Saturday, January 12, 2008

The World

From the busy cities and deep woods of Canada, to the balut stands of the Philippines, this world is a diverse and fascinating place.

We humans have created more than 200 countries. Some of them share languages with each other, such as Brazil and Portugal, Germany and Austria, Australia, the US and England. Some of them nurture more than one language within their national boundaries, such as India or the aforementioned Philippines.

Nearly ten years ago, I set myself a project, which I have at times pursued, at other times allowed to lapse. This new year of 2008, I am determinted to pursue it toward its end.

That is, to devote each month of the year to a different country, in alphabetical order for convenience. I will learn a few important words in the country's principal language, make a traditional food, find a blogger from that nation and get to know him or Her, and read at least one book by a native author.

If I get lazy or distracted one month, I will nonetheless move on to a new country the next month. Otherwise, I tend to get stuck on Andorra or redo Afghanistan. I need to keep up the pace to make this into a habit.

Why do this? Why not? Why not learn how to say thank you in Vietnamese or how to cook chicken the way they do in India? Why not derive pleasure from Egyptian poetry and make a friend from Cambodia?

So, once again, I start with Afghanistan. There is beauty and deep history to this land -- a story independent of, and long pre-dating, its modern woes.

On the map of the world, it is wedged between Pakistan and Iran. Alexander the Great campaigned here. Buddhism once flourished, before the coming of Islam. Pashtu, an Aryan language, is the principal tongue.

May 27 is its Independence Day.Khushhal Khan Khatak is considered the national poet of modern Afghanistan. Endemic plants include Mantha longifolia, but the nation's flora and fauna have been heavily damaged by both drought and war.


Janice Thomson said...

What a fascinating idea ECD - one that puts you in touch with humans the world-over. I shall look forward to these posts.
I have done the same with poetry, quite by chance though, and was delighted with the superb treasures I've read thus far. Right now am reading a Slovenian poet. A couple months ago I found a Chinese poet whose works were stunning. Perhaps I should consider going alphabetically as you suggest. Thanks ECD - I'm going to borrow your idea.

Chase March said...

That’s a cool idea. If I had the time, I’d join you on this endeavor. I have a few plans myself for this New Year though.

Have a great trip around the world, ECD!

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Great idea. I like your mind's desire for knowledge. I hope this means that you are taking us along for the journey.

Ela (braveheart) said...

I feel like a kid at school who actually listen to a teacher that makes learning interesting.

This blog is full of clear little pieces of information.