Two 9-year-olds, 5,000 miles apart, aren't so different after all
I spent the week embarking on a serious, in-depth and investigative journalistic interview process. My subjects? Two nine-year-olds who grew up 5,000 miles apart from one another.
My purpose? To compare the life of an American third-grader to the life of a Moldovan third-grader. The results? Pretty darn cute.
Meet my nephew Brayden: He is from suburban Michigan in the United States. If I had to describe him in three words, I would choose witty, electric and loving.
Meet my host brother Lucian: He is from a small village in Moldova. If I had to describe him in three words, I would say he is clever, independent and playful.
Question 1: Can you tell me about a typical day in your life?
Brayden: I wake up, I eat breakfast and I brush my teeth. I go to school, eat lunch, come home from school and do homework. Sometimes after school I have football practice or basketball practice. Then I come home and eat dinner and get ready for bed. I brush my teeth and go to sleep. At school, I have gym, art, music, math, science, social studies and of course lunch and recess.
Lucian: I ride my bike, construct Legos and play with my friends. In school, we have different classes on different days. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, I have five classes; Wednesday and Friday, I have four classes. I study Romanian, math, art, music, gym, spiritual education, English and science.
Question 2: Who is your favorite superhero and why?
Brayden: Iron Man because he can fly!
Lucian: Iron Man because he has super powers and can fly!
Question 3: What do you know how to do that you can teach to others?
Brayden: I know how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, how to kick and throw a ball, how to play video games, how to use an iPod, how to pour a drink and how to put on clothes.
Lucian: I can repair a broken bike. I can make cages for rabbits. I can care for animals and give them food and water.
Question 4: What is your favorite thing to eat for dinner and why?
Brayden: Pierogies because I like mashed potatoes and noodles, and pierogies puts them both together.
Lucian: I like to eat a whole pizza with salami because it is big.
Question 5: What do you think your life will be like in the future?
Brayden: Happy! I think it will be fun. I will be working for Apple. I’ll live in Michigan and I think I’ll have kids, probably.
Lucian: I think in the future I will be Iron Man. I will save people and fight my enemies. I don’t know, that’s what I want.
Question 6: What’s your favorite television show and why?
Brayden: "Kickin’ It." It’s a karate show on Disney. It’s cool because it has a lot of action.
Lucian: "Ben 10" because I like his watch and all the transformations he can make. I also like RTR, a Russian show with concerts. It’s on every evening and I like listening to the music.
Question 7: What sports or other activities do you like to play/do?
Brayden: I like to play football, basketball and board games. I like to watch TV, play on my iPod, draw and play Xbox.
Lucian: I like to ride my bike, roller skate, ski (very much), ice skate and do pushups.
Question 8: What is your favorite memory (could be something funny, something that made you very happy, a moment you felt very proud, etc.)?
Brayden: Winning the Super Bowl game in football last year with the Shelby Lions. I made the winning play, but all I had to do was run it and not drop the ball.
Lucian: My happiest memory was when I spent a long time with my family in the mountains and at the sea last year for vacation.
Question 9: If you were rich, how would you spend your money?
Brayden: I would get a big house, a cool car, a good phone and a jet and I would go everywhere.
Lucian: I would spend my money on a house with two levels, a car and for health. I would give money to people in my village who have difficult lives.
Question 10: What is your favorite thing to do with your dad?
Brayden: To eat and open football cards. My Calvin Johnson jersey card is the best one I have.
Lucian: I like when we make paths in the yard after it snows and I like to go with him to work to see how well they collect wheat in the summer.
Question 11: What can you tell me about Moldova (for Brayden) / America (for Lucian)?
Brayden: Moldova is far away from where we are. It’s a big place with farms and it’s not like other places.
Lucian: In America, the roads are better, there are more houses and people are smart.
Question 12: How would you change the world if you could?
Brayden: Inside of every house, I would give everybody a 60-inch TV and an ice cream machine and you wouldn’t have to pay for the TV. And monkey servants. They would turn on the TV and get people their ice cream, open and close doors, things like that.
Lucian: I would make a time machine and change the world to be smart, good-hearted and friendly.
A special thank you to Brayden and Lucian for answering my random questions, making me laugh and reminding me of all the brilliant, humorous and inspiring thoughts that are floating around in the minds of children all over the world.