what was the best thing you experienced in life?

moldovangrandma1220 karma

Hunger and cold was the worst that's ever happened. We didn't know about candies like now, there was nothing to buy. The best thing was when my daughter was born after seven years of trying to get pregnant.

JDubsOchoCinco337 karma

What do you most want to be remembered for?

moldovangrandma1495 karma

That was a human who managed to achieve everything through my own work and respected everyone, just like I respect and remember my father, who was such a good example to me. In Moldova it is said that everyone should once build a house, dig a well, plant a tree and raise a child and I did all this through my own work.

ruinevil334 karma

Do you like the song the song Dragostea Din Tei by O-Zone?

moldovangrandma439 karma

I like it, but I like better 'romances' and folkloric music.

pighalf316 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA. Can you comment on how most people obtained food in the 1940s and what sort of employment opportunities were available for your brothers? Also, how many languages can you speak? Your English is quite good.

moldovangrandma648 karma

I was very young during the hunger times, I was 5 years old. I remember when my parents found a small piece of bread, they'd give it to me and stare at me as I ate it. We struggled because we didn't want to join the kolkhoz, but were eventually forced to do so.

I speak Russian and Romanian. My granddaughter is helping with the English translation, sorry if it was not clear.

nooneswatching303 karma

Grandma, where is one place in the world you have always dreamed of visiting?

moldovangrandma780 karma

I've always felt weird about people here who just wanted to go to Russia or France but I want to know Romania, such a beautiful country with lakes and forests. My husband died, with his dream unfulfilled of seeing his country from the other side of the river Prut.

semsr296 karma

imagine having 3 different identities throughout your life: Romanian, Soviet and Moldovan.

That's interesting. Do you identify with any particular one of these identities more than the others?

moldovangrandma558 karma

When there was a census, I wrote I am Romanian, yet I don't see it in my official results. I've always considered myself Romanian.

LegoLodestone243 karma

You mentioned that you had strong feeling about when you saw the Soviet tanks come in, can you expand on that moment? When did it really set in that the Soviet Union was there to stay, or was that never really a question?

Thanks for doing this AMA and hello from Virginia!

moldovangrandma501 karma

We were scared, we never thought it would end. I lived my whole life in the Soviet Union with fear. I am very sorry the communist regime took religion away from us. We had no hope. (Granddaugher: she looked for Virginia on her map and smiled)

amch2559215 karma

When did your hunger "break"? Do you remember the first big, satisfying meal you had after being in hunger for so long? What was it and how did it feel in detail?

moldovangrandma553 karma

A week after easter, we go to the cemetery to remember the dead. My grandma baked a turkey and we all ate it there and we even had enough to share with other people. Smiles

drsboston204 karma

Can you provide context about past big changes, rise of Fascism in WW2, Communism, and the current political changes. Do they feel similar or are is it over reaction to this we are approaching some substantial turning point? Your insight and perspective is appreciated.

moldovangrandma623 karma

I think Putin is worse than Stalin. Maybe he doesn't bring people to Siberia. Yes, maybe people talk about Trump (Granddaughter here: she pronounces it 'Troomp'. She's very informed though) and about all the horrible things that the talks about, but he has limited power, whereas in Russia, in my opinion, there's a totalitarian Regime and Putin dictates as he wishes.

rhyswynne188 karma

I am a Welshman coming to possibly visit for the Moldova vs Wales football match in the World Cup Qualification in September. What should I look out for? And convince me to book flights 😊

moldovangrandma613 karma

I am far from sports. What if you don't like Moldova? Should I take such a responsibility? If you have enough money and don't know what to do with it, you can come. Come!

Snowbank_Lake182 karma

Thank you for your stories! Do you see any countries that, based on what you've seen, appear to be headed in a negative direction? What are the warning signs they should look for?

moldovangrandma475 karma

North Korea has a mentally-ill leader. We don't have to talk about that. I don't like Erdogan, but Turkey voted for him. My own country isn't going anywhere.

