Here’s what I’ve learned from this project so far:
I’ve been reminded of how much of our planet is covered in water by having coordinates land in the ocean more than anywhere else.
I’ve been reminded how big certain places—Antarctica, Africa and Australia, for example—are.
It has changed my interactions with people. I’m learning more about where they’re from, and thus, more about them as people. Food is something everyone loves and feels connected to, and everyone’s an expert when it comes to favorite regional foods.
For example, I was having a conversation with a cab driver who was from Brazil. Because I know ahead of time that some of my upcoming regions are in Brazil, I asked him where in Brazil he was from. It was a place I’d never heard of, but he then asked me if I knew a lot about Brazil. “Not yet,” I told him, and I explained my project.
“Oh, cool!” he said, and he asked where the first region in Brazil would be.
“Pará,” I said.
“No way! My family’s from Pará!” And so we were able to learn a lot from each other that day. It’s a small world.
The other day I was telling a colleague about this project and mentioned the first place was Saskatchewan. “Oh, really?” she asked. “What did you make?”
“A lot of pierogies,” I responded. “They actually have a large Ukrainian population there.”
“Yeah,” she said. “My family’s actually from Saskatchewan, and we’re Ukrainian! We just celebrated Christmas with a ton of pierogies!”
I was so surprised! I had no idea. I mentioned I’d made the crumble and the Jello & fruit cocktail cake, and she nodded knowingly. “I hope I did the region justice,” I told her. “You’ll have to let me know what you think and tell me what I’ve missed in case I ever land there again!” She happily agreed.
I learned a lot about her just from that interaction. It was exciting for both of us—for me, that she’s someone from a culture I’ve been researching, and, for her, that I was so interested in the specific region her family comes from.
As I continue to learn, I’ll continue to share.