Friday, July 8, 2011

why the new blog?

After almost five years of blogging at, this is now home.

Why the move? Why the new name?

After spending a month in Korea, I decided that I no longer want le blogue to be defined by our ‘year-in-Nicaragua,’ which has now receded well into the past…five years ago (already?!) to be exact…S. and I still think of things as being ‘Before Nicaragua’ or ‘After Nicaragua,’ and we still treasure that year of la vida centroamericana as being one of the defining experiences of our lives…but time moves on, and living takes us elsewhere…

Now, why the title of this new blog?–why “allophile?”

I like learning languages--as in other languages...I like traveling--as in going elsewhere...I enjoy conversing, reading about viewpoints--as in other viewpoints...And 'allophile' literally means 'liker/lover of the other.' You know--'francophiles' like all things French...'cinephiles' enjoy the movies...

And growing up biracial, I was always 'the other'--in elementary school I was always 'the Asian kid,' whereas when going to Asia, I was 'the foreigner.' The only cities where I've felt truly 'at home' have been the coastal places where multiracial families are 'just part of the scenery,' instead of being 'odd'...

But even in Seattle--here's an anecdote. A few years ago, my wife was introducing me to an acquaintance. After the name-exchange, instead of the usual 'nice to meet you,' I was asked, "Where are you from?"

At this point, I'd lived in the NW for years, so I just said "oh, from here in Seattle.'

This wasn't good enough--"No, where are you FROM?"
So, I replied "well, I moved here from Georgia."

My response then elicited this question: "No--I mean, WHAT ARE YOU?"
I suppressed (with some difficulty) my desire to be snarky ("Umm...I'm 'human?' how about you?!")
I realized that this acquaintance needed to know my ethnicity--obviously, I wasn't 'like her'--I was 'Other'...

Not to get too academic--but the idea of 'liking the other'--being interested in 'Others'...that's the point of 'allophile.' If you do want to go down the academic road, here a couple of links:
--a Harvard professor has taken the word and run with it...
--an article from a Boston paper that summarizes it...

And as a teacher who works with teenagers--they are so often 'the Other.'

So, blogwise...
Can I write without undue verbosity? post photos without inducing slideshow-yawning?
Ah–showing just enough–therein lies the poetry–of prose and of images.
…not that a blog needs to be ‘poetic,’ but concise, when needed, is nice.

(the previous blog is copied below, incidentally...)

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