One of my friends wrote quickly to say that she'd seen someone wearing a Carleton sweatshirt in the Lima airport and although I was excited for her, I can't really say I was surprised. I've been at Carleton for 3 years and some change now and in that time I don't think I've been anywhere without seeing another Carl. For real, anywhere. So I'm going to make the case that Carleton students and alumni are slowly and inconspicuously taking over the world. Or at least infiltrating many of its more obscure corners.
Exhibit A: When I was leaving Quito, Ecuador after a semester abroad last fall I started talking with a young woman in line next to me in the airport check-in line. She asked where I went to school and when I told her Carleton she immediately lit up and said, "Oh, my whole family went there! Carleton's great!" At the sound of "Carleton" a couple towards the back of the line piped up, "We're professors on a study abroad program here and we had two Carleton students this term!" At which point the man at the front of the line turned around grinning and said, "Did you say Carleton? I'm class of '78!"
Exhibit B: This past summer I was backpacking in South America and found myself in a natural hot spring pool one sunrise in Southern Bolivia. There were several other tourists and Bolivians at the pool that morning but in talking with people there was only one other American. She was a retired teacher and after Exhibit A, I wasn't surprised to hear about her daughter's fantastic experience at Carleton a few years before.
And the list could probably go on. I've run into my Carleton classmates in the streets of Copenhagen and at a festival in rural Ecuador. I even met a Carl in my local public library back in South Dakota, and that could be more obscure than southern Bolivia. So although we travel far and wide (and hopefully, at least at this time of year, south) I feel comforted to know that wherever I go I can't be far from a friendly face and another traveler connected to Carleton.