78 Countries

I checked my blog statistics yesterday, something I’d neglected to do in a while not because it isn’t important, but because of other tasks. I was fairly surprised, therefore, when I saw that my readers come from no less than 78 countries.

They appeared on my list in this order: Canada, Bulgaria, United States, United Kingdom, Greece, Australia, France, Brazil, India, Spain, Ireland, Philippines, Indonesia, Germany, Russian Federation, Netherlands, Belgium, Japan, Bangladesh, Serbia, Taiwan, Denmark, Pakistan, Sweden, Mexico, Israel, United Arab Emirates, Viet Nam, Singapore, Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria, French Polynesia, Malaysia, Uruguay, Zimbabwe, Thailand, Italy, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Lithuania, Czech Republic, Lebanon, Poland, New Zealand, Jamaica, Hong Kong, Portugal, Turkey, Republic of Korea, Ecuador, Morocco, Fiji, Peru, Botswana, Switzerland, Puerto Rico, Argentina, Qatar, Barbados, Sudan, Slovakia, Egypt, Grenada, Monaco, Austria, Venezuela, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Croatia, Finland, Albania, Moldova, Chile, Cyprus, Hungary, Seychelles, and Latvia.

The above list made me think of the 2014 FIFA World Cup ™, taking place at this writing. And, now that I live in Toronto, I’m used to meeting people from different countries on an almost daily basis.

Let me give you one example. I went to a local pub the other day. Portugal was playing against Germany. There was a group of people sitting at nearby tables with matte skin and very dark hair. I was somewhat surprised, therefore, when the entire group screamed in joy, in unison when Germany scored a goal and looked at me with an air of superiority. They’d obviously overheard me tell the waitress that I was rooting for Portugal. Although it’s important not to assume anything based on outward appearances, it’s only human to sometimes do so. These are the experiences that chip away at our prejudices and tendency to stereotype people. The group might have been made up of Brazilians or persons of Brazilian descent. Portugal colonized Brazil in circa 1534. As you can see, it gets complicated and memories run deep.

Whatever the case, it was a sorry ending for Portugal and I’d never seen Ronaldo look more upset. But. you know, let’s face it, the German team was very good, played meticulously, and displayed tactical strength.

Azerbaijan

Let’s get back to the above list of the 78. As I perused the list, for inexplicable reasons, one country attracted my attention: Azerbaijan. I thought to myself, ‘Why would someone from Azerbaijan be interested in reading my blog?’ Call it instinct or intuition, I just wondered, ‘Why Azerbaijan?’

You can see where Azerbaijan is in the world:

Azerbaijan map

Azerbaijan on the map

You, Dear Reader from Azerbaijan, captured my imagination and for this I congratulate you.

Have a look and a listen at this fantastic song, Start a Fire, by Dilara Kazimova, Eurovision 2014 contestant:

http://youtu.be/cjfJSYQD0wk

Doesn’t she have a great voice? I think so.

Although I arbitrarily singled out my Azerbaijani viewer today, I just want to thank everybody—from all 78 countries—who follow my blog.

You are all fabulous.

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