Matteomakespizza174 karma

When, in your opinion, was the most terrifying time in your history for the world?

moldovangrandma473 karma

It was very tragic when the Soviets came and took so many good and hard-working people to Siberia where they died of hunger. The deportations. This was horrible. Everything was left behind, people where taken at night in animal wagons in Siberia.

Edit: For some of them we never heard again. I also have family that I never knew where they're burried.

curly_happy_operator171 karma

Is your granddaughter married? May I ask for her hand?

moldovangrandma575 karma

She's dating a Mexican.

stringent_strider168 karma

Is there anything you dislike about the present society, something that wasn't present in your younger days?

moldovangrandma583 karma

I don't like that the laws are not respected, everything is falsified. People are very greedy and materialistic. Values have shifted, even concerts and artists have nothing for the soul.

Edit: Before, the name of your family was very important. When you did something, your family's reputation was at stake.

janes_left_shoe111 karma

What are your favorite parts of Moldovan culture? Are there any special holidays or traditions you can tell us about?

moldovangrandma240 karma

Moldova is a country rich in tradition and people love to celebrate. We even celebrate double christmas and new year! (Granddaughter: some people use both the western and russian calendars)

Only now we celebrated the beginning of spring with mărțișor, and easter is always a big holiday that we celebrate by going to church at night and baking "cozonac" and painting eggs.

MaxIsCrispy110 karma

Very intriguing! I admire you so much for sharing your story with reddit! I am a second-generation Czechoslovakian, my mother, her sister and their parents were all born there and in 1969 when the Soviet Union invaded my grandparents wanted to do everything possible to escape. It took them a little while but managed to get to Austria to live with my grandfather's sister as they applied for their American visas. They then moved to Australia as that was the only place they would find safe passage to the U.S. but still had to wait for visas. So they stayed there for a few years, but it was much better than living under a communist regime. I can only imagine how tough that would be.

My question for you is, looking back, do you often wonder how your life would've been different if the Soviets hadn't taken over? I can only imagine how tough of a life you had to live, watching those you love suffer from huger and yourselves having to survive on the bare minimum, although it made you who you are today. You are a very strong woman and I'm glad you found your footing in life. Also, do you still live in Europe? Or did you come to America? Your English seems very well!

moldovangrandma221 karma

Of course, our lives would be very different. I remember where I was when the Soviet tanks invaded Prague and I had really strong emotions. I've always admired the courage and the strong will of the czech people, as they confronted the Soviet Regime. Small pause Václav Havel.

Surprisedtohaveajob102 karma

Have you ever travelled to North America? Is there any place you would like to visit, in Canada, the USA, or Mexico?

moldovangrandma252 karma

I would like to, but it's late. I would like to visit my grandson who lives in Boston.

HistoricalNazi97 karma

As the area you are from seems to have changed hands many times in your life, which country/ethnic or cultural background do you most identify with?

And also, what were some of the repercussions and effects of these territorial changes?

moldovangrandma218 karma

While growing up and during my teenage years, my village was part of Soviet Ukraine so I started to identify myself with that, learning a few ukrainian words. Moving 40 km away from there with my husband meant I was now living in Soviet Moldova. It's always been hard to talk about these things because I felt restrained and had no freedom. (Granddaughter: even now it takes her time to think about these things and give a concise answer)

disc0ntent74 karma

How do you feel about Socialism as a system of government having seen its effects first hand?

moldovangrandma208 karma

I don't like it. It's a lying system. I like bi-cameral systems like in England, not like the communist party where everyone has to raise their hand. Socialist still have communist things in themselves. Marx's theory didn't bring us anywhere.

Nickthedick5566 karma

What is your favorite meal?

moldovangrandma211 karma

Mamaliga cu tocanita de miel! I actually really like soup with home-made pasta and chicken. But all food is nice.

Burgybabe13 karma

Greetings from Australia! Any advice to young women trying to stay confident in a male dominated world?

moldovangrandma52 karma

Stay confident in your on will and on what you want to do. Do your own thing even if it is a male dominated world.

Leto__II11 karma

Have you ever met Epic Sax Guy? I assume he's a national treasure in Moldova.

moldovangrandma21 karma

I don't like this, I like fokloric music.