Sunday, January 9, 2011

Random Thoughts

Just dawned on me I had a few other things upon which I wanted to write.  Figures that it would happen after I had already written a mostly useless blog entry already today.  *sigh*

I don't normally follow a lot of blogs.  I obviously pay attention to those from LessThanDot (from a variety of authors - all of whom are very good at what they do and from whom I learn a great deal) and then a few others of friends or the occasional political blog (there is one I still "follow" but I won't list it here because it has become nothing more than a hyper-partisan attack blog from the left - I'll be delisting it soon from my follow list).  However, I have recently come across one blog that actually went back to read from the very beginning.  is written by a Westerner (I'm pretty sure he's American) who is living in China and he offers his experiences there to allow his readers a different view of a nation and people that most Americans (Westerners) may never otherwise see.  I have very much enjoyed reading his point of view because he strives to avoid the common stereotypes of China and instead offers a more nuanced view of the country and its people.  From my own experiences in China, I can easily see the author's point of view and appreciate the ability of someone to see beyond the stereotypes.  It is very enlightening and I highly recommend this blog as an opportunity to learn more about China beyond the news stories that offer little more than generalized stories about the nation and its people.

Over the last couple of days, I've finished two books.  The first was a very positive biography of the Marquis de Lafayette - the hero of the American Revolution.  That is a part of history to which I had heretofore not given a lot of attention and his story has now made me curious to do more learning on that subject.  The second book I found to be very inspiring and is a highly recommended read for those who want a little perspective on their lives.  The Story of My Life by Farah Ahmedi is a wonderful autobiography of a young Afghan girl and the struggles she has gone through - and she is only 17 at the time of the book's publication.  Losing her foot at age 7 as the result of a land mine in her native Afghanistan, she weaves a powerful tale of struggle against incredible odds to not only survive but to move forward with her life.  She talks about her escape from Afghanistan to Pakistan and thence to the United States of America.  Her struggle to deal with her tragic circumstances is both poignant and heart-warming and a reminder of the strength and fragility that we all possess.  The fact that she has triumphed as best she can and yet shares her continued concerns for her future life gives an insight that is rarely found in most stories.  A quick Google search after I finished the book shows that she continues to succeed as she goes to college and presumably has been able to lead a "normal" life that would otherwise have been unavailable to her.  Her story will certainly make me pause and reconsider  the next time I have a bad day at the office or at home.

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