Let me just plainly state that there are a plethora of differences between Moldovan kids and American kids. However, there are a few differences in particular that I never really do get used too.
Moldovan kids don’t have ANY problems picking their nose. In fact, I’ve seen some adults do it without shame as well. I was sitting next to an older woman on the bus who started picking her nose, and I looked over in astonishment. I was amazed that she was openly doing this like nothing was wrong. And you know what…Not one person gave it a second look, second thought or anything. It was just me, completely unsettled that I had to sit next to this nose picking woman. Needless to say, I was GREATLY offended. Why? Because I’m American and in America nose picking is NOT acceptable (at least not in public).
However, I’ve taught my students about how germs are spread and how important it is to keep our hands clean and to cover our nose and mouth properly etc… And for the most part, I have seen a difference in the way my students now cover their coughs and sneezes.
But, THE NOSE PICKING is outrageous! The part that blows me away is that it is considered socially acceptable. Kids don’t make fun of other kids because they pick their nose. They don’t get grossed out by it and move away or tell the teacher. Students are not ostracized at ALL for nose picking. In America, if a kid gets caught picking his nose in class, he’s bound to be the butt of every joke for the rest of the day. I AM NOT saying that I think this is a good thing. To be honest, I don’t think any child should be ostracized for anything. I’m simply making an observation that in Moldova… A kid won’t be bullied for digging for gold. And being the semi-germaphobe that I am…It grosses me out.
In fact, today this 6th grader named Mihai was picking his nose instead of writing down his notes. I told Mihai that it is important to have “clean hands” and not to put his hands in his nose. He laughed and continued while the girls next to him laughed as well. That’s when I realized: I’m the only person in this entire school who has a problem with nose picking.
In Moldova, it’s okay for students/people to wear the same clothes (I mean the EXACT same outfit for an entire week). I’m actually really happy that this is acceptable here considering the poverty level of most families. Kids don’t have to worry about having a big wardrobe, because most of the students have one. In fact, if you have a really cute outfit that you wear all week, it is just as cute on Friday as it was on Monday, by Moldovan standards. However, you will be made fun of if your clothes are considered dirty for one reason or another. Many times this label is a reflection of the family the students come from. A good/clean family vs. a bad/dirty family. The labeling is another blog post all on it’s own. In America, if a kid were to wear the same thing over and over again, he would also be made fun of. Or people would talk about how “poor” they were.
I would love to say these two differences point out how tolerant Moldovan students are compared to American students, but that is just not the case. It’s merely a difference in what is considered socially acceptable and what isn’t. In case you needed a re-cap. Picking your nose and wearing the same thing every day is perfectly okay in Moldova.
That is all.