The grandma's house is full of her girlfriends (the grandmas from our and a couple of neighbouring villages) who all came to hear her stories, look at the pictures and ask questions about the far-far-away. It is a big event. Most of them have never been outside of Moldova (and rarely outside of the village) and have no access to internet. There will be stories, laughter and wool spinning. And of course good food, wine, tuica, palinca and horinca.
And our grandma wouldn't be Moldovan if she did not bring presents for every single of her girlfriends. On our departure day she was found in one of our resort's shops trying to pay for a bunch of designer scarfs and a dress with her savings of 80 Euros she earned selling goat cheese and now was willing to part with to bring presents for her girlfriends. This is a lot of money for her, she probably even hoped to get some change back. How much can a bunch of scarves and a dress cost, right? You, can get a heap like that for about 10 Euros at Moldova's markets.
The problem was that the super pretentious shop that advertises itself as "Elegant fashion and art. An unerring taste in fashion, accessories and lifestyle, boutique shopping is elevated to an art in the middle of the Indian Ocean" at a super pretentious resort in, well the middle of the Indian Ocean did not have a single thing that cost 80 Euro. Even the money clips and the hair pins cost more. But she loved those scarves, oh boy she really did.
Head scarves are a big thing for grannies in Moldova and apparently she was blown away by the scarves in that shop. Turned out she came to the shop to look at them almost every day and on our final day she went in, took all the scarves she had selected for her girlfriends on her prior visits, added a dress and proudly handed 80 Euros over to the shop assistant. Anyway, Elena, the Russian speaking staff member at the resort who looked after the grandma a lot for us there (speaking Russian was key in this as neither of us speaks any Romanian or Russian and we can't talk to the grandma directly) found me enjoying a beer not far from the shop (the shop assistant called her) and drove us to the shop in her golf cart. I had a good laugh and used my card to pay for the shopping. When the grandma saw this she assumed that the shop could only take cards but not cash and tried to give me her 80 Euros.
She could not stop looking at the scarves for the rest of the day. Well, to be fair they might indeed be a bit better than average Turkish or Chinese scarves available at Moldovan markets since each of them costs close to half a house in our village but I don't know.
And the dress... The dress was for Rucsanda. But that story deserves a separate post.
Elizabeth just came to our place for dinner. We asked her to swing by the grandma's place on her way to us and pick up one of our bags that got unloaded at grandma's place by mistake.
Elizabeth (entering): Ummm...Bjorn, there is a giant pile of what looked like gorgeous Hermes silk scarfs and shawls at grandma's place and the grannies are trying them on in front of the giant mirror they dragged out of the bedroom and laughing like teenage girls. So I thought I'd just check if you are just giving those scarves to ummmm.... everyone maybe?
Me: Yeah, you know, I paid for a lot of scarves in the last couple of days. So maybe I am done. For life.
Helga (shouting from the study): Yeah, I don't think so. I don't think that you are done at all. [Comes into the room with an orange box, hands it over to Elizabeth] Here, I got something for you.
Elizabeth (opening the box in something like a millisecond and taking (surprise) a scarf out of it): Omg omg omg omg! I love it! I love it! I love it! I love it so much! Aaaaaaaa! (hugs Helga) Thank you so much!
Seriously though, those scarves are just square or rectangle pieces or strips of cloth with some print on them. How can one have such strong emotions about them? And Elizabeth? The girl who could not walk in heels even to win a bet with me (see here). And more importantly, how the fuck is it possible for them to cost so fucking much? I mean, WTF is with this (see here)?