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virtual community

One of our readers recently nominated us for a Versatile Blogger Award; a few weeks later our blog also received a nomination for a Reader Appreciation Award. We were flattered, naturally, but it also made us reflect on our year of blogging.

Our intention in launching this blog a year ago was to provide an easy way for friends and family to keep up with our adventures. D’s career choice has pretty much ensured that we’ll go for long periods of time without seeing our loved ones, and this seemed to be the best way to stay in touch. S had blogged previously during her travels. For D, this was his foray into the blogsphere, but he had similarly felt the need to share his stories, writing mass emails during his Peace Corps days whenever he could get to a computer. Living abroad for long stretches of time tends to have an isolating effect. Sharing one’s stories makes it easier to stay in touch and reconnect when one returns home.

This past year of blogging has broadened our readership to the point that we’ve found ourselves discussing our identity as bloggers. We now have almost as many total strangers following our blog as friends and family, and ever since S discovered google reader, she’s felt an ever growing tie to the blogging community. We are not an FSO blog, per se, largely because D does not like blogging about work. However, many of the blogs S has started following are written by other Foreign Service Officers and their spouses, which brings us back to the awards. Near as we can tell, they function a bit like chain letters. A blogger who is nominated is obliged to spread the love and highlight other blogs s/he enjoys. Below then is a short list of outstanding FSO blogs that have kept S glued to her google reader:

  • Hot Pot – A fellow SLR-wielding blogger, Dani posts some great photos, including portraits with bokeh and evocative images from her first posting in China. She’s headed to Dehli next, which is going to offer excellent photography opportunities. Dani has also started an insightful series of life lessons from overseas, which generates some great comments. As a result, her blog feels more like a community sounding board than most.
  • From the Back of Beyond – A crafty (see bushbaby habitat and the flamingo kid) blogger and new mom, Eve is spending her first assignment in Luanda – not the easiest of places. She’s brutally and refreshingly honest. Her posts like sour puss remind S of her isolated days of unemployment and how much of a shock this lifestyle was at first. In addition to her interesting writing, Eve takes great photos and has inspiring ideas for party hosting (good for small posts, like the one we have up next) and redecorating, which S desperately wants to make a priority when we move to Chisinau.
  • Travel Orders – Alex and Andy are an FSO-to-be-tandem couple on their first tour in Benin. Mostly written by Alex, this blog demystifies much of the process of becoming and then being an FSO. Her photos bring back memories of S’s days in West Africa and we can also agree that high bandwidth is in fact a valid bidding criteria.
  • Diplomatic Mom – Several of the blogs S follows are written by people we actually know. This blog is written by one of D’s A-100 classmates. It’s the tales of a woman (part of a State Department tandem couple) with a dizzying social and travel calendar and a toddler in tow living in Dhaka. It is utter inspiration for how to keep your life yours when there are kids in the picture. If you’re considering raising your kids bilingual, as we hope to one day, this post is a must read.
  • DiplomaticDad – This PhD and former stay-at-home dad packs a punch with his story telling. Perhaps it’s all those years of dissertation writing. S’s favorite post is Polygots R’ Us. Coincidentally, the only other male blogger (trailing husband) S follows is also headed to Tel Aviv in July.
  • Four Globetrotters – Humor is one of the most difficult things to do in writing – well really in any art form – and this seasoned FSO can make you laugh out loud with stories about her language training or kids. Yet in the next entry, she can bring tears to your eyes with sobering tales of what it truly means to live the life of an FSO.
  • Most Eligible Family – A writer and mom of a toddler headed to their first post in Yekaterinburg (Russia). Like S, she’s taking an FSI online Russian course. Not having spent much time thinking about our first posting, since there was no time to think, it’s interesting to read about Mara’s pre-departure musings.
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5 Comments Post a comment
  1. Thank you so much for the award! Have I mentioned the online course is kicking my butt? More on that later :)

    June 15, 2012
    • Ditto. I really should use some outside resources and get back into Rosetta Stone. My sister (who has a bachelor’s in Russian lit) suggested this site. Though, I should not be on lesson 33!
      -S

      June 21, 2012
  2. Dani #

    Thanks so much for the award! I appreciate the kind words and love reading your blog as well!

    June 20, 2012
    • Glad you enjoy the blog. We hope you like it enough to add it to your Hot Pot blogroll.

      June 21, 2012
  3. eve #

    hey there. I just saw this. Thanks for that thoughtful shout out. Your blog is very nicely done and I look forward to stopping over more often.

    June 28, 2012

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