A new star lights up in our expat sky: today we talk to Inna Rothmann, Coordinator of the International Charity Bazaar which the IWCM holds annually, writer and teacher.
I first met Inna when we started working together on the International Charity Bazaar.
Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, there was no Bazaar in 2020. But the last Bazaar in 2019
under the coordination of Inna was the most successful in the entire history of its holding in Moldova. It was visited by the most people, and a record amount was raised for charity. Thus, we managed to help the largest number of our beneficiaries, there were about 10 of them. All the detailed information from the Bazaar is available here.
Inna, you managed to coordinate the work of several dozen people at the International Charity Bazaar so clearly and correctly. I’ve never heard you raise your voice or lose your temper, although we’ve had a lot of stressful situations, like when organizing any event. Please tell us briefly about yourself and what brought you to the International Women’s Club of Moldova.
I was born in Moldova. I’ve finished an English school here and then went to a University in Moscow, where I studied foreign languages. I also studied in Germany for a while.
Then I met my husband from South Africa, and we moved to the United Arab Emirates. Last year we had plans to move to a new destination, but due to the pandemic, we had to stay.
After you’ve changed place of residence several times, when you return home, you start looking for an expat community. So since I came back to Moldova, I joined the International Women’s Club. I was willing to participate actively and do something.
Moldova is quite an open country, so you can just go and socialize. You meet people easily.
Also as Moldova is a developing country, there’s lots of need for help, for assistance, for improving the lifestyle and standards of living of people in need. I was glad to participate in the Club activities because it makes you feel like you make a difference now so you can see something being done right in front of you. You feel like going to visit children’s hospitals and orphanages. See the changes, how it was and how it changed.
For example, some defibrillators the club donated to the children’s hospital, made a difference in people’s lives. So I really think this is a very important part of the club.
I’m just hoping when this stressful time is over, we can be back to socialize with each other in person. I hope that Moldexpo will return to hosting events again.
What would you recommend for other expat women coming to Moldova?
I would highly recommend joining the IWCM because it combines both charity and socializing. So you can meet fellow expat women at, for example, international lunches, and some other social events we used to have.
Even the Bazaar was a great social event for the whole city. And charities, so whatever your soul is closer to, you do seek help and assistance and you can find it in the club.
Inna, you’ve had experience living in Africa, Europe and Asia. Cultural differences of these countries are significant. What is your key to adapt to the environment?
I think you should just have an open mind and not judge everyone from your point of view, because every culture is different and if a new culture is different than yours, it doesn’t mean it’s wrong. It just means it’s different.
I think learning about different cultures makes a difference to adaptation instead of creating the bubble in a foreign country. You should try to enrich your horizons.
When I lived in Dubai, there was this Cultural Center for Understanding. Few times a week, locals and expats would come and share dinner, and you could ask any questions about Emirati culture and traditions because the hosts were very open minded. You could even ask uncomfortable questions like, for example, “can you really have four wives”, and the hosts at the Center wouldn’t find them offensive. They would just embrace them and share their points of view.
And that made me understand the local culture and helped me gain my appreciation for Muslim Arab culture.
I think every country should have a center like that.
As a teacher what lesson would you teach modern children?
Patience. To learn how to be patient and for that probably reading is a good thing to do. Just put your phone away for an hour and read a book. I’ve heard a good quote about this the other day: «Wealth of information creates a poverty of attention».
Blitz poll questions
- Feeling home for you is…
- …feeling safe and loved
- Arriving in a new country you start first with…
- …bringing my favorite candle and lighting it so that it fills the new home with the familiar aroma
- Whatever happens continue to…
- …move forward
- What aspects of Moldavian culture do you like most of all?
- Multilingualism. People can speak at least two languages fluently. It’s a huge privilege people here don’t realize they have. And that fact makes a big contrast to many European countries. For example, when I lived in a small town in Germany, not a single person spoke English. The only English speaking person I found was my hairdresser. And that’s because she used to be a diplomat
- Favorite Moldavian restaurant?
- La Placinta, Zaxi, restaurant at Castel Mimi
- What do you prefer to do on the week-end in Moldova?
- Go for a walk around historical center, drive to the Nistru river, have a bbq