2011 By The Numbers: Billie with an I.E.

"Boys sleep against each other on a street in Krakow, Poland on a Saturday morning in the Summer of 2009."

Last night as I was out celebrating New Year’s Eve with friends in downtown Baltimore, an e-mail came through to my iPhone. The subject: “Your 2011 Year In Blogging.” I follow my blog’s statistics and traffic regularly, so I thought nothing of it at the time. I looked through the e-mail today, though, and came across some facts about Billie With An I.E. that I found interesting. 

Here’s the passage that first caught my eye:

“The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 23,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 9 sold-out performances for that many people to see it. In 2011, there were 140 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 216 posts. There were 441 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 1gb. That’s about a picture per day. The busiest day of the year was October 20th with 1,239 views. The most popular post that day was ‘Goalie.'”

I’m always aware of how many page views I’ve acquired to date, but I’ve never thought about the number 23,000 in terms of actual people occupying actual spaces. 

I also learned that the top Google searches that led viewers to my blog, aside from “Billie with an I.E.,” were “Biljana Sesevich” and “Vera Zvonareva.” Sesevich, pictured here, is a Serbian supermodel and wife of Serbian professional tennis player, Janko Tipsarevic. Zvonareva, a native of Russia, is the attractive tennis player who is currently ranked seventh in the world. Here is my photo of her. So, the lesson is clear: posting pictures of beautiful women is a sure way to boost one’s page views.

Finally, I learned that this blog drew viewers from the United States, Canada, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Venezuela, Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, the United Kingdom, Italy, Serbia, France, Germany, South Africa, Algeria, Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Japan, The Philippines, India, South Korea, Taiwan, Australia, and New Zealand. I think that’s pretty neat. 

This image really has no relevance to this post, but it’s one I’ve always liked. Something tells me that after a long night of drinking in Krakow, Poland, these guys weren’t readily checking into the blog. 

As always, thank you to all for your readership and comments. Continue to check in for more posts in 2012! Happy New Year!

Reflections on Four Years at Goucher College: Travel

"A storm blows through the Recoleta neighborhood of Buenos Aires, Argentina Monday, January 18, 2010."

Some of the best experiences Goucher College made possible for me were ones that happened thousands of miles away. Given Goucher’s international sensibility and study abroad requirement, I had many opportunities for travel, both nationally and internationally.

To fulfill my requirement, I studied in Buenos Aires, Argentina in January 2010 for a four-week intensive Spanish language program. What a trip. Living with a wonderful host family during my stay there, I was immersed in Argentine culture and learned the value of living without some of the luxuries that are easy to take for granted back home. I also left with a group of close friends from around the United States.

In retrospect, I wish I had been able to go abroad for an entire semester. It would have been impossible to do without missing a tennis season, but had I stayed there for three or four months, I’m confident that I would have achieved fluency in Spanish. That still remains a goal of mine.

I also visited a good friend of mine in Germany, traveled to Poland and the Czech Republic, and participated in a Taglit-Birthright trip to Israel this past January.

Finally, tennis team Spring break training trips took me to Virginia, North Carolina, and California, and I had many shorter visits to other parts of the country throughout the past four years. 

There’s always lots of discussion about Goucher’s abroad requirements. There are certainly challenges to working around 1,400 plus students’ travel plans. In my view, though, this is one of the best things Goucher has going for it.