I love my mother and we have a very good relationship, but like a lot of Americans, everything that's outside of the US (or even far away parts of the US) is put into the category of "over there." More than a few times while I've been traveling I've had to respond to emails titled, "Everything okay?"

For example, she asked me if I was okay when the Christchurch earthquake hit. I was in Australia. I got another one when Fukushima happened... I had to explain that not everything that happens in one hemisphere of the world, happens to that entire hemisphere. It was a little more understandable when I was in Christchurch and they had a quake in Wellington. At least that was the right country, even if it was the wrong island.

Currently I fielding calls about a gig I have coming up in Kuwait. She's really upset about it, even though I'm trying to explain that the war is on the other side of Iraq, which is kind of a big country. She called me yesterday to ask if I was sure I wanted to go because they had just shot down another plane, over there. I had to try to explain that Algeria is in North Africa (the other side of North Africa, even) and that as far as they can tell, the plane went down in a sandstorm.


I don't mean to be dismissive of my mom's concerns, I'm glad that she worries, but these are very large geographical areas (she does have a world map so that she can see where I am, but a lot of times she forgets where I told her I was going or doesn't put together where a certain event happened and where I happen to be).

Anyone else have trouble conveying these kinds of concepts to friends and family? (a lot of my European friends will do something similar when they hear about stuff happening 'in America' they don't have any concept exactly how far it is from Detroit to Oakland)