Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The blogging world is flat... (5 random things about me)

This post was inspired by Lisa Call, whose blog is a very interesting read, and whose art is even more beautiful.

Five random things about me... hmmm... that's hard. Does anyone really care? Here's a departure from the format... I will share some facts I think are interesting, about me, about you, and not about me, and maybe not so random, and hope you are entertained.

As a native New Yorker, born to a passionate airline employee, I have always had a global view. Spending so much time travelling, and truly exploring JFK airport, where my Dad had his office, sparked my global interest.

I have worked on both the export and import sides for fabric and apparel companies, and my love for foreign foods is endless. I am a falafel maniac lately, and have discovered that I no longer need to make my own tahini sauce. Annie's Goddess dressing has most of the same ingredients! I also looove going out for sushi.

Food and art together on a plate? C'mon!

I have learned by selling random things on Ebay that there is nothing you can't sell, if you open yourself up to a global clientele. The only hassle of selling internationally is the customs form, but they aren't hard to complete, and it is truly worth the trouble. So yes, the world is flat, and we are all interested in one another. Our unique tastes and points of view are worth sharing with as many people as care to "listen".

(Hang in there... this post will eventually be about sewing, too!)

In 1990-1991, I lived in Paris for a year. This is one of the reasons I enjoy Isabelle's blog so much. I was an intern for a large oil company (long story), and a student. I was told a joke by one of my classmates at The EAP (a European Business School, that went something like this...

"What do you call a person who speaks two languages?"

Answer: Bilingual

"What do you call a person who speaks many languages?"

Answer: Polyglot

"What do you call a person who speaks one language?"

Answer: American

You probably already know this, but Google can translate sites for you, if you click the "translate" button. No great shakes? Well, consider this, you can search for blogs written in the foreign language of your choice, you can find them, read the translated version, and, if you feel so compelled, submit your translated comments! (You can have Google do this for you, too!) Keep it simple, though, since, if you don't know the language at all, you will not know whether you need to fix some words in the translation, turning it all into nonsense.

I am about 75% fluent in French, if I am speaking. I understand about 80-90% of what I hear under normal circumstances, (significantly less if we get into technical sewing terms) but my writing is only about 50%, because of grammatical, spelling, and syntax errors. But the translations are far from perfect. When looking at French blogs about sewing, I see that every time the word "pattern" is translated, in English, the word "boss" is written in its place. The reason is, the word for "pattern" (like a sewing pattern) and the word for "boss" (like one you'd work for) are the same, and the Google translator doesn't consider context. This is an obstacle, which I guess is surmountable if there is a "wikipedia-like" involvement of the masses to fix translations.

Well, anyway, my reason for posting this, is that creativity, and the desire to share it, is universal. I have found that many France-based, French-speaking people seem to have a great love for Japanese fashion, as do I. Translating various blogs opens up a whole new world of information, inspiration, and possibilities.

You can also add a "translate" widget to your own site, to invite those who do not speak your own language.

Following, are some great examples from my web-travels today.

This one has lovely pictures, enthusiastic and colorful.

And, because I've got curtains on the brain, this one caught my eye.

And this one, particularly for the I-Pod armband, breadbasket and chopstick-holder ideas.

And dare I say... there are millions more out there????


  1. What a fun and interesting twist on the 5 random facts meme. I was so surprised (and honoured) to see my blog mentioned!

    I too find myself constantly fascinated by the different worlds, cultures, ways of life, one can get a peek into thanks to the Internet. I also keep pondering how we should beware of hasty generalisations - this is only a tip of the iceberg, the people granted access to the Internet and computer savvy enough to manage a blog/site are just a specific part of a population, and the crafty/sewing people are even a more limited and unrepresentative part. I'm afraid many people read a few foreign blogs and think, "oh, so the French are so and so/enjoy this and that", etc.
    I'm not saying you're doing this! I'm sure you're very aware of this as well, given your background and experience. This is simply something dear to my heart.

    To answer your question on my blog the other day - I'm French, with a passion for the English language, English literature, and English-speaking cultures. My job and most my life revolves around this :)

    A bientôt !

  2. As a person who deals all the time with the international community, I'm embarrassed that I do speak just one language. And sometimes I'm not sure I even do it that well!

  3. Well, I have discovered that learning a foreign language is so much more than just the language itself. Yes, you can learn to speak with soemone so that the actual words you say can be understood, but it opens up a whole new form of expression, a whole new way of thinking... a new "world", so to speak.