I dated the ambassador's daughter to Kazakhstan once when I was 15.
We were visiting my Dad in Kazakhstan for the summer where he was working.
It was a wild experience. Having grown up in rural Greensburg, Pennsylvania, this was an entirely different world.
It shattered everything I knew. I knew farmland. I knew Pennsylvania. The American flag. Apple pie.
And here we were, in Almaty, Kazakhstan. My brother, twin sister and me.
At first we were terrified. We ate horse meat. We had to buy bread from weird little kiosks. The language was different. We may or may not have drank vodka for the first time... A lot of vodka.
But after about a week we were pretty much acclimated.
We adapted. We were pros! Well, to us we felt like we were.
We were organizing hikes. Going out to eat. Learning the language. Making friends. Getting dirty. Learning everything we could. It was wild!
This level of shock to the system was good for us kids. It expanded our view of the world.
I say this because it's terrifying how insular we can be.
But what's really scary is this insular thinking happens at micro levels. We start merging with our co-workers. Our local restaurants. Friends. Family. Soon the world becomes very small. And everything looks very similar.
To me, this is frightening as hell. 1. because there is a whole world out there that is not being explored. 2. who wants vanilla pudding lifestyle? Blahh.
Try shocking the system. We'll call it the Kazakhstan experiment. You can do it in your city or town. Go do something that you would normally not ever do. Something you may judge. Something you may fear. Something you have no idea what it is. Shock the system and watch the magic unfold after you do. You'll be surprised.
Oh, and what does me dating the ambassador's daughter to Kazakhstan have to do with this story? Not a damn thing. I just like saying it.