It's that time of year again. When every high schooler inevitably starts coughing and/or sniffling and/or sneezing. Back in the states, it means sitting miserably in class trying to postpone the embarrassingly runny nose with frequent tiny sniffs because you forgot tissues and the teacher's personal stash is empty and the toilet paper and paper towels from the bathroom are the least desirable things to put on your face except maybe sand paper. In Belgium, this is not the case. There are tissue dispensers in the hallways, tissues in the bathrooms, and tissues in the bookbags of every single student. Asking someone if they have a tissue (mouchoir) is no longer a halfhearted and helpless matter. And if you somehow manage to forget, one or two sniffs in class will get you an offer of a tissue from the girl sitting next to you.
I think I'll be taking these mouchoir packs back with me. Even if blowing your nose in front of everybody isn't as acceptable in Maine as it is here (although apparently people here think that sniffling is just as rude/embarrassing/annoying as we think blowing your nose is back home).
À la prochaine (et la prochaine mouchoir!)