Ever since my buddy Marc set me up with Google Analytics, I've been able to use it to learn the location of people who are reading my blog. I can see that most of them are reading it from the United States, for sure, and that most of those are in my home state of Connecticut. Neither of those pieces of information is very surprising. Some of the people are geographically distant, but there are a few of those outliers whose identity I can guess, like my old friend Marg in Australia, and my cousin Gisele in western Canada.
But for most of the outliers, I have no clue who they are or why they've logged on. Germany. Italy. Russia.
The Russian locations are a mystery. Sure, I've heard of St. Petersburg, and I know that my friend Rita/Margarita/Maggie lives there, or used to. And Moscow: I know my friend Zhenya lives there.
But Samara Oblast? In Samara Oblast, somebody spent six minutes reading my blog. I looked up oblast and learned that it is the name given to political subdivision in some parts of the former Soviet Union.
Someone is also reading my blog in Chelyabinsk Oblast and someone else in Voronezh Oblast.
Also someone in the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug.
Have you ever heard of the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug? I certainly haven't. An okrug, I learned, is some kind of autonomous district. The Khanti-Mansi Autonomous Okrug is an oil-producing state deep in Siberia. The Ob-Ugric people live there, and on Wikipedia I learned that their language is one branch of the Finno-Ugric group. That language group has always fascinated me because its geographic reach extends from Hungary on the southern and eastern end to Estonian and Finnish more to the north and west. This seems highly improbable to me, but I know it's true. Have you ever seen the Hungarian language, Magyar? It's undecipherable, at least to me. Ditto Finnish. Nothing like the Scandinavian languages of its neighbors.
But of all the far-flung blog readers the biggest mystery to me comes from India, where someone in Tamil Nadu has been spending time reading http://Stitching-it-all-together.blogspot.com. Tamil Nadu is a state in southern India whose capitol, now Chennai, used to be known as Madras.
Why on earth is that happening? It seems as improbable to me as the geographic reach of the Finno-Ugric language group, not to mention its spelling.
My husband suspects they're internet spies, possibly not even human beings. Well, if they're trying to spy on me to figure out how to get my millions out of my deep pockets, it's going to take them a long time.
Meanwhile, Marg, Zhenya, Rita, and Gisele, glad to have you! If that's you.