How the World Looks From Where I Sit

xen·o·pho·bi·a
ˌzenəˈfōbēə,ˌzēnəˈfōbēə/
noun
 1.  intense or irrational dislike or fear of people from other countries.
So, what exactly is going on in Britain right now?
If anyone who is unfamiliar with the current situation in Britain and needs it “School House Rocked” for them, this word is the only word you need to understand. The Leave campaign that just managed to gain the majority of votes in last night’s Brexit is a campaign that centers around xenophobic politics and rhetoric. Political supporters of this campaign used fear mongering tactics to convince the citizens of the UK that immigrants were, essentially, the crux of all of their problems and, that the only way to remedy this, was to leave the European Union altogether. That’s the super basic, elementary version of what happenedUnfortunately, these xenophobic tendencies are not limited to just the UK…countries all over the world are blaming their issues on immigrants because that is much easier than admitting that maybe, just maybe, they don’t have everything figured out. Lord knows that Americans have been inundated with xenophobic rhetoric for decades and it has gotten especially prevalent with the disgusting popularity of a certain presidential candidate. While I commend the Brits for the impressive voter turnout, I agree with the majority of 18-29 year old voters that leaving the EU is certainly not in the best interest of the country.
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But, Morgan, you’re living in Moldova so why the heck do you care?
I care because the citizens of Moldova have the potential to be significantly impacted by this decision and a great majority of them are scared. For those that don’t know, one of the major problems Moldova faces, as a country, is brain drain. Brain drain isn’t some intense lobotomy-esque medical procedure, but rather something that is much more detrimental to a country’s success and growth.Young Moldovans, aka people in my generation, are leaving the country in droves to pursue education and find employment in other countries around the world.
Due to the current economic state of this country, it is extremely difficult to earn a living wage unless you are born into wealth or you own a business. Parents will leave their children in the care of a grandparent or, sometimes, to care for themselves in order to work abroad (often in positions of near indentured servitude). There is much more money to be made in countries, such as Romania, Italy, and Ireland…oh yeah, and the UK. Now you see part of the issue, huh? There are Moldovans that are currently working in Britain and sending the money back home to support their families so it’s only natural that these families are scared. What does that mean for their loved ones’ job? What does that mean for their main source of income? What does that mean for the lives of their children and grandchildren? What does that mean for their livelihood in general? They are scared and they have absolutely every right to be.

 

As for why I care…well, I’ve been an honorary Moldovan for right at 3 weeks now and, even being born and bred in the South, I would be hard pressed to remember a time where I have received more hospitality than what I have since my time in this country. Moldovans have a genuine love for family and friends and I have been taken in as such even though I’m an obnoxious American with subpar Romanian language skills. Are there cultural norms that I am struggling with? Of course there are. As a woman who has spent her life surrounded by male-dominated fields, I am comfortable interacting with men, but here, that is not a thing. Men do not directly greet women on the street/in a group/pretty much at all and, if you know me, that has been a struggle. The feminist in me wants to scream and shout “hey I’m right here…how about you not be rude?”, but I remind myself to take a step back and look at these situations through a different cultural lens. I remind myself that Moldova is not America.

Moldova is quintessentially and uniquely its own and, honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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