The analytics from Blogger are fun to look at. I am particularly curious to look at the map and numbers from time to time of what countries visitors have come from. Interesting to me, but I seem to have a growing audience in Russia. I’m sure it is some sort of robot viewer housed there, doing random and frequent clicks and views, but I get a kick our of thinking that a 50 something mom sitting in a cozy Moscow apartment is reading my words, and laughing at or cringing at my words. Hello Russia! If any person is really there reading, please comment below. I’d love to get to know you.
I had an interesting conversation with a coworker this morning. It started off with a check in on the status of translated documents. We have a large Spanish, Somali, and Hmong speaking population in Minnesota, as well as dozens of other languages from countries around the world. We have limited our formal translation of documents to these three languages due to cost and reach. Part of the delay for the Somali and Hmong is the limited number of people that can read and write fluently in the languages, and as we do a community review, the disagreement sometime in the community as to the right interpretation. As conversations often side step, I leaned my 50 something colleague was foreign born herself, having immigrated from Eastern Europe through an adoption by her aunt when she was just nine years old.
She went on to share how her early years were in utter poverty, and on her few trips back, the culture shock was overwhelming. She was now assumed to be the rich American, expected to give money to remaining family members, had drivers and officials expecting monetary tips to do their job, and begging children in the streets. I recalled previous conversations about travel where she had stated she has little to no desire to leave the US. This coworker looks about as stereotypical middle class Minnesotan as a person can be. My perception was that she seemed very closed minded about travel, foreigners, and conservative views about poverty and educational attainment. Having this conversation flipped my paradigms completely. I should know by now to never make assumptions about anyone's views, opinions, and behaviors when I know nothing of their story.
The United States is a vast country of different cultures and stories, and as much as I want to travel abroad, I need remember I have barely experienced the diversity within my own country. We’ll be staying put, with the exception of the day stop in Canada, on native soil for the next few years, but will read hungrily travel blogs and writers from other countries. If you are a reader from another part of the US, (or heck from St Paul), or another country, please post a comment on what makes the place you call home special. Let’s all be arm chair travelers and travel guides together. And if you are that 50 year old mom in Moscow, I am waiting to connect !