Thursday, March 21, 2013

One Year Blog Anniversary - Vive la France!




Has it been a year already?

 Wow, I can’t believe I have been blogging for a year now – sitting here at my dining room table thinking about how American Mom in Bordeaux has evolved. I remember when we first arrived here – it was so overwhelming, new language, new ways, and new culture. We spent the first few weeks with limited furnishings, as we waited for our furniture & things to arrive.  I think not feeling too settled added to that overwhelmed feeling.  Everything seemed surreal – oddly familiar, but so different at the same time.  I remember looking at other parents & kids expecting to hear English – but of course hearing French.   I think it was after the Christmas holidays that I started to come out of that initial fog of adjustment.  With Facebook & emails, I remember staying connected with family and friends in the States. This was a definite plus to feeling more at ease – exploring new things, but staying connected to what was familiar and my roots.  I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed reading a blog out of my former town, called Mamatoga – her everyday shares, information about the events and goings on in Saratoga were friendly, comforting & inspiring.  Reading her shares, definitely gave me ideas about how I could find my voice. My first post was actually done at the end of our Winter break last year – but Winter break fell earlier (the last 2 weeks in February).  So I am a bit past the one year mark, but I’m posting this as we start back into our routine after this year’s Winter break.

February 2012 - Dali Museum - Spain - Winter Break
As I look back on this year of blogging I have to admit – what started as a way to document and share our family’s experience of moving to France and adjusting to the French culture was mainly for family and friends back home and it has now grown into so much more than I ever imagined.  As I write each post about our new life, new experiences, frustrations and daily challenges, I feel energized and connected at the same time.  Through blogging, I have connected with other bloggers both in France, and other European countries and even in the US.  I have even connected with fellow alumnae of my college (Mount Holyoke College) who also blog and live abroad.  It’s such a fascinating and personal way to share about so many things – to see other view points, other perspectives and at the same time feel connected.  As, women, as spouses, as families we often all go through similar experiences but also have different perspectives – it is so nice to be enriched by others.
Blogger's luncheon in Montpellier
 I felt so privileged to have been invited to a blogger’s luncheon in Montpellier, France – so nice to meet other bloggers face to face and feel so connected already!  Just meeting with others who do the same thing I do – and talking with them – was so energizing.  We also met up with another blogging family in Paris and spent a wonderful afternoon venturing around.  Again, 2 things, I couldn’t have imagined myself doing before I started blogging.  My local paper back home in Saratoga Springs, NY has picked up my blog and listed it with their travel blogs in their community blogs section.  I was just interviewed on Overseas Radio Network (Expat radio station) by Doni Belau of Girl’s Guide to Paris and had a blast sharing our experiences here in Bordeaux. 

My posts vary from trips, sights, food, and everyday life to other topics that I encounter as we live each day as parents and as a family here in France.  This has been so much fun to share – a snippet of our life but also memories to hang on to.  I love taking my camera around and snapping away.  I have always loved photography and having an excuse bring my camera is wonderful!  My phone has become my second “camera” to have in a flash or just to be able to discretely snap a quick pic. 




I have come to realize that what I share helps others for different reasons: to either plan a trip to this side of the Atlantic, come to learn more about the French culture, or just enjoy seeing another part of the world through our eyes.  I have had people email me and ask questions about the Bordeaux area and living in France in general.  All things I am more than happy and excited to answer.  Life here is not perfect by any means, but I don’t think anywhere is. We are currently still without internet, land-line phone service and television at our home, but life is all about what you make it to be – and we have worked it out.  (Hopefully, next week – cross your fingers here, we will be fully restored!)

I never imagined that my blog would open up so many different opportunities for me (and even for my family).  I have been contacted by such fascinating people and truly love hearing from everyone.  It really astonishes me that my blog & its posts have been viewed over 25,000 times in just one year.  Thank you to everyone who is reading and who follows.  With the social media of Facebook, Pinterest & Instagram – American Mom in Bordeaux has found its own place in this virtual world and for that I am truly grateful and look forward to continuing to share. 



16 comments:

  1. I have loved reading your blog! The experiences you are able to give your family is awesome. And your journalling it is wonderful for your kids as a reminder for them of this exciting part of their lives.

    Keep them coming, I am living vicariously through you!

    Vicki Crozzoli

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    1. Thank you, Vicki - Always so nice to hear from you. I feel so blessed to be able to have this experience. It still feels surreal at times - so many things to learn. To know others enjoy reading about it also is very encouraging, thanks for saying so - even though its in many ways a journal, I do hope others can relate and get something out of it.

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  2. Congratulations on still being here!
    I am somewhat impressed by the speed of work in France - are you still waiting on that trenching/cable movement across the driveway that you posted about a bunch of months ago? wow

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    1. All I can say, is bureaucracy, red tape, no streamlining of customer service here. My favorite story - I can call the English speaking "help" line for the phone company and get an appt. date & time - My husband calls the French speaking "help" line and is told he can't get an appt. time, that someone else in Service needs to call him back. Now theres consistency for you??? I could go on..but I'll hold back and now, just enjoy that its DONE!

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  3. Congratulations on a year of blogging. So many achievements - imagine what you could do if you actually had an internet connection!. So glad I found you so that we could meet for real and share our experiences of moving to France.

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    1. I love your humor (or is it humour?), Nicola!! I use to say something to that effect to my husband, as on some days I would spend a good part of the day out at internet cafes & malls just to get emails answered, blogs posted, bills paid, etc..I would be rushing to get things organized in the evening - He would look at me and we would both laugh (we had to at that point) and I'd say - just think what I could actually get done if we had internet at the house!....So happy to have connected - hopefully we can see each other soon - I'm thinking we need another blogger's luncheon!

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  4. Happy Blog Anniversay! The mussels look heavenly!

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    1. Thank you so much - it's always nice to hear from you. I enjoy your blog a lot too and I look forward to reading more about your new daughter!

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  5. Bon anniversaire! As an American living also in France (Monaco really) raising two primary school children I can relate so much to your posts. I have been enjoying your blog since you started. Best of luck to continued success!

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    1. Thank you Lisa - I really appreciate hearing from readers - glad to hear you are enjoying it. Feel free to email me and introduce yourself further - would love to know what brought you to France and how everyone is fairing.

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  6. Congratulations and Happy Anniversary!
    "Hello" from Saratoga!
    Beth

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    1. Thank you Beth!! Love the "Hello" from Saratoga

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  7. Happy Anniversary Jennifer and year two gets even easier!!

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    1. Thank you - it's been fun!! & now that my internet has returned to the house - it makes it a bit easier!!

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  8. There is such a thing as a "Bloggers Luncheon"?! I wanna go!!

    Nice job on the blog. Great pictures! I sent you an email in response to your request. Thanks for reaching out!

    Jen

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  9. Just discovered your blog and glad I did. All the best to you in year 2!

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