Sanna from Sannankupla-blog challenged me to write the ‘Story of my blog’.
Since it is not quite clear to me what is meant by the ‘Story of my blog’ or if my blog even has a story, what follows is some ramblings about my blog, friendships, family, expathood and syphilis.
I’ve been writing my blog for over a year and a half now. I am not a particularly keen writer, and so, the reason why I write my blog is not because I want to quench my thirst for expressing myself in written form. Quenching my thirst in liquid form (preferably with something that has a moderate or high alcohol content) is more my thing. But writing – I can take it or leave it.
Some weeks before moving to Japan, I – akin to many expats who are moving to a new country – felt nervous about leaving my mental and physical safety net 10,000 km behind me. Since I didn’t want to find that my safety net had disappeared by the time I returned to Europe, blogging sounded like a good way to keep in contact with friends and family whom I would not be able to meet up with for a quick coffee, a sneaky pint, or a sneaky pint that turned into me, at 4am, prepping the kidzz’ lunch bloxes for the dext nay.
So it all made sense – writing the blog (not prepping the kids’ lunch boxes at 4am after 2 bottles of wine). Except that, to my disappointment, blogging wasn’t such a great way to keep in contact after all, given that many of my friends and family do not read my blog.
I’m guessing that they have better things to do (like watch True Detective or Game of Thrones) than read blogs about vending machines vending used women’s underwear or mosquitos that are trained by the ninja. But it might of course also be that they do not get my humour, and thus assume that I have contracted syphilis and am slowly going crazy.
But I have not contracted syphilis, and my brain functioning, I guess, is more or less normal for a person who thinks sarcasm is funny, and who assumes the only readers of her blog are her friends, most of whom have a great sense of humour – and thus would be able to get what she is going on about.
And then there is the Lost in Google Translation Problem. This is a problem that many of my Finnish friends/relatives (including my parents) encounter, due to Google being as good at translating English into Finnish as Japanese human translators are in translation work (see photo below of some lunch boxes whose text one might think was translated at 4am after two bottles of wine). I could of course write my blog in Finnish but due to having lived abroad for 15 years, my written Finnish is nearly as bad as the Japanese translators’ English. So, English it is, unfortunately, with the cost being that some of my Finnish friends/relatives struggle to read my blog.
But that’s fine. I am ok with the fact that not each and every one of my friends read my blog, because I’ve learned during the past year and a half that I have strong friendships, so strong that my pals don’t have to read my blog to remember that I exist. OK, in the name of honesty, I do regularly see photos on Facebook of parties back home to which I never got invited, or memes to which several friends have been tagged but not me, and I do get a little upset about them. But I just need to remember that my life is currently removed from theirs, and being excluded from parties and memes is what happens when you move to the other side of the world and you don’t speak to people back home for months.
But luckily, I’ve realized that regardless of the parties and memes, my long distance friendships are like hedgehogs. Hedgehogs hibernating for long periods of time and then waking up one day and going on with their business like they were never asleep. When I am back in England/Finland, my friends/familiy and I pick up from where we left off during my previous visit, like I was never away. When back in the UK – I feel I never abandoned those old wooden coffee shop tables with their mismatched chairs or the quirky pub corners with their kitsch Brightonian interiors. The same goes to my friends, family, and pub corners in Finland. I haven’t forgotten them and importantly, they haven’t forgotten me, and even more importantly, whenever I am back in Europe, they are as happy to see me as I am them (apart from maybe the ones who think I have syphilis).
If there are any expats reading this, I’m sure at least some of you would agree with me on the long distance friendships’ hedgehog qualities. I don’t mean to say that all friendships can take the long hibernation, but I would argue that many of them can.
One last thing that I would like to say about my blog and my friends is that I’ve actually made some new friends through my blog. I never assumed that would happen. I started writing my blog, like I said, to keep in contact with my existing friends and family, which is reflected in the language, analogies, observations and general points I make, but I’ve also acquired some new friends in the process – people who I don’t personally know but who get my humour and/or agree with the points that I make and who sometimes even comment on my posts. I love it! It’s amazing how you can find people whose name, age, nationality or sex you don’t necessarily know, but through comments on blog posts, you start considering them as friends.
To wrap this rambling up, as a conclusion, if you are my friend/family member, I don’t mind if you don’t read my blog, as long as you promise that when I am back in England/Finland you will send me party invitations and tag me on memes again.
PS. We are coming to England for Christmas! Hope to see you all over some mulled wine and cranberry flavoured crisps. xxx