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.