It’s a small world (after all)


It’s a world of laughter, a world of tears…

You all remember that obnoxious Disney song? (And perhaps the 50’s-esque theme park ride in Disney World, for those of you having been blessed with such a childhood experience). Well, lately, I’ve been starting to feel like it’s more or less true. The more you travel, the more people you know around the world, the smaller the world seems to feel. I remember a Swiss friend telling me once about a common habit the Swiss (who love Australia almost as much as they love Canada) have: when meeting an Australian, they have a tendency to ask him or her, “Do you know my cousin? He’s been there for about a year or two now,” as if there were only a handful of Swiss to know in the whole country. Surprisingly enough, this sometimes works in real life, as in the case of my mother eating out in a restaurant in Chicago only to find that the waitress was a high school classmate of mine, who happened to be following my blog.

You see where I’m going with this? I imagined the blogosphere to be some sort of benevolent void into which I sent blog post after blog post, testing my writing chops and working out the kinks in my long dormant reflects (and penchant for writing).  I knew that my relatives, whose presence on Facebook very much eclipses my own, would probably follow what I was up to, as well as some of my two hundred or something Facebook friends, an assortment of school acquaintances and close friends.  But I never expected to connect with someone, in a non-virtual way.  But apparently, not only are there too few English-speaking or American expats in Amiens, there are even fewer who have a blog (with the exception of your wonderful blog, Fliss).  Which makes me rather Google friendly.

To date, I have connected with one American couple, both virtually and in person, and I recently received a call from an international company who had found my blog, only to connect with me via Linkedin.  And what they asked me to do (it’s a company secret!) has required me to utilize my very limited but surprising networking skills: contacting friends formerly living in Amiens, friends currently living in Amiens, and current and former employers both residing in and outside of Amiens.  All in order to connect with three other countries for (hopefully) a virtual job well done.

I’m still not sure whether or not I feel like globalization makes the world more distant – you can just as easily “meet” someone in a virtual setting and never actually spend time with them in real life – or more connected.  Smaller or more technologically in tune?  I’ll have another opportunity to test the waters on this whole “global” thing by beginning an online MBA class with a university down the street from where my mother resides and next door to where I went to high school – a small, private university that happens to have campuses on three continents.  I’m even thinking, if this online learning works out, of taking the plunge with Coursera, in order to pick up a few valuable skills (Java?) and round out my repertoire.  Heck, if Duolingo can work for me, why not some other virtual classroom?  At least the teachers and classmates (all a million of them) are (theoretically) real people…

Categories: Daily Life, Expats | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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