In the summer of 2012, my dear grandmother (Nana) asked me to “hang out with” and “entertain” her good friend’s granddaughter, Alessandra, who was visiting Pittsburgh for a few weeks that August. Of course I said yes right away…firstly, I love my Nana, I love new people, and Pittsburgh is a fabulous city to introduce to visitors. My Nana quickly and casually mentioned that Alessandra was from Qatar, but failed to mention that it was a different country in a different continent that I was not familiar with. So here I am thinking this girl was from a rural county in Pennsylvania or something…thank goodness my mom caught this and cleared things up for me a bit the day before I met her.
Fast forward to dinner with Alessandra…Our “light chat” is her explaining to me how her Spanish mother and American father met in Saudi Arabia, got married and had her in Kuwait, moved and had another son in Egypt, and finally settled in Qatar a few years ago. My head is spinning with excitement and questions and my jaw is dropped. She looks up cheerily and asks about my background. What background!?!? I’ve lived in the same suburb of Pittsburgh my whole life! Before I can answer, she sees a rabbit scurrying outside the living room window and squeals with joy. She’s jealous that I get to see squirrels, chipmunks, and deer every day. I’m thinking about how many times that same rabbit got cursed out by an angry driver, or how many chipmunks have been killed for ruining my neighbor’s garden. Do you know what she told me? In Qatar they have “camel crossing” signs instead of “deer crossing” signs. Can you imagine a camel crossing the sidewalk on College Green!!??
Isn’t it amazing how something so small can spark such open thinking? I left our lunch reconsidering everything, trying to appreciate my surroundings more and also thinking about how much more there is out in the world that I have no idea about. It only takes one small interaction to open your mind!
The Women’s Center has a number of opportunities to open your mind this coming week!
Check out International Women’s Coffee Hour on Wednesday, March 11 from 4-6pm in the Women’s Center.
Next, join us for our weekly Brown Bag Lunch and Learn with Dr. Lorna Jean Edmonds, Vice Provost for Global Affairs and International Studies, as she discusses “OHIO in the Universe: Today’s Global Strategy.”
Ohio University Women’s Center Blog Editor