Friday, April 26, 2013

A Blast From The Past!

After two months full of orienteering in Portugal, Spain and France. I dropped by to visit a place where it all began for me - Moldova.

While the above picture looks somewhat gloomy, it is no longer the case here, with consistent 25°C+ weather for the past week and a half. The countless rolling hills and vineyards bring up deep nostalgic feelings in me, reminding of the times when I grew up.

Unfortunately after a very successful March training in France, I slipped in some mud and hit my knee on a rock, therefore I had to take it easy for a week and a half, with easy jogging every-other day. This was a good opportunity to visit many of my old friends and relatives, and remember the good old days. It was an especially interesting experience stitching together the recollections of the sections of the city I have from childhood - I perceive it completely different now; much smaller that's for sure!

For a while I actually enjoyed doing every-day things, such as going to the market or riding the overcrowded public transport, just so I could hear and speak the language, and observe the people, from where I used to live. While it's a great, nostalgic experience, it also forces you to notice the level of life people are living. The countless homeless people and animals, alcoholics, poor road conditions, as well as extremely aggressive driving and peoples' manner of communication in general. I also had the misfortune of attending a school friend's funeral... While all of these experiences bring a lot of nostalgic memories, it also reminds, and makes me more appreciative of, the decision of why my parents decided to move to Canada!

As my knee started to get better, I attended a fairly big, annual, orienteering competition. It was pure pleasure seeing all of the old friendly faces from the orienteering community. Running through rolling terrain of the beautiful open forests where my parents left behind a legacy in my last name was an incredible experience, and I had a decent run as well, except for poor routechoices to 4 and especially 9, a mistake at 16, and most importantly, being late for my start-time by more than a minute...

I was fairly pleased with the level that orienteering in general is at in the country. There are plenty of up-and-coming young guys around my age training hard, who have taken over the Elite category. The middle-aged categories are extremely competitive as well, especially on the men's side, filled with all of the competitors my parents ran with back in the day. There were about 4 buses completely filled with kids from all the nearby cities and villages, of all ages, but all very eager and enthusiastic. It is truly a great experience for them to live in tents, cook food on campfires and orienteer, as one big family for a weekend. Certainly also brings back lots of memories. Competitions of all sizes are fairly frequent throughout the season, as well as lots of great continental maps, all throughout the city, with a new, quality map made every year. Makes me appreciate the mindset and culture around quality orienteering here. In fact, my grandmother's place that I'm currently staying at is located on a park sprint map, which had been recently updated; with another, bigger but older map, right across the road from it. I am back to 100% and taking full advantage of these parks right beside me. :)

Looking forward to going to Sweden for two months in May! It will be a time with LOTS of orienteering on some incredible maps! Will try to keep everyone updated.

1 comment:

  1. Great stuff Serghei! Interesting to read about Moldova. Good luck in Sweden.