Year Two for Bergamot Orange

From the time I moved overseas, 12 years ago, I have been trying to communicate with family and friends about our experiences.  I’ve plastered them with long, rambling, descriptive emails.  I’ve attached a dozen photos.  I’ve even tried telling the stories in face-to-face chats, though anyone who lives as an expat will tell you that you get about a minute to blurt out whatever memorable facts you want to relay before the conversation turns to your friend’s bathroom remodel or his daughter’s soccer success.  Who can blame him?  Stuff is just not interesting if you don’t have a context for it.

Yet friends have also encouraged me to write about this life and I have wanted to, but what do I write?  This is different… that is different.  There has to be a cohesive story and for me, the daily life is the story.

I started writing Bergamot Orange because what I want to tell isn’t the big news of revolutions and crises.  I want to bring readers into my house, on my street, and help them begin to understand how we create a beautiful, comfortable home in a foreign city.  How neighbors reach out to us, even when we don’t speak the same language.  How we learn to trust, and then eventually indulge, in the local food system and cooking methods.  How we expats share, and do without, and improvise which is all part of the fun.

I’ve made a start at this.  At least I have captured a year of daily adventures that generally end up back in the kitchen because that tends to be where I explore and synthesize what I’m learning.   I know that I need to focus even more, tell the story in smaller, concise vignettes and that’s what I’m hoping to have the discipline to do this next year.

If you are interested in this ongoing tale, please become an official Follower and actually join in a conversation with me through the comments.  I don’t want this space to be just me showcasing my thoughts, but I would genuinely love to know how topics and themes I write about connect with your own experiences and learning, whether in a foreign city or back at home.  And so there are my two blogging goals for 2012:  more focus in my storytelling and more interaction with my readers.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read my posts in 2011 and for even trying out a recipe or two.   2012 will be just as interesting, one moment at a time.

10 thoughts on “Year Two for Bergamot Orange

  1. I love reading about your adventures, the pictures are breathtaking and the food….what can be said but, continue, continue, continue. You have inspired me to think about cooking, after a very long absense from anything more challenging than picking up a cooked chicken on the way home from work.

  2. Susan, it’s so great to have you back around my table. Boy, would I love to experience a few seasons in the southwest, again. Share those back with me, especially what you make out of your amazing garden.

  3. Julie, Thank you for this photo journal connection with you…I love the pic of Allan squeezing/meditating as he juices and his pile of discards…reminds me of my visit to Kathmandu when I learned how to properly juice “kill” an orange : ) I also remember little Kasidy’s eyes growing big as saucers when I asked her to journal her time in Nepal and she responded, “Grammy, I don’t have words for this.” I am happy you are able to put words and photos to your time in Carthage/Tunis. I love the recipes. We have an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables here in Australia. Count me in as a follower of Bergamot Orange.

  4. Sandy! I’m so glad you found me. I can still see Kasidy creating her Playmobile fantasy world in our living room which was so cold you could see her breath as she sang. So sweet. I’m not sure any of us had the words to write about what we experienced in Nepal. At least not all of it at once. I wish I had tried to break it down into small moments, like I’m trying to do now. So glad you’re here.

  5. Hi there, I’m going to be moving to Tunisia in a couple months and recently came across your blog while researching. This seemed like an appropriate post in which to say hello and thanks for putting all of this information out here! If I have a question about ACST, would it be possible to chat via email? If it’s not an inconvenience, I can be reached at vtidwell33 (at) gmail.com. Thanks again!

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