One of the things that makes life beautiful is difference. We are people from different backgrounds, cultures, traditions and colors. Yet, we share one blood and we are all equal since we are all humans.
In the United States a lot of people live in a bubble, caught up on material things, their next accomplishment, and vanity; if only they were to expand their horizon and see what a big, beautiful world it is out there. It is so nice to travel and get to know the different cultures throughout the world, to experience the beauty of difference and to expand our knowledge of cultural differences.
Today my deed of the day is to learn about a new country or culture – my country of choice is one of Europe's smallest countries, entirely surrounded by the much larger Ukraine to its East, and Romania to its West; Moldova. The country is split linguistically between Moldovan (Romanian) and Russian.
The following are five (5) interesting facts that I learned about the Moldovan culture:
- Moldova's production of wine is the highest in the world per capita; most houses have their own vines in their yards. While these homemade wines may not be of commercial standard, it shows that wine is at the heart of Moldovan culture.
- Moldova is a country where libraries are going bankrupt and there is more and more demand for macaroon and cupcake shops; forget about the bookshops, cupcakes are the future.
- The cave "Emil Racovita", in Criva is the 8th greatest cave on the planet.
- In Moldova smiling openly, often and in public is not generally a thing. Smiles are genuine and to be shared with friends, family and other loved ones. It's strange when you see someone smiling in public – unless its directed at someone; smiling in public is a great way to spot foreigners. Moreover, the lack of smiles may make you think people are actually less than happy with you or in general, when really they are quite happy.
- Moldovan's make lots and lots of toasts; they will make a toast of Sanatate, "to health" but generally expect to hear anecdotes, a lot of well-wishing and a toast before every drink. During dinner about ten (10) toasts an hour is standard; not to mention, you are likely to hear the same toast over and over again. When they want to drink they even have a toast to avoid having a toast – "hai devai!" which means "lets go".
"Please be a traveler, not a tourist. Try new things, meet new people, and look beyond what's right in front of you. Those are the keys to understanding this amazing world we live in."
– Andrew Zimmern ©