I have just rediscovered why I love reading blogs. I follow several people who write about different parts of the world and I love their insights into life in their country. Some quite staggering stories about life that is perfectly normal to their neighbours.
I have also just spent half an hour immersed in some really wonderful writing. I love the way that you can really wander through stories and the people that they follow and stumble across such thought provoking items.
We live in rural France and have settled into quite a solitary existance - or whatever the word for two people together is. We started in a way that I remember from having to move to Singapore with Him Outdoors' job. Trying very hard to discover the local culture, see things, attempt the language (although not so much of that in Mandarin, I certainly tried Cantonese when we moved to Hong Kong). After 3 years of the Far East, although still fascinated and loving the experience we had settled into the expat community and were much more 'us' in a foreign place. This had a lot to do with having kids and, certainly at the beginning, finding that they were happier with as much familiarity as possible. There was so much 'foreign' that a familiar homebase was a huge comfort.
We have now settled into a more English based frenchness. My french is adequate and due to my french teacher giving up due to a new job at the tourist office that seems to consume her, not improving much. Him Outdoors uses mine as much as he can and has little of his own. He has the confidence to try and explain but really only needs the DIY sheds and is slowly increasing his number of english speaking assistants. I seem to chat only to workmen and shop assistants and have no french friends that don't speak quite a lot of english. We don't have any neighbours. The nearest one died as we arrive the next nearest is a very rarely occupied holiday home, then we have a family that I have only set eyes on once that have a huge barking dog that doesn't encourage visiting. There are local people that smile and say a few words at every occasion that we go to but we have never set foot in their homes nor they in ours.
On the other hand we have not immersed ourself in Englishness. We don't have english television although we have now discovered how to get iPlayer which enables us to pick and choses programs from all the english channels. We don't buy english newspapers but we do read The Times online. The noticeable difference between this and immersing ourselves in English media is that we are managing to ignore Christmas completely. We have no advertising, no Christmas programs.
So, back to blogging. It is a way of reading in the same way as I would read magazines but also on occasion in much more depth, seeing the world, exposing myself to other lives. It gives me things to ponder. It amazes me, fascinates me, absorbs me. It also gives me women's company which I sometimes crave. And today it has introduced me to several more quite wonderful writers.