Unless you've been living under a rock (or perhaps an affluent suburb in the U.S. and don't pay attention to "news" outside of MTV), you've for sure heard of the earthquake that hit Chengdu, China recently.
This natural disaster struck just days after a cyclone ripped through Myanmar. The big difference between these two tragedies for me, as much as I hate to admit it, is the fact that I care a whole lot more about the tragedy affecting China.
It was eye opening to realize this -- and it was immediately apparent to me -- I care more simply because I have been to China and can easily find Chengdu on a map. We met people that were traveling there. And what's more, and please correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe my sister actually got routed through Chengdu on her way to Beijing.
I think realizing this is a good lesson for me (and for everyone in this world). It's good to travel. It's good to interact with other cultures. It's good to step outside your backyard and shake hands with someone that speaks a different language. It's not only fun, but it creates more empathy in this world, and I'm pretty sure that's one thing we don't have enough of.
I went to a Dunn Brothers coffee shop the other day to take a break and catch up on some email. When I pulled up my available wireless networks, I was greeted by a very effective use of free advertising.
I've got to give them credit. Not only was this mysterious "Asian Takeout" smart enough to realize that their neighbor (the coffee shop) would be full of laptop-carrying java junkies. But they had the forethought to 1) advertise in an extremely unconventional spot, and 2) have the goodwill to offer up free wifi as well. I don't know about you, but I've got the munchies.