This month, WordPress expanded the type of coverage we bloggers get in our stats by showing us from what countries our visitors come. When I first saw it, I got very excited. I knew from my end-of-year report for 2011 that my blog was being seen from people in countries outside the United States. However, seeing this on a daily basis has made me more aware that I have some readers who live in places other than the United States. Better than that, they are coming from countries where they don’t speak English as a native language.
Ever since I can remember, I have had a love for people that went beyond boundaries like language, religion, country and culture. I remember being five years old, I received my first real Bible, and my sister told me I could write anything I wanted in the “notes” pages at the back. I remember thinking long and hard before I asked my sister to write for me (having never learned yet how to write for myself): “I love everyone in the whole wide world.” I also remember how fervently I believed those words, even though at the time, I didn’t understand the difference between a state or a country.
When I was seven, I had my first dream of visiting a country overseas. It was Switzerland, because I had seen some pictures in a book of that country and it’s people–and they were all smiling. And I thought what a beautiful place that must be. Someone must have tried to explain to me how far away it was because I remember the impression I had of that country–that is was soooo far away, and even its distance made it seem more beautiful to me. Later, when I was nine, a woman came to my fourth grade class, dressed in a kimono and telling us about adventures in another country, Japan. And that was when I started my first bucket list: countries I would like to visit.
When I was growing up, we didn’t have the Internet yet (not to mention, my family didn’t get TV until I was about 12), and so learning about these places was limited to encyclopedias or whatever books I could get at the library. Every once in a while, I might meet someone who had travelled there and maybe said a little about it. But my exposure to other countries was rather limited. And so my understanding of the countries and their peoples was always liberally mixed with the mystery that came about because of my limited access to information about these countries.
Over the years, I have had the opportunity to meet so many more people who came to the United States from other countries, and I have always loved hearing stories of their homeland. And I have scoured the Internet, looking at blogs written by people from various countries and looking at pictures and stories from people who have visited these places. Having done this, the mystery I always felt surrounding my impression of these countries and their peoples has slowly faded. What has replaced that mystery is an awareness that we, all of us, are pretty much the same.
We want to be accepted and love and be loved, we want happiness within our families, we want to feel valued and useful. No matter where we come from, our religion, race, country or creed, it seems we have this which we can meet together on.
And I think this is beautiful.