blogging

Why Do You Read Blogs?

I’ve been thinking a lot likely about the why of blog reading. This question, along with others, has prompted me to think about why I first starting reading blogs, probably sometime around 2005. It’s been nine years! I could hardly believe it. I started reading blogs to entertain myself mostly. I read blogs by semi-anonymous writers who were very open about their lives and experiences, but never “outed” themselves. I had never met them and had no interest in meeting them. They were anonymous, and I was happy for them to stay that way.

After a few years, I got into “healthy-living” blogs. You know, the kind where the blogger talks about what he/she ate that day, what sort of exercises he/she completed, and general health topics. This phase lasted a while, but I finally realized these sorts of blogs were uninspiring to me. I decided to quit reading them.

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Why I Hope 2014 Will Be Better Than 2013

If I’m being honest, 2013 wasn’t the greatest, especially if I compared it with 2012. There were good moments, for sure, like traveling to Amsterdam and Paris, celebrating our wedding in the U.S., and holding our third annual Thanksgiving in Spain. I made friends, met new people, and had a lot of fun.

Kaley Amsterdam Canals

New Friends

But 2013 was, for the most part, a difficult year. Mario’s job kept him constantly away from home. I felt lost in a big city like Madrid and found myself missing my Spanish home.

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Hey, It’s Okay!

I admit, I’ve read Glamour magazine a time or two. Do you remember their “Hey, It’s OK!” section? Like, it’s okay to wear the same fancy dress to a wedding or two or three. It’s okay to have a snack on you at all times. Well, I’d like to present you with my own Spain-expat-blogger edition.

[Images from #TheTopKnot tumblr, which are gifs about blogging. Hilarious!]

Hey, It’s OK!

… if you don’t take a different trip every month. Just because you live in Spain doesn’t mean you cant enjoy being at home. Likewise, if you do travel a lot—hey, it’s okay!

… if you’re just not that into Instagram. Another sunset picture? Legs on the beach? Coffee? Everyone always seems shiny and happy there, and that’s cool, but life isn’t always shiny and happy and full of latte art. Unfortunately.

When a big blogger posts an Instagram of Froyo and 500 people like it

Big Blogger Instagram Froyo

… if you’re not interested in attending any blogging conferences. I’m an introvert; it’s part of the reason why I blog. Me + a bunch of other potential introverts = Errrrmmmm.

… if you don’t always speak Spanish to your Spanish partner, even though it is just the absolute best way to practice and learn a language and blah, blah, blah. Stop guilt tripping yourself!

… if you’re not all that interested in Spanish cinema or television shows. Except for Master Chef, because I just discovered that and it is wonderful.

… if the idea of self promotion still skeeves you out a bit. I get it, it’s essential for success, but sometimes I just want people to follow me because they like my content, not because I annoy them on Twitter, Facebook, and FourSquare.

… if you really like comments and get disappointed when you don’t get any (or very few).

When I’m really excited about a post and no one comments right away

Comments

… if you might actually prefer to live in the US than in Spain. As hard as it is for some to believe, some of us like Spain—a lot!— but would prefer to live in the—gasp!—United States, closer to family, friends, and corn fields. (Okay, maybe not that last one.)

Now this is me:

When I know I’ve written a post that might piss some people off

Ron Swanson grimace

What would you add to this list?

The Thing Is …

I’m not the world’s most prolific blogger. Why?

  • I don’t really care about SEO. I know, it’d help me. But as of now, my blog isn’t business, nor do I plan on making into one, so I see no real point. Try to convince me otherwise in the comments section!
  • I don’t buy into the whole “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” blogging circle. If you like what I write, share it (if you so desire). If you don’t, let me know by commenting or emailing me. If I like yours, I’ll do the same. I don’t want to get into any debates, but the idea of sharing someone’s work just so they’ll share mine is not something I want to get into.
  • I’m not interested in publishing your guest posts, the kind which you email me about with links to previous posts on other sites. These people email me, and then when I don’t reply, they email me again. Take a hint much?!
  • I fail at responding to all my emails. I am really grateful to those people who email me, but I’ve not been the best blogger lately. I have had several people email me, and as it’s not my full-time job, I put it aside for a later date, which sometimes doesn’t seem to come about so often. I’m sorry about that. I want to be better in the future.

I’ve had a short break during which I went private, brought on my insecurity about the future of this blog. Funnily enough, life in Spain is just life. (I know: I’ve said this before, a million times.) I don’t always have that much to say. The only thing I can say is that I will talk about this life without sugarcoating it, because I’m not Mrs. Bright and Sunny. There are so many things that are good about my life in Spain. For instance:

  • My students. They are all wonderful, even the troublesome ones. There is T, who can’t talk without yelling; M, a tall soccer player with great English and an amazing laugh; P, whose English at 11 years old astounds me; C, who’s studying both German and English; and E, who isn’t that good at English but always has a shy smile for me.
  • Being close to Mario. I can’t tell you how grateful I feel for him and the fact that I get to live with him now. Being in a long-distance relationship is tough, but I think being in a long-distance, bicultural one is even more so. Before any permanent state of togetherness is achieved (be it by marriage or pareja de hecho), there is doubt … doubt that it’ll ever work out, doubt that the bureaucracy will work in your favor, doubt that you can ever wait so long. But we overcame that period; we’re together now; we’re in this for the long haul.
  • The opportunity to live in another country. I think we can all agree that this isn’t something that everyone gets to experience, and I am so grateful for it.
  • Meeting other expats like me. I didn’t meet that many people in Zamora like me, but here in Spain I’m part of great groups that allow me to meet new people in so many places: game nights, drinks, pumpkin carving, etc. I’ve already met some great people, but there are always more to meet!

But then there’s the tough parts too: missing family, being sick far away from home with a system you don’t understand, the constant lluvia that has been the theme of this past week (which sucks even more when you have to walk two miles to work in it!), the lack of convenient transportation at times, and I could go on. But, although it’s my tendency, I’m focusing on the good.

There is always bad with the good. There just is. Yet  I believe I can be the kind of person (and blogger!) who sees both and chooses to focus on the latter.

If you were honest about life as an expat and/or traveler, what would you tell your readers